Monday, September 12, 2011

Hectic Lifestyles


A lot of men argue that they have hectic lifestyles and that there is not enough time in a day to address all the issues that they want to. Too much to do, too little time. They believe they cannot control it. They would rather cope with the various activities instead of determining and choosing which activities are relevant to their goals and aspirations in life. It is as if they are acting out a script that has been written for them and they have no control over the writer.

After the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the Almighty pronounced a curse on man saying “cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life”. (Genesis 3:17b - KJV). This created a situation whereby man would work hard to get very little results. The same Bible, in the New Testament, talks about the fact that, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17) - KJV). This means that being born again, we have been set free from the curse. So effectively, we shouldn’t see work as a curse but a way of activating the talent/potential that our great God has hidden in every man.

However the way and manner that the modern man addresses work, makes it seem that we are still under the curse. Everything around us indicates that we should be working 24/7, anytime, anywhere. We see this work as a means to meet our financial needs. Sadly, Christians have been caught up in the rat race too. With the development of the so-called advanced technologies (laptops, palmtops, PDAs, blackberries, e.t.c) to make work simpler, we are actually trying to do more work in one given day instead of doing the work efficiently. Some of us have equated more work with more money to the detriment of everything else – spouse, children and even God. We have nullified the effect of God’s involvement in our day to day work life and finances. Families have also not been spared from this too. Parents have substituted precious time with their children with good schools, expensive gifts.

In our ambition to satisfy that urge in man in the fallen state, we get entangled in so many activities in life, leading to a very hectic lifestyle. Work is paramount and given top priority. The need for sleep is even challenged, reducing the hours to the barest minimum. Church services are not spared; any service that is longer than one hour is challenged. We boast about being able to juggle all the various activities required of us as employees, employers, spouses, parents, church workers and children of God. The only time we are reminded that we are human, is when the human body revolts, claiming it wasn’t created for this inhuman treatment. It breaks down with any imaginable sickness that we can think of. Knowing that this is the only way the resolute man will take a break and rest. Though, for some people, it might be too late.

The modern Christian needs to sit back and reassess this kind of lifestyle for he might wake up one day, on a hospital bed with a stroke at 40 years, an estranged woman for a wife and children who do not know him. The only source of temporary joy might be his account balance although this might not be useful to him on the hospital bed (except to pay the bills) and the money would be spent by his estranged family if he fails to recover.

With the outlined disadvantages of living a hectic lifestyle, it is pertinent that the modern Christian prioritise his activities and reassess his ways in line with God’s plans for him.

The first step is to prioritise your activities, giving importance in the following order - God, your wife, your children and then your job. This order is one of permanence i.e. God is forever with you, your wife is till death do you part. The children will be with you but will leave your house when they are old enough, get married and start their own families. Throughout the course of your life, you will change jobs maybe three, four, five or many times. So it is advisable to prioritise your relationships in this same order.

The second step is to be proactive. To be proactive means that, as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. This is the ability to control your environment, rather than have it control you, as is so often the case. We have the self determination, choice, and the power to decide our response to stimulus, conditions and circumstances. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.

The third step is your attitude to work. The Lord God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden." (Genesis 2:15-16). This interaction between God and the first man took place before sin entered the earth. The Lord has always intended for us to work and eat the fruit of our labors.

Work is a blessing. Yet God's purpose for our work goes so far beyond meeting our financial needs. Each job or "assignment" we receive from Him is part of His divine plan to expand His Kingdom. God wants to make sure we are fulfilling the roles he prepared for us before we were born. The Bible teaches us that God judges us based on our stewardship of what he entrusts to us in this life.

In our professional lives, there are some basic principles that we should live by:
• Begin with the end, in mind – Know what you want to do, plan how to do it before you set out to do it.
• Employ the right tools – Use the right resources to get the job done; right skills, right people.
• Thou shalt not procrastinate – Do the right things at the right time. Do not postpone an activity when it can be done now.
• Acknowledge you have a personal life. Plan to spend time with God, your family and other hobbies.

If you are caught up in a hectic lifestyle, stop, think and reassess your values. You have the ability to change. Take charge. God bless you.

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