Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
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Monday, April 29, 2013 @ 12:00:00 PM - Written by Doug Hignell -

Though we can't (and shouldn't) permanently flee from the world around us, as our lives progress, there's an increased need to withdraw for brief periods of time so that we can rest and avoid the burnout that comes from constant activity. This is what motivates me to set aside "Sabbath days" -- days in which I'm not fully engaged in activity. Dr. Richard Swenson, in his book Margin, helps highlight the challenge we face:

"There can be little doubt that the contemporary absence of margin is linked to the march of progress. In a general sense, those cultures with the most progress are the same as those with the least margins...Margin has been stolen away, and progress was the thief" (25).

He goes on to point out several truths about progress:

"Progress works by....always giving us more and more of everything faster and faster."

"The spontaneous flow of progress is toward increasing stress, change, complexity, speed, intensity, and overload."

"...progress is on a collision course with human limits. Once the threshold of these limits is exceeded, overload displaces margin" (26-27).

As we all work towards avoiding overload in our lives, we need to understand that our current world runs by different rules and is in a very different stage than any other stage in history. Rather than the rate of change following a linear growth path (as in previous periods of history), we're now living in a time where the rate of change is increasing exponentially.

Think for a moment about the rate of change in just these few areas: speed of communication; technological advances; availability of knowledge at our fingertips; mobility; media pervasiveness and power; destructive power of weaponry; prevalence of divorce; availability of illicit drugs; and possibly most important the disappearance of community,.

As we face life amidst this ever increasing rate of change, we are more susceptible than previous generations to overload in terms of activity, change, choice, commitment, debt, decisions, expectations, hurry, media, noise, people, traffic, and technology. Focusing on just one area of overload, ask yourself this question: Do I have difficulty keeping up with emails and Facebook? Many of us today all too easily answer this question in the affirmative.

There's no simple answer to the rate of change we now experience and the overload that it often creates. Most of us do not have the option of withdrawing from the world for long periods of time. However, this is the world in which we find ourselves. What coping mechanisms, healthy or unhealthy, do you use to avoid overload in your life?

I think a healthy way to cope with overload is to develop a keen sense of discernment about when to say no. Not only to others that ask for some of your time, but to yourself as you are enticed to take on activities. Learning to prioritize the Best before the Good is a good skill to cultivate. I have been trying to eliminate things in my life to accommodate dreams that I have neglected in my life. In some ways I see this akin to peeling the layers of the onion to get to the core of the destiny God is drawing me towards.
Derek Hastings @ 11:24:00 AM 5/9/2013

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