Motivate it, Medicate it, or Meditate on it

We’ve become a nation that can’t sit still. Like Martha in the bible we are busy bodies who are in constant motion, can’t calm down and relax, can’t connect with others in a meaningful way and we don’t want to be alone in quiet time. We have moved from diligence of getting the job done by doing our best and then stopping to being so driven we are never satisfied. We reward workaholism, we miss key moments in life and common phraseology looks like this, “I’m overwhelmed,” “I’m stressed to the max,” “I”m out of gas,” or “I’m burned out.” Thoreau once said, “For every thousand hacking at the leaves of a problem there is one hacking at the root.” What is the root cause of all of this busyness?

One word: Pain.

Pain from our past.

Pain from our childhood.

Pain from our losses.

Pain from our devastation.

When we have pain we do one of two things: We motivate it or we medicate it. We motivate it by working, staying busy, living in perpetual motion, never sitting still, never having a dull moment, never taking action. We believe that if we never slow down we’ll never have to confront the past, we’ll never have to get one on one with God to talk about things we don’t want to talk about, and we believe that we can just work our way through it. Think back in your life to your strategy to work yourself out of depression. At 25 when I went through a devastating breakup I motivated my way through it. I arrived at the offie at 5:30 a.m. every morning. I stayed until I couldn’t think. I would shower there, drive myself home, and lay down and go to sleep. I did this for almost a year to fight off depression. Up until that point in my life I had saw “depressed people” as weak and believed they should just “suck it up.” Boy did I learn a valuable lesson.

If we don’t motivate it we medicate it. Medicate it with travel. Medicate it with alcohol. Medicate it with drugs. Medicate it with sex. Medicate it with anything that will keep our minds off that which we are running from. For a short period of time the medication makes the pain go away but it’s a short term fix to a long term problem. Alcohol is never the problem, pain is. Addiction is never the problem, pain is. The problem is never really the problem, it’s pain that is the real problem. We never really take time to deal with it and it haunts us every day.

The only other thing we do is we “meditate it.” We stew on it. We relive it. We argue about it. We have drama around it. We just sit around and talk about it robbing us of good energy that we need to move on.

Or, we could just deal with it. We could get freedom from it. We could choose not to motivate it, medicate it, or meditate it. We could just deal with it.

Whatever your coping mechanism is I encourage you to step back and look at your patterns of how you deal with pain, the past, or heartbreak. Your current strategy may be a short term fix to a long term problem. The way you see the problem could be the problem.

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