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There Is a Way Out!
by Donna L. Watkins
Many Americans are finding that a life of consumption is consuming their own lives. What it takes of their lives to buy all the disposable things available in our world is not really providing what the advertising promises....more time for better things.
Disposable dishes, diapers, storage containers, rags, baggies, razors, daily-wear contacts, paper towels and napkins and the list goes on and on. All of these are sold with the concept that they will save you time, when in actuality, your time is only spent making money to pay for them and the increased garbage fees to haul them away.
Instead of the simplicity that disposables seem to offer, we become used to buying, and that in itself consumes our time having to shop for something almost every day of the week. We've become used to an instant mentality. 'Have it now' breeds compulsiveness in many areas of life.
Our homes become bogged down with clutter which forces lives to be lived in a continual state of stress. That stress is at the basis of 85% of all of our diseases. People encumbered with unnecessary weights that threaten to strange even the rare moments of happiness. The quest for materialism has diminished the family's values, relationships, and sense of satisfaction of a live well lived.
Even those who want out of this lifestyle seem to find themselves on a merry-go-round that doesn't offer a stop to get off. People seem to feel that if they stop, they'll get stomped and trampled in the process. Many people get false and empty satisfaction thinking their life is important because they run from morning to night, when in actuality they look back at days, months, years gone by without any satisfaction at all.
At those moments we come face-to-face with emptiness, frustration, and loneliness from living in a constant state of worry, trying to "see how we are doing" in comparison to others. We assume power (titles) or possessions will end the inner dissatisfaction, but they never do. We are left with the reality that what we thought was living, is actually a slow process of self-destruction.
Families are now very aware that this pace and the children produced from it are not doing the world any favors. You see some of the results as you look at the elderly of our society, as many of them now slowly die alone in nursing homes and retirement centers without calls or visits from family. Our nation now has a disposable mentality for the elderly and the unborn. The definition of what life is all about has to do with being perfect, and many times the old and the unborn don't fit into "perfect" lifestyles.
David Babbitt, in a book called, "Downscaling," says, "Downscaling is about margins and limits. We abuse financial limits by living beyond our income. We abuse physical limits by not getting adequate rest nor eating properly. We abuse our emotional limits by subjecting ourselves to more and more stress. Our society has helped us by providing a set of peripheral industries to deal with stress: time management, financial planning, and debt consolidation. Instead of setting rational limits, we hire services to help us continually live beyond them."
Downscaling is understanding that the hunger for money and things loses its addictive power when we become satisfied and fulfilled in other areas of our lives. If you have ever talked with a family that has gone through a fire and lost everything, you will know a little bit more about what life is all about. To see everything somebody owns go up in smoke in just a few hours makes you realize that there is more to life than things.
Often we are afraid to step out of our comfort zones. It's easier to live in the whirlwind than to think about living without one. There is so much fear that we won't measure up to some standard that somebody set for us, whether it's a parent, society or even ourselves. One big step to maturing in Christ is to realize that you cannot be perfect, and to learn to deal with your own limitations. Life will never be perfect no matter how hard you work at it. Even the best perfectionist realizes that there are moments that simply cannot be controlled.
We decrease our enjoyment of life if we are afraid to try something new just because we fear failing. Give yourself some room. Allow yourself a chance to live life as you want to. There are desires inside of you and dreams that have been buried because there is no time for them. The time is there - it's simply being misused. Some of those dreams and desires may be the actual purpose that God created you for. You may not only be giving up your life in this world, but diminishing your life in eternity by not fulfilling what your spirit longs to do.
Here's a few questions to ask yourself. Get a piece of paper and take some time to answer these questions. You have the time! The world won't stop spinning if you just pause a moment to think. Besides, you may be missing the best ride in the whole park! After all, the carousel really isn't very exciting at all when you look at the "real ride."
1. What emotional needs are not being met and why?
2. What mental needs have you ignored that keep you from happiness?
3. What physical needs do you have that are not being fulfilled?
4. What other needs do you have that aren't in these categories?
When you've finished that exercise you will probably feel absolutely miserable because you've actually faced the reality of your life. What you thought was living is not really life at all.
The problem with this merry-go-round is that the operator (the devil) would like you to think that there's no way off and that the other rides are not even available to you. You become so used to thinking there is no way out that you can't see the way out.
You can cover up the reality with more of the same and it will get buried along with all the rest of your dreams and desires, but there is a price to pay and it generally involves your health.
There is a way out! Jesus is the Way and the Truth and you can find life again through His direction. There are books, online articles, pastors, support groups, and more available to you if you truly want to change.
You have to step out of the fear and take the risk that life can be different. Jesus said "my yoke is easy" and if life seems really hard for you right now, you are believing a lie. And if you have a lot of health problems, you've been believing a lie for a long time.
When I look back to the most awful times in my life when everything was falling apart, I believed that the only way out was dying. I truly didn't think that life could be good with all of the pressures it had.
I had to slowly realize that I was allowing the pressure into my life. I was the one controlling how much I had to do, and how well it needed to be done. I had to have a total makeover for my mind, or shall we say, a total renewing of my mind. It's been a process and I still find one foot on the carousel from time to time, but I have purposed never to grab the pole again to board.
I see that it was my choices that put me where I was. I believed I had no other choices, but in reality, I opened up the rooftop for the carousel to come into my home, and in reality, all I had to do was move out and into a place of peace and rest that Christ offered at every moment of time.
Traveling to other countries and seeing the simplicity of most of the world's population has helped me to realize that my view of life from having been born in America was very much distorted. We got rid of newspaper and magazines and limited television many years ago because they have a way of making you believe things that are simply not true.
Step out! There is a place of rest and total healing. You have to step out and walk the path. It's not a "beam me up Scotty" experience. You will have to take one step at a time, but the views are beautiful as you climb the path.
Take the way out!!
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