The Price Tag

There is a price to be paid for our chronic exhaustion. For some people, it’s apparent in the here and now: fleeting joy, fragmented relationships, growing irritability. Sometimes it comes and goes: bouts of sleepless nights, depression, illness. Some people seemingly sail through their overload, but the price tag is high when they die prematurely, five, 15 or 30 years earlier than they should.

What’s the cost of your overload? Is it worth the price tag?

Three important questions come to mind when I take a look at the state of my exhaustion:

  • What do I need?
  • What do I want?
  • Am I willing to pay the price?

What do I need? A lot. The dentist tells me I need to floss. My doctor tells me I need to lose 15 pounds. The government tells me I need to pay my taxes. My kids tell me I need to dye the gray out of my hair, oh, and drive them to 16 practices and activities this week.

Since our basic needs for clean water, food, safety and shelter are typically met, most of my needs are really a matter of wants. My wants are driven by 1) my pursuit of a reward or 2) my desire to avoid negative consequences.

Seeking the reward – or suffering the consequence – of flossing (or not flossing), dieting/exercising or dyeing my hair have not yet risen to the top of my to-do list. Paying taxes is not a want, but I seek to avoid the painful consequences, so I am willing to pay the price of seeing that it gets done.

The real question behind needs and wants in modern society is: Am I willing to pay the price?

Rest Is Not Free

There is a price to be paid for our exhaustion. There is a price to be paid for our restoration.

Rest does not come free. It requires a radical revision of thinking and beliefs. It demands an alteration of how life unfolds. The cost is high. It’s painful to face the reality of our own limits. It’s brutal to disappoint others and perhaps, even harder to disappoint ourselves. But the consequences of not tending to our basic needs for rest are staggering. The rewards, however, are truly beyond our comprehension. They are out of this world – in more ways than one.

The first step on the journey toward rest and restoration is a very short inventory and assessment. James A. Garfield once said, “The truth will set you free, but first it might make you miserable.” This inventory is short. Very short. I hate tests. I hate the time they take. I also recognize test anxiety. When I take a test, I know what an inventory is looking for, so authentic results can be easily skewed. I’ve kept this in mind, in case you’re like me.

Self-Evaluation

ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS

Where do you stand? Take a moment to work through the following questions.

  • Where do you stand? Take a moment to work through the following questions.
  • Are you happy? (Joy, yes. But do you laugh? Have fun? Can you be playful?)
  • Are you healthy? (Are your habits conducive to good health? Sleep, food, exercise?)
  • Are you holy? (Are you growing? What about self-control, patience, goodness, love…)
  • Are you whole? (Are there any gaps between your public and private world? Are your key relationships healthy, strong, maturing?)

Consider sharing this form with your strength coach or a trusted friend. If you are feeling bold, ask them to answer these questions about you. It may launch intriguing and insightful conversations.

Self-Inventory

Answer true only for the statements that are 100% true. This is a snapshot of your life today, not for all time and eternity. It gives you information about this specific season of your life. It does not label or define you. It is a snapshot. Be honest.

  • In the last four weeks, I’ve enjoyed four days off – days that were refreshing and carefree.
  • This past week I’ve had five nights of sleep that were 7 to 8 hours in duration.
  • I experience the Presence of God on a regular basis in personal devotions.
  • I took a full day of personal retreat in the last six months.
  • I enjoyed four evenings this past week with no out-of-the-home obligations.
  • I took all my vacation time last year.