Ecclesiastes 4-6; Psalm 125; 2 Timothy 2

Is it possible that too much of something good can hurt you?

“Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud… frustrated, discouraged, and angry.” Ecclesiastes 5:17

Author and library educator Josephine Rathbone stated “If we could learn how to balance rest against effort, calmness against strain, quiet against turmoil, we would assure ourselves of joy in living and psychological health for life”

Is this kind of life possible in 2016? I am beyond the age of raising young children and witness first-hand how over busy parents are today… how did life get so complicated? Are we trying to do too much? Are we trying to please too many people? And in so doing, have we unknowingly created the kind of life that has us wanting to quit before life’s race is over? Are we working so hard to get to that certain “retirement lifestyle” that we’re missing out on all the amazing things our children do and achieve and what God has for our life?

This ‘counselor’ phase of life that I’m in with my 2 beautiful girls has me asking them from time to time what they remember most about when they were younger… never once did they tell me how excited they were the time that I was away from home for 3 weeks for my job several years ago. But they did remember Daddy making breakfast with them every Sunday after church and bike rides along the old railroad trail in the fall.

So… can too much of a something good hurt us? I mean, if it’s good for us, why would we need to moderate it? Because, in and of themselves, good things are just that… good! But taken to excess, however, even good things can cause an ‘out of balance’ experience which can be, and often is, detrimental to our well-being. In the nutritional world, for instance, Vitamin E plays a key role to our bodies immune function and cell communication, but is most effective when it is acquired through whole food—in foods like wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and broccoli. However, taken regularly in excess, Vitamin E can become toxic to the body and adversely affect how other vitamins are absorbed and can even cause heart issues. Research has confirmed that ingesting too much of a beneficial nutrient has the effect of decreasing its main benefits and overall effectiveness.

The same is being revealed through the use of technology as it is incorporated into our lives… while all the advances in technology have helped make our lives more efficient, these same technologies, taken to an extreme, can wreak havoc on the gentle balance that God’s plan has for our lives. As with so many other areas of life, we, as humans, think we know better than God in what is best… we think we’re so wise with our ‘advanced’ ideas and our high-tech lifestyles. But after some deep reflection, what does our ‘drivenness’ earn us that truly enriches us and lasts beyond our stressed-out lives on Earth? Does the drivenness really teach us how to live, or does it fool us into thinking that decades of overdosing on busyness are worth a few years to unwind in retirement?

We’re driven to distraction by drivenness! We don’t even realize how tightly wound we are because we don’t know any different!

God calls us to hard work. Knowing that has me seeing hard work as something good… something that pleases God. But what God doesn’t do is call us to obsess about getting ahead to the detriment of a calm mind, healthy human relationships, and most importantly, a rich relationship with Him! We need to work at losing, or at least reducing the frustrated edge on our spirit by releasing our misguided need to push ever more intensely. Get to know God’s idea of balancing work and play… doing so will allow God to teach us the art of rest and the amazing benefits according to His plan for our lives.

Heavenly Father… Your Word provides us insights into how to live wisely in the world with our eyes always on You. Father, it is hard to admit, but I struggle with knowing who I would be if I released my driven tendencies. Please reveal why I, we, keep pushing so hard… and please show us true rest in releasing our drivenness to You! Amen…

Greg Stefanelli (gstefanelli)

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Filed under 66 Books, Ecclesiastes, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Uncategorized

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