20 June 2011
I thought I was a good time manager, because I was always busy, always had three or four projects on the go. Efficiency haunts me like a shimmering dream, the twinkle of sun on drying glassware, the gleam of washed floors, the reflection on dusted piano lids.
Why is stress so alluring? Why does the rush and last-minute mindset appeal? Why do deadlines and insurmountable to-do lists capture the imagination?
Do I think somehow, that I’ll become a Cinderella, a damsel deep in suds, ready to be rescued? Or winding self up the staircase of busyness, into a tizzy tower—is the harsh exposure and comfortless vantage really worth it? What if rescue doesn’t come? What if I’m not supposed to be here in the first place? What if I actually become a dupe, inadvertently used for the enemy’s purposes, in all this bluster and jockeying for prominence?
And there’s the lie: stress seems attractive because stressed people seem important, valuable, indispensible. The work needs them, the cause requires them, it will all run amuck without them. I want to be valuable, so I make myself stressed.
Problem One: stress starves the soul. Vital life undergoes anorexic neglect. In the body, blood leaves stomach and deep organs to feed the flailing limbs and taxed mind. In the soul, authentic life drains while I race in circles, too busy running to notice that I’m not going anywhere good. Sure, I accomplish good things, but this lifestyle is not fundamentally, transcendently good, because it’s built on a lie: that my efforts are good enough, that I am the only one looking out for me, that God might not be good after all.
Problem Two: stress isolates me from community, rusts relationships through neglect, destroys koinonia. If a soul is left to decay and despair because I am too busy to care, then I make a shrine of myself, my goals, my needs, and become an idolater.
And if my soul shrivels to nothing because I’m addicted to my own aggrandizement, then I’ve sold myself cheap on synthetic existence.
There’s more to life, and it haunts the soul deeper than tinny time-crunch goals . . . .