By Pastor Timothy Neptune
Remember the old merry-go-rounds on the playground when you were a kid? You would spin in circles until you felt like you were going to fly off. That’s how life can feel if you don’t make some necessary changes.
You live a much faster lifestyle than your parents did. Your children will live an even faster lifestyle than you did. As we enter a new year, perhaps it is a good time to evaluate the pace of your life and make some necessary adjustments. The Psalmist tells us:
2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.
If you are getting up early and staying up late but still don’t feel like you can get everything done… you are probably trying to do too much.
Living at a hectic pace comes at a price. You end up feeling more stressed because you are trying to cram too many things into your day. You end up having no margin in your life. As the margins get tighter the stress goes higher.
You have to take time to recharge your batteries. Here’s a lesson I learned years ago: You have just enough time to do the will of God. If you can’t get everything done on your “to do” list, maybe there are things on the list you shouldn’t be doing.
I want to share with you two simple strategies to help you slow down the pace of pace of your life so that you can enjoy life.
The first strategy is to learn to be content. If you’re serious about slowing down, you don’t start with your schedule—you start with your heart.
The Apostle Paul said this about contentment. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 1 2I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
If you’re going to slow down your life, you have to learn contentment. Paul also said this about contentment: 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Tim. 6:6-7
What he is saying in these passages is that we need to understand that life isn’t about things.
Contentment means this: I don’t need more in order to be happy.
I’m not waiting for more in order to be happy. I’m happy right now. I have dreams and I have goals but I don’t need more in order to be happy. That’s contentment.
Contentment will come easier when you realize two things: life is not a competition with other people and having more will not make you happier. This is not the message promoted by our culture, but it is true.
Jesus said it like this, 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
If you find yourself making statements like this:
• My life is a rat race.
• I don’t know how I’m going to get it all done.
• I am just so exhausted.
• I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
• I just want to escape.
These phrases are all warning signs that you are on the road to burn out. You need to slow down the pace. Perhaps as we begin this new year, taking an honest evaluation of your life and determine if some changes are necessary. Are you content in your life right now?
As the merry-go-round spins faster it is only a matter of time before you either get sick, or fall off. Or, better yet, just slow down, be content, and enjoy the ride.
Tim Neptune is the lead pastor of Venture Church in Naples, Florida. Venture Church meets on the campus of FSW State College on Lely Cultural Blvd. in East Naples. For times and directions, visit www.venturenaples.com.