Consider a few ways you like to unwind at the end of your day or week. It may be enjoying a glass of wine, taking a long bath, reading a chapter or two in a good book, watching your favorite show, or playing a game on your computer. Whatever it is, we all need some way to refresh, get grounded, rejuvenate, and find some inner peace.
There are times in our lives that we are so overwhelmed by daily life that we find ourselves developing habits which we start to notice are taking up too much time. We say we value relationships, but how much time do we spend with others versus how much time do we spend in front of our TV, numbing out or distracting ourselves, after which we feel guilty or deadened.
How many times do I find myself during the day looking forward to that glass of wine? I may feel a twinge of concern, but I just keep returning to the habit. How often do I think about my favorite characters on “my show” and smile during the day, as if they are a part of my reality? Where IS the line between escaping reality and living into each and every moment?
The other day, I held my baby girl who is now 17 months old. I looked into her eyes and noticed that she is becoming someone different. She really is changing every day, and I am profoundly grateful to be aware enough to pay attention to it. I have heard countless stories of parents who have checked out from their children, simply because life is overwhelming and stressful. They turn to “enjoyments” such as alcohol, prescription drugs, or mindless TV watching to just “get away” from it all.
We numb and distract in our society on a daily basis. Binge-watching Netflix is an accepted pastime of this generation. But DO we really enjoy ourselves? Is this TRULY a way to rejuvenate and find life? I am the first to admit, I enjoy a good show now and then; but I have recently become aware that it might be too much. It might be a lie. I might be deadening myself instead of becoming more and more alive to what REALLY matters in life: the fact that I am created to know God and enjoy Him forever. The reality that I am made for connection – true connection with others.
During a recent 21 day purification/cleanse, I observed myself and my relationships a bit more clearly. I started to become blatantly aware of my habits, my “treats” that I indulge in because “I deserve it.” And I found that instead of truly rejuvenating, often I was numbing and distracting myself from the ones that matter most: my husband, children, co-workers, friends, God, a stranger on the street, or even myself.
In the daily devotional “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, I read on May 12th about how we can become committed more to habits – even the ritual of daily prayer – than to Jesus Himself. And I read in John 15:4 (NIV) – “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” These words remind me to stay connected to Who really matters – He Who IS Truth and Life. When I think I am rejuvenating by my habit at the end of day, I ask myself, “Am I truly finding Life in this?”
If you find yourself inspired or challenged or maybe even feeling you need some help, please consider calling a Christian counselor. You may discover new ways of self-care and finding Life to incorporate into your daily habits and routines.
“Finishing up the diary,” courtesy of Shane Adams, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0); “Alone,” courtesy of Lee Haywood, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY-SA 2.0)