I recently attended a seminar called ‘How to cope when you’ve got too much on’. It was packed! I guess I’m not the only one who felt this seminar might be just for me! Perhaps it is an experience you can identify with.
We are all trying to make a success of our lives, but it can end up being very stressful. Success is costly, and we don’t always realise the stress it brings us. Rarely do we give enough time after a success to recuperate or recover.
In our target-driven world, we are very focused on attainment and goals. It starts at schools where children know what their ‘learning targets’ are and are clear exactly what they are supposed to be achieving. And, of course, in one way that is really good – there is that well-known quip “if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time”. It is good to know what you are trying to do! If you are going to take exams, it’s helpful to know exactly what the examiners are looking for; no point learning the wrong things or developing the wrong skills. But there is a danger that we think we always have to be achieving and succeeding. There is no room for simply being, enjoying and resting.
The speaker talked about climbing Mt Everest. Over 4,000 people have now made it up to the top of the world, but the mountain has also claimed 300 lives. Going above 8,000m takes you into the death zone where human bodies can no longer function properly. Climbers have only 16-20 hours to make it up to the top of Everest and back.
In our target-driven world, we are very focused on attainment and goals…
…there is no room for simply being, enjoying and resting.
Interestingly 3 times more people have died on the way back from the top, than have died on the way up. The climbers had focused so much on getting to the top that they had not properly prepared for coming back down again. The seminar’s message was that we need to plan in the retreat as much as the advance, the down time as much as the win.
What a challenge in our busy world – to plan the way down, as well as the way up. Now I just need to work out how I do that in my life! Maybe as we head into a new academic year, it resonates with you as well.
May you know God’s blessing in the whole of your life, the downs as well as the ups.
Rev Joanna Levasier
The speaker was from the Mind and Soul Foundation – an excellent organisation looking at the links between Christianity and mental health: “We believe in a God who loves us AND cares about our emotional and mental health”, and they exist to educate, equip and encourage. Do look up their website if you’re interested in exploring any of their resources: www.mindandsoulfoundation.org
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