The Overload Syndrome:
Learning to Live Witnin Your Limits
by Richard A. Swenson, M.D.
Overload syndrome -- every pastor has experienced it. But most of us have never identified it by this name. The overload syndrome has swept through our entire culture, even including the Christian community, its pastors and spouses. As a result, we have been left exhausted, stressed and cynical. Dr. Swenson has carefully and accurately diagnosed the problem.
Of course, we need to decide what to do once the problem is diagnosed. This book does more than shift blame to our circumstances. As the overload syndrome impacts significant areas of our lives, the author suggests specific prescriptions to deal with each resulting issue. Dr. Swenson identifies eleven areas impacted by contemporary overload and suggests several corresponding prescriptions that are unique to the area of life touched by overload.
Swenson also provides keen insight into specific ways that the overload syndrome replaces God in our lives. For instance, he states that "busyness is sometimes what happens to us when we forget who God is." Like a doctor listening carefully to a patient listing symptoms in the exam room, Dr. Swenson challenges us to carefully evaluate the symptoms in our lives. We will then need to decide what the remedy may be for us to return to healthy living.
His final chapter on love is excellent. It is a clear reminder for those of us who may have lost sight of God's purpose for our lives. In the final analysis, overload undermines our ability to love others and even our opportunity to develop an active love for God. I recognized myself too many times as I read about the overload syndrome.
Can we change? Yes, but we must choose appropriate change. This book has over 175 prescriptions for making those appropriate decisions. We will need to carefully evaluate the changes to our life that God may be attempting to orchestrate. In the light of eternal perspectives, we must not hide behind the overload of life as an excuse for not fulfilling God's plan. We are accountable for our choices. God can enable us to love Him and those around us without the excuse of overload.
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