The Stress of a Completely Free Day

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                      April 11, 2019


Recent reports indicate that the stress level for today’s adolescents is extremely high. The February, 2018 research polled over 35,000 high school students. 45% said they feel stressed “all the time!”

Stress comes from the pressure to succeed, the overloading of time commitments and demands, and the constant connecting on social media. 

In a recent interview on NBC Today, four high school students (3 seniors and 1 junior) were asked to recall the last time they had a completely free day? Four blank looks stared back at the interviewer. No one could remember a day that was completely free of commitments, homework, family chores, or social media.

Having a completely free day was seen as a different kind of stress, like the person wasn’t valued- a dreaded form of invisibility. Adolescents today equate value and worth with visibility, and yet how visible they are raises their level of stress.

It’s a generational shift. Whereas my generation would think of a school snow day as a chance to sleep in, watch TV, read a book, or play games, today’s generation of teens who are connected 24/7 see a schedule void of cell phone use and social interaction as something to dread. There always needs to be something to do, something to explore, a task to accomplish.

If you told a group of young people that tomorrow they could just relax and not do anything, groans and wide eyes would greet you. It’s as if they had just entered “The Twilight Zone”, another dimension!

I think God had it right when he commanded His people to observe a day of rest. A day of rest put things back in balance- recovery from the demands of the past six days and allowing some distance from it, plus being renewed for the week ahead. Sabbath rest wasn’t scary. It was planned for. Food and details were arranged ahead of time so that the day of rest would be simply that, or, as we define it today, a completely free day.

Since God created us He knows our fears, our stresses, our wants, and our needs. He knows that each one of us needs some time to be unplugged from the world and not worrying about tomorrow. He will take care of it.

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