One day, I went into the room where the various cardio equipment was in use. Some people were on the stationary bikes. Others were using the Elliptical machines. Still others were walking or running on treadmills. I noticed one particular woman who was on a treadmill. She appeared to be in her late 50’s and stood out from among all the others who were also on treadmills. She was walking on the treadmill with a backpack on her back. The backpack was large with an internal frame. It looked heavy! She also stood out because she had the treadmill completely elevated in the front. In other words, she had a full backpack on, walking uphill on this treadmill.
I saw this same woman at the YMCA for a number of days. I assumed she was getting ready to climb a mountain. All I know, she appeared to be carrying quite a load and was going uphill during most of her workout.
If there is an image that describes many of us, it would be that of a tired man or woman on a treadmill. The treadmill that began rather slowly is now moving faster and faster. The speed and the never ending daily grind has now become overwhelming. The treadmill seems to go faster and faster as we race from one appointment to the next. We go from one childâ€™s piano lesson to the other childâ€™s basketball practice. On and on it goes. Life becomes a blur punctuated by birth and death with a flurry of exhausting activity in between. Cell phones ring. E-mail piles up.
Meanwhile, we wonder what happened to life. If you are like many, you wonder how much longer you can hold on.
Meanwhile, the days, weeks, and months seem to pass so quickly. Yet, there are those moments when you may step off the treadmill long enough to think, feel, or pray. You think about some of the weight you are carrying in your "backpack."
- You think about the relationship with your daughter or son that isnâ€™t happening.
- You contemplate the business failure that gnaws away at your sense of self-worth.
- You feel overwhelmed at the commitments you have made and wonder how you will ever get them all done.
â€œDoes anyone else feel like me?â€ you wonder. After all, many people appear to have a smooth and easy life. At least they appear to, anyway. Getting off the treadmill (or at least slowing it down) is not simply a matter of scheduling or shifting priorities. There are much greater issues at stake. Getting off the treadmill has a lot more to do with who you are at the core of your being.
I don’t think there are any quick-fixes to this one. For me, dealing with this began with asking some hard questions. You may or may not find some of these helpful
- Why is it that Jesus seemed calm and not "stressed-out"? Am I busier than he was? What am I doing differently?
- Am I getting something out of being so busy? Does it keep me from dealing with a part of my life that I would just as soon avoid dealing with? Does my busyness make me feel as if I am accomplishing things that matter? (Maybe I am–right now I am just raising the question)
- How would I prefer to live? Would this lifestyle keep me more focused on carrying out God’s mission?
- Do I sometimes enjoy the adrenaline rush of "being on the run"?
- What if I were to place into my day a few moments of planned prayer and silence? What if these moments were just 3-5 minutes? Would this make a difference?
I would not for a moment suggest that in any way I understand your lifestyle or the pressure you are under. I do think the questions above might be worth considering. They might be a start in dealing with the treadmill.