By Lizzie Boeschen
First, let me start by saying: This blog post exists because I’m one of the people who need it. So, if you feel called out, just know that I’m right there with you.
No matter who you come in contact with these days, whether it be a student, coworker, neighbor, or loved one, it seems that everyone is overworked, overtired, and overscheduled. This isn’t new information to any of us, but we’re definitely not doing anything about it.
There’s something we learn about in my psychology classes called cognitive dissonance. If a belief or something we know directly clashes with our actions, we would sooner change our beliefs than our actions. Can you guess where I’m going with this?
We would sooner believe that we’re not that busy because someone else has more extracurriculars. Someone else at work has more meetings than you do. We’d rather lie ourselves to death than do something about it.
This instinct of competing with one another for “World’s Busiest Human” permeates us to our core. I am very aware that I, personally, would really be much less stressed and more productive if I dropped just one thing. But that would mean admitting to myself and others that I actually can’t do everything, and we are all biologically hardwired to avoid that kind of failure at all costs.
So what happens when our own biology works against us? Grace through faith is what happens. Who we are doesn’t just end with cognitive dissonance. Nope, we have more titles than that. We are simultaneously sinners and saints, always falling short but lovingly crafted in the image of God himself, fearfully and wonderfully made, and we respond to this grace with faith.
It’s really freeing to realize that no matter how hard we try, how many clubs we join, how many majors we declare, we’ll always fall short. We can all keep overworking ourselves and lying to ourselves about how we’re really not that busy, but it’s like running on a treadmill. You’re not actually going anywhere.
We are not perfect; we cannot be perfect. God doesn’t need us to volunteer 80 hours a week in order for him to love us. And yet, we keep doing the darn things.
Behavioral psychologists claim they can help people stop smoking by encouraging them to be mindful of the habit. They don’t ask smokers to quit cold turkey; they just ask them to pay attention to what it feels, smells, and tastes like.
Pay attention to what overworking feels like. Do you enjoy the feeling of constant stress combined with a fear you’re not doing enough? My guess is that none of us would truly answer “yes.” God will not love you less if you reduce the chaos of your schedule.