Saturday, May 12, 2012


I desperately wanted to write something light and funny this week.  I really did.  I wanted to make you laugh about life and enjoy.  I wanted to poke fun at myself, talking about my inability to use my new iPad, which any 4 year old can instantly grasp and surf the galactic internet.  I was ready to describe in embarrassing detail how it took three trips to the grocery store to get everything I needed to make chicken fajitas and salsa.  Really, three trips. That ties my personal best of three trips to Lowes in order to fix a leaky faucet.

I really wanted to give you a gift, lifting our spirits so we could all smile and take a break from life.

But I couldn’t.

The economy continues to slog along.  I personally refuse to use any positive word (move forward, grow, recover) near any reference to our economy.  World events seem to be in an ever downward spin, like the whirlpool in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.”  Political pronouncements from our leaders make us wonder if they have any clue what life is really like for the rest of us.  In dismay we ask if there is any hope for the country.

The daily grind seems to be just that; monotonous sameness that drags us from one day to another, empties our tank, brings us down.  The demands of life continue to accelerate, making us busier but it feels like we accomplish less.  We seem to be in a rut, like the hamster running in their wheel, spending all sorts of time and energy but getting nowhere.

It was Yogi Berra who said it best, "It's déjà vu all over again."

In listening to people from every walk of life, I see more stress and burnout than ever before.  I know the term burnout is well worn, but it seems to accurately picture what we see and experience.  And if you think I’m being negative, start a conversation with any stranger by asking, “So, how’s it going?”  Be ready for a “dump” of frustration, exhaustion, hurt and anguish.

To let you know that I actually listen to my own advice, I was in line at Wal-Mart the other day and asked the person next to me.  “Hey there, how’s it going?”  They unloaded about their husband, kids, grandkids, neighbors, taxes, government, you name it.  I know that some of you are thinking, “Well, isn’t that what you’d expect from people that shop at Wal-Mart?  After all, Wal-Mart attracts ‘that’ kind of person.”  So, I asked the exact same question to a well-educated Vice President at a high-tech company.  While his response was focused on different things, it was longer, louder and more intense.  For him it was his boss, his bloodsucking relatives, his girlfriend’s son, his daughter who’s ruining her life and his ex-wife.

  • In a survey of 4,500 teachers, 24 percent say they're burned out and 32 percent say they wouldn't choose a teaching career again[1]
  • The economy continues to be the focus as the greatest source of stress[2]
    • 76% - money
    • 70% - work
    • 65% - economy
    • 49% - job stability
  • Stimulant prescriptions have risen 7-fold to more than 75 million per year[3]
  • Pain killer opiate prescriptions (hydrocodone and oxycodone) has more than quadrupled to more than 219 million annually[4]

With all this intense pressure in our lives and families, it’s no wonder that our children are impacted;

As we go looking for answers, falling under the pressures of life, we extend this same negative attitude towards God.  We feel that he hates us, condemns us and has abandoned us.  We think God is saying, “Look here, I’m against you. You have been rebelling against me. I hate you and I am forced to punish you.”

Boy, do I have some good news for you.  God is saying something entirely different to us.  He says to you and to me, “Yes, you are broken, broke and unable to get free.  But I have already paid the price and penalty for you.  I want you to know that you can come to me.  Peace has already been made for you in Christ Jesus, if you will just turn and come to me.”

God is not an angry neighbor who is waiting around the corner just to pounce on you, finding fault. God has His arms outstretched and is saying, “Come, and I will give you rest.”

Most people think that we have to do something to win God over. My friend, God is trying to win you over—the shoe is on the other foot.  God is ready; he is asking you if you are ready.

Some people will see this as an excuse to do whatever they want, abusing their personal freedom to indulge.  This is not what God wants or intends.  His desire is for us to find true freedom and power in life by releasing our rights and giving ourselves to him.

All of us are looking for relief. All of us are in need of restoration and refreshment.  And if you don’t mind me saying, we also are in need of forgiveness and reunion with God.  He has made the way, he has paid the price.  And like a gentlemen, he does not force it down our throat.  He offers it as a gift for us to accept or turn away.

His answer sure sounds better than trying to cope and just get by on our own.  It’s the best news ever.

Blessings - Chet

Chet Gladkowski writes on contemporary topics that impact our lives, culture and faith. - email, Facebook & Twitter - blog
GladAssociates - YouTube

[2] Stress in America Findings, American Psychological Association
[3] National Institute on Drug Abuse
[4] Prescription Audit (SPA) and Vector One
[5] Stress in America Findings, American Psychological Association

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