Putting lifestyle choices over God’s will

I’m not trying to get self-righteous, holier than thou, but the following is the kind of story that really does affect me, that surely there has to be a way for people to focus on what’s really important.

This is from an article by Brad Feld in Inc Magazine Jul/Aug 2013. Mr Feld writes about two men who were “tech entrepreneurs” who committed suicide independently but close in time to each other. Feld points out that they both faced incredible pressure and both suffered from depression. He describes his own work as regularly being 80 hour weeks, traveling, not getting enough recovery time, no regular exercise. You can do this for a short time, but you can’t do it regularly. Trying not to sound judgmental, but this really is idolatry. This is putting your work, your priorities above everything else. Further he writes that this is the lifestyle that is expected by peers in that industry, so again putting something above what is really God honoring.

He writes that he would observe “digital ‘Sabbaths'”. I have to suspect that Feld does kind of understand the relationship, that he does need a Sabbath, but again the work, striving for success is the ultimate goal, the primary idol and everything else can wait. I know that this is going to antagonize but I will bet that Feld and the two other men were being medicated for depression. I’ve seen this a lot with adults/children I have come into contact with as a pastor. The problem isn’t “disease” as such, it is lifestyle and instead of changes in lifestyle, people think they can modify the negative impact of lifestyle by taking pills. One of the most obvious examples of this is diabetes. Diabetes by anyone’s account is epidemic, seems as if anyone I know over 60 years old is being treated for diabetes and they take this as almost a matter of course. But it’s really a result of poor diet, lack of exercise and the idea that something/someone will bail me out of my bad choices. Lifestyle includes things like overwork, anything that takes our focus off of God’s will and on to what we want, what we’ve decided is important. But as Curt Thompson writes in “Christian Counseling Today” (vol 20 no 3 p 66) “Might taking medication be my way of avoiding what God is trying to do in my life in this time of despair? If prayer is not working, does this indicate depression and not something primarily spiritual?”

Again, I’m not trying to get holier than thou, been there got the t-shirt. I’m writing this while I am, I hope, on the upside of the flu. (So if I seem a little disjointed, I’m chalking it off to that.) When I worked in corporations and was in the Military Reserves I could hit the high end of the speedometer and heard about it. Church pastors are rather notorious for putting a lot of time and pushing beyond what is healthy. We have to maintain a Godly perspective, at what point is God calling us to take our focus off of our priorities and and focus on His healing love, His desire for what is truly best in our life?

Let’s cut to the chase, we are all born sinners, we are all sinners, you, me everyone. (I just saw an episode of NCIS where a guy who dealt heroin and killed people, claimed to be a good guy because he hadn’t killed the person he had just kidnapped???) Get over yourselves, you don’t have to be a murderer or a kidnapper to be a sinner. If we consistently work 80 hour weeks and we don’t take time for God and family, that is sin. It happens sometime, but it can’t be a consistent part of our life. How much different would a person’s life be if they took that time to come before the Lord, acknowledge what they are, lift it up to the Lord and know that they are forgiven, that they are loved by the God, who as a man, did push the limits, but did it so that we could be saved in His death, in His sacrifice for us. He certainly does want us to push, to aspire, but He also wants us to know that He made us in a way that is actually rather fragile and when we ignore His will and try to push beyond the limits that He created in us, we will crash. When we come to Him in worship, when we lift up all of our frailties, failings and yes sin to Him, He strengthens us, He reminds us of what’s important.

Take some time to really examine your life, what is important, what do you really lift up as vital in your life and how that might conflict with what God wants for you. Let’s hear from you. Thanks and God bless.Image

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