“You’ve accomplished so much, so soon in life!”
My parents couldn’t believe it. I was graduating, remodeling my first home and mere weeks away from getting married—all at the age of 20.
When achievement is your superpower, people notice. And many of those people will affirm you. “Great job!” Or, “Wow, you got that done so quickly!” Like Pavlov’s dogs, I was conditioned to salivate at a job well-done, sure that the more I accomplished the better I would feel—or more accurately, the better I would be. Thus, I’ve been an achiever for as long as I can remember.
Ten years later, my wife and I had four children, were remodeling another home and I was leading a fast-growing new church and wrapping up a graduate degree. I was achieving my goals, all right. But I almost achieved one more: my own ruin.
The baby wouldn’t sleep. The church wouldn’t stop. The house needed work. The assignments piled up. And the dam finally broke.
Depression hit hard. Suicidal thoughts, self-pity, blaming those closest to me—all of it crashed on me like waters long held back by years restless work, long nights and the quiet pride of the heart that declines God’s invitation to rest in Him.
Here’s the point: I’ve been down the path of serial accomplishment and its end is restless ruin.
RESTLESSNESS AND OUR ANXIOUS AGE
Statistically speaking, you’re probably reading this on your phone. With these magical devices we can summon a ride, order groceries, book flights and see friends a world away. The most common among us now live with conveniences of which the kings of old could but dream. But this wizardry comes at a cost: our peace.
Anxiety is now rampant in the young, largely connected with our inability to disconnect. Add to that the constant stream of global news, its consummate political commentary and our compulsion to constantly show the world that we’re appropriately moral through hashtags and virtue signaling, and we’ve got a recipe for serious anxiety.
And it never stops. Combine this new set of demands from the device in your hand with the normal stuff of life that’s always been there—kids, jobs, church and community—and it suddenly becomes unsurprising that anxiety and depression are on the rise.
For the Christian, perhaps it’s even worse. We, of all people, understand that part of our calling is to change the world—to tell the Jesus story and invite people to believe it, to help the poor, to make disciples. It seems like we have even more to do. How can we rest? How could a mom with young children, a woman just breaking into her career, a pastor leading a church or a student entering graduate school ever take a break?
No humans before us have ever lived in an age so constantly humming with anxious drone of the weight of the world.
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Source: Relevant Magazine