Winning – Tic Toc Syndrome


How do you win in this fast paced world?


Let me tell you about a mythical city full of people who live strange lives. You won’t believe the kind of lives they live when I tell you! Most of them wake up in the morning not having had enough sleep. The first thing they do after turning off the alarm is to check their twitter and whatsapp feed to see what they missed out as they slept. They quickly shower, change into their clothes and take coffee to wake up while watching the morning news in case they missed something important. Meanwhile, their kids are picked up by a school bus at 5.30am to make it on time for school. They dash out of the house in a hurry because they want to beat the traffic jam before the rest of the city heads out to the road! If they’re taking a bus, they chose the one that is known for speed and shortcuts, doing whatever it takes to avoid the jam. If they’re driving, they make it a point to stay very close to the bumper of the car ahead of them in case some other driver cuts in on them! At the traffic lights, the count down to zero begins and by the time it’s down 5, they have started hooting to warn the guys in front that it’s time to move, move, move!

And when they get to the office building, they walk to the lift and stab the lift button several times as though it will make the lift come faster. They get to their desk and find an impossible to do list with 20 tasks and they’ve got to get through all of them before they leave the office. In the evening they rush across town to the evening classes they’re taking. By the time it’s over, they anxiously race back into the traffic jam, getting home exhausted just in time to catch the evening news. All this time they’ve been checking their smartphones and updating their Facebook status, or tweeting regularly about the tough day they’re having. And the strangest thing about them is that they do this routine every day of the week!



Anybody guess which city I’m talking about? Welcome to life in our metropolis! From Ruiru to Rongai, from Dandora to Athi River and everything in between, we’re a hustling city where everyone and everything seems to be in a frenzied hurry. From the time you wake up in the morning till the moment you go to sleep at night, it’s move, move, move! We’re constantly rushing somewhere and as a result, most people have developed what I call the Tick tock syndrome.

Tick Tock syndrome is that husband who sits in the car, hooting for his wife to come out of the house. Tick tock syndrome is those people who are constantly looking at their watch when you’re talking to them; in a hurry to move on to the next thing. But if you ask them ‘Where are you rushing to?” they’re really going nowhere important! Tick Tock syndrome is that person who is always refreshing their social media status, checking to see what’s new, even though they just refreshed it 2 minutes ago! Tick Tock syndrome is that driver who’s always chronically overtaking, anxious to pass the car ahead, even though there’s nowhere important he’s rushing to. Tick Tock syndrome is the wife who stresses her husband because he’s not coming quickly enough after the service is over, why are you stopping and greeting everyone, kwani how many friends do you have? Anyone know somebody with tick tock syndrome?

Many of us live our lives in a hurry, always rushing from one thing to the next. And it’s somewhat understandable! After all, we’re managing – jobs, family, school life, side hustles, friendships, social media, watching the world cup late into the night etc. And so this state of life has become what we see as normal! For many years, I took pride in having this syndrome. I felt a sense of importance when someone said, ‘wow, you are such a busy guy!’ But with time, I’ve come to be very afraid of it. I’m not cured of it yet, but I want to be. I realize that apart from the impact on my health and my faith, tick tock syndrome also makes me unattractive.

You see, when you’re going through life so fast, you stop being pleasant to be around you. You are always running, you never smile, you never stop to smell the flowers, and you always have a frown in your face. Even your children or your siblings know that if they want to speak to you, they need to say it quickly because you never have time! With time, the people closest to you learn how to move on without you. You’re just not the person they want to spend time with or share deeply with. I heard a chilling story by Pastor Ondachi about a dad who was busy writing an email. He calls it Two Weeks. It goes like this…

“Dad, dad”, exclaimed my 7 year old as he rushed into my study, mud soiling my neat carpet as he insisted we go and play ball together.

“Son!” I exclaimed, back. “I have an urgent report due in just two weeks. After that, I promise we will play ball. Is that ok?”

“Ok- he said dejectedly as he headed out of my study…

2 minutes later he was back with the same request. Exasperated, I sent him out again and continued to type my 10-page report.

Finally, I was done and I looked for Dave.” Son! I shouted. I felt a deep need to connect with him as only a father and son can. He sat in the living room seemingly engrossed with something on TV.

“Hey am ready! I exclaimed. Lets do it. Lets play ball!”

“What are you talking about dad?” he asked, looking genuinely bewildered.

You asked that we play ball remember? Two weeks ago? I said excitement in my voice, “well -lets go!”

“But dad”, my son said “that was 15 years ago, I don’t need you to play ball with me any more.”

Then he stood up, opened the door and headed to the university. He was 22, in his final year of study there. That’s when it hit me… my two weeks had turned into 15 years, and my son was no longer waiting.

As someone said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

It infects those around us. Tick Tock syndrome is a terribly infectious disease. It quickly spreads out to people around you and soon, they are as stressed as you are. Bosses who have this syndrome run toxic companies; they hire people like themselves and they run them literally to the ground. Parents with this syndrome infect their children. From an early age, they babysit them with smartphones and iPads and PlayStations so that they grow up not even knowing how to play or have normal conversations with others. People with this syndrome always are on their gadgets – smart phones, beepers, alarm clocks, laptops, tablets, social media. They do not know how to disengage & to switch off.

This is the world we live in, where even at night, our clocks keep singing, ‘tick tock, never stop’. So what do we do? How do we ensure that this frantic living does not take over our lives, increase our stress and pass on to the next generation? What is the cure for Tick Tock syndrome?

Over the past two weeks we have been learning from God, and from how he managed creation. Today we want to learn from someone who had a very important job. I mean many people feel like the weight of the world is resting on them with the jobs they hold but they’ve got nothing on this man. He had huge responsibilities that would have kept anyone awake 24/7. How he did his job literally meant life or death for the people who needed His services. This guy was crazy busy, or at least, he should’ve been! Mark 4:35-41

If you read the section before the one we’ve just read, you’ll realize that this story comes at the end of a long, busy season of ministry. Jesus had been all over the place, teaching the crowds, healing the sick, casting out demons, defending His ministry against haters – the religious leaders of the day. The crowds loved him; he was the trending topic everywhere! He was so busy that even his own family (Mark 3: 21) thought that he had gone crazy! And who could blame him? He had a huge vision and purpose! Jesus had come to start a revolutionary world-changing movement that would transform all of world forever. He had to select and train the leaders who would take over from him and continue with this great movement after He was gone. The whole of humanity depended on his doing His assignment right. And he only had three years to do it. Imagine the pressure!

So it’s interesting in the middle of all this important activity, that Jesus tells his disciples, ‘Let’s go over to the other side.’

Now Jesus didn’t stop teaching the crowds because there was nothing else to teach. He wasn’t saying there’s no more work to do, no more sick people to heal, no more demons to cast out. Instead, this was an intentional withdrawal on His part. He was saying, yes the work may be unfinished, but its time to unplug. So far we’ve learnt the Genesis Principle and the Boundary Principle. The lesson we need to learn from Jesus today is The Unplug Principle

Like Jesus, many of us have huge responsibilities to take care of, and as a result we are running from one task to the other. We are constantly looking at the clock, wondering how I will finish what I am doing now, in time to get to what I need to do next. And yet the secret to winning is to know when to unplug, not because the work is finished, but because the time allocated to it is over. We need to learn to say ‘no, this can wait until tomorrow or the next day’. If you want to win in life, you must know when to unplug!

I can hear someone say, ‘but Pastor, but you don’t know my work; things would go haywire if I did what you are suggesting!’ You’d be surprised that I agree with you; it’s probably true, things might go wrong. That’s what happened to the disciples! After they unplugged, a crisis took place. There was a huge storm, the boat almost capsized, the disciples panicked. These guys were professional fishermen; for them to think they were going to drown, things must have been terrible! So it’s true, things could go wrong when you unplug.

But here is the beauty about unplugging. Unplugging allows you to come back with fresh perspective and fresh energy. The disciples had been at it for so long, that all they had left was negative energy. Even when they called to Jesus, it was not like they were calling confidently to their savior, it is more like they were accusing him! They shouted, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” Ever prayed like that? ‘God, what are you thinking? Don’t you care that I’m suffering here?’

But look at Jesus. When he woke up, he spoke confidently to the storm, “Quiet! Be still!” And just like that, the situation changed, and there was a great calm. See, when you’re rested and a crisis comes, you’re more likely to face it with a sober mind without panicking and losing it like the disciples did. You have a crisis at work or at home? Working harder and burning the midnight oil might not be the solution. Sometimes taking time out to unplug allows you to bring new energy and fresh perspective to the problem that the people around you do not have. If you want to win in life, you must know when to unplug!

So how can we practically unplug so that when the storms of life come, we have the capacity to take them on? Three things: the first is…

KNOW YOUR PURPOSE. Jesus understood clearly his life’s purpose. He knew who he was and what he had come to do. As a result He could walk away without guilt. I can almost imagine the disciples asking, ‘but what if we take the trip and somebody dies?’ Or what about all the sick people we’re leaving behind?’ But Jesus knew why he was here and he allowed that to limit what he did. You need to know your purpose! If you want to win in life, you must know when to unplug! Very closely tied to knowing your purpose is…

LEARN TO SAY NO. Because Jesus knew His purpose, He didn’t try to fulfill all the other agendas that people had for his life. His family wanted to get him away from his preaching work. He said no! His disciples wanted him to quit the dying plan and stick around for the miracles. He said no! The crowd wanted to crown him king so he could protect them from the Romans. He said no! [If he was a Kenyan, what would he have said? The people have spoken!] But he said no to those opportunities because he knew they were not his calling.

Some of us find it very difficult to say no! We fear to miss out on opportunities – FOMO. We fear to offend people. We fear to look bad. But for every opportunity you say yes to, then there is something else that you are either going to not do or that you’re going to do without excellence. As Jim Collins says in his book ‘Good To Great’, ‘few people attain great lives, precisely because it is so easy to settle for a good life’

  • How many grew up watching 9:00 NEWS? Why is that so important? I read the online papers for 5 minutes the next day and save an hour of my life sitting in front of the TV!
  • How many watched that wonderful game… NETHERLANDS VS SPAIN – Amazing goals! 2 by Van Persie including an amazing header, 2 by Robben… I watched them all – on YouTube the next day.

LIVE WITH OPEN HANDS. As a pastor, I feel great relief as I see Jesus walking away at the end of the day. It allows me to realize the truth of that song we learnt in Sunday School, ‘He’s got the whole world, in His hands’. That’s an important truth that I need to keep remembering. So long as I think that I’ve got the whole world in my hands, or even some of the world in my hands, then I dare not let go. It could crash and break! But here’s the truth I’ve come to learn: There is only one God, and it’s not me!

That’s why I live life with open hands. When my hands are open, they catch only what they can. I can only meet so many people or do so many things. What I can’t do I delegate. For the rest I apologize!

Last week, I challenged us all to be doers of the word and not just hearers only. So I want to end with an exercise that we are calling #Unplug. Just for one week, I want to challenge everyone in Mavuno to practice some radical unplugging.

  1. Stop working – this week, get to the office on time. Work over lunch if you have to. But when the time comes to stop working, get up and leave the office. Leave all your work at work!
  2. Switch off your gadget – at 6pm, turn off your gadgets. Don’t watch news in the evening. For those who are die-hard soccer fans, let’s make a concession (because of the hardness of our hearts) – pick 3 games to watch the whole week but they have to be the 7 pm game
  3. Share a meal with a friend – what do I do with all that extra time? Glad you asked! On at least one of the nights, invite a friend over and share a meal. Or if you’re a family, eat together and play board games or just talk one evening. It may have to be Friday night for those whose kids are overloaded with homework!
  4. Sleep – commit to sleep at least 7 hours every night. What if I wake up at 3am because my body is in shock from sleeping early? Then keep your bible by your bedside as well as some gospel music and if you wake up, read and worship until you fall asleep again!

Unplug from the crowd, co – workers, speed, mobile and technology, accessibility. Unplug our body so that we can sleep well. I wonder how many of us never switch off our phones, or go on holidays with our laptops. Jesus teaches us a very important lesson that we need to take time out from the daily routine and rest.

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13 Responses to “Winning – Tic Toc Syndrome”

  1. Pastor M
    Pastor M…You have spoken

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on christoid and commented:
    Great blog for the busy folk.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. thekenyaninme Says:

    Reblogged this on thekenyaninme and commented:
    An amazing truth – He’s got the whole world in His Hands. So I am reminded not to stress. To learn to unplug. Because He has the whole world in His hands.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thekenyaninme Says:

    Pr M, this was a brave sermon. Very counter-cultural. It reminded me of that EABL ad where a guy passes on from drinking and driving and then a few weeks later he was replaced. Many times we don’t unplug coz we think we are irreplacable but what this sermon did for me is to remember God is my source. Then it makes it possible to unplug. Awesome sermon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pastor M Says:

      @thekenyaninme – thank you! God’s word tells us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world. And you’re absolutely right; none of us is irreplaceable and God is our only source! All the best as you continue to #unplug


  5. ”Hi Njerry…wassup?
    ……..(Long unusual non-response- read 2min max)
    Njerry? yu ok?
    ….(another 1 min without my response)
    …is what followed after another minute”

    This is a sneak preview of my whatsup page….

    Let me sum it up for you, as in, to my peers, 4mins offline can only mean am dead! and they ask me as much because, certainly, even in the morgue, chances are, i will be with my phone in my hands.How not?

    ….and i thought i had at least my life in my own hands…it turns out not. Because, first of all, am not addicted to my phone, addiction as big as it is!, is an understatement, my phone is my life, i have sold my soul to the gadget.
    Switch it off at 6pm?
    Pr. M?
    for real? i said that loud in the congregation…in fact the lady sitting next to me can tell you i actually said
    ”Preach preacher!”

    You must be joking, i thought, but i said to self, am not a hearer am a doer so lets do this….sun, mon, tue, today is wednesday and am shaking! just not knowing whats up!
    No sms 6-6
    No 9pm news
    No late night brazil match!
    No office emails at midnight (someone sent me a request at 1am on monday night, and sent me a reminder at 3am! )
    Lets just leave this whole story here and say this very humbly,

    I have had a reflective week, felt like am in a concentration camp

    My two sons are thrilled to have me home by 6pm…hallelujah!
    On monday the oldest son asked me if i had come to pick something i go back to the office- at 6pm…coz it was unusual to enter before dark…someone hug Pr. M for me for saving my family.
    3 hugs in total
    2 from my sons!

    i have intentionally put the sleep struggle last hoping you dont read this far….Bed by 9pm…
    Fully awake by midnight

    Reading the bible,
    worship music…nothing works until around 4am…am doing this cold turkey so help me God!

    Am an angry- just discovered tic toc addict
    caught in the act
    Determined to recover and learn to unplug in order to win

    Mixed emotions

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pastor M Says:

      THanks so much for sharing your recovery journey @Njerry. So great to hear your sons are finally enjoying their mom! That surely is one of your biggest rocks. As for the sleep, keep up the baby steps, it will come! Praying for much grace the rest of the week as you #unplug


    • I am exited!
      Pr. M, the sleep strategy is working!! thanks a lot for sharing….its everything counter cultural…i wonder who taught us this culture! men! i can hack 7hrs of sleep and even catch a nap on a saturday afternoon? for real?…these were mere stories from the boring lot that has no life…here i am enjoying rest!…and having no “life” i guess? and lovimg it! and when i wake up in the morning? am fresh and ready to be a pleasant mum, coleaggue and at most a normal being…..

      Let me also update you on the phone unplug mission, its a lot easier chatting less, texting less and having less friends…the 6-6 phone off has helped prune a lot of unnecessary info.
      I feel like am travelling lighter…….

      By the way, this church
      Yaani! you have no idea!
      Me i know am new…….Njerry who walked to Belleview is a far cry from the one who confidently…fearlessly say, i will do all it takes to seek first his kingdom.

      Put my paper and pen down and say…
      Bless you!
      Bless mavuno family…we are lucky to be here at such a time as this!



  6. Blessed Says:

    Hi Pastor M, trust me unplugging is not easy but its the best thing.

    There is so much happening in kenya today and at first i thought, how will one even know whats happening then i was like, what if i know whats actually happening on the ground? What difference do i make? What changes in my life…..well yeah those answers yo all thinking. I wanted to assume but again i remembered all rebellion stuff in simama, i had to comply.

    Switching off phone from 6pm means thousands of whatsApp messages, lots of inbox but heh, Pastor M spoke, who am i to rebel, that’s the reality and i have to abide. Looking at all this, i quickly understood why the children of Israel were rebellious even when whatever they are being warned was so clear. I forgave myself too for judging them.

    Unplugging to me started on sunday night and Monday was the highlight. I have been trusting God for a couple of things and i decided to pray during this time ( WhatsApp time), its during this time that i realized how much time i waste and how many more things i could have brought before God in prayer especially our country.

    I had an awesome time in prayer. For the 1st time i spent hours praying. I also had time to pray using the bible i.e i search and claim all the promises in the bible, then pray, it was awesome. As i was praying i told God, dear heavenly Father, I am not here to wine, cry, complain or to be bitter, am here to converse with you and have a great time. It was awesome. Trust me i feel like doing it every day. God is faithful and i love Him more than before.

    Today is Thursday and i am so at peace and happy. I really thank God for you Pastor M. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Steve kobz Says:

    Very radical sermon pasi…ur radical man and am loving it…time to unplug from the matrix.
    Steve kobz

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Savedbygrace Says:

    Hi Pst M,

    So for me the unplug started on Sunday right after the sermon ,turned off my whatsapp and deactivated my facebook. And my my, what a great week it has been. With no Tv being turned on, bonding time with hubby became more meaningful and intimate:-):-) I read books that I had been putting off reading for the longest time ,did an at home facial:-) and of course got so much more sleep and just generally ‘looked up’ and actually listened when people were talking as my nose wasn’t constantly in my phone,checking whatsapp! I could actually get used to this!

    Thanks Pasi!!


  9. OMG this series is totally speaking to my heart. For a long time I used to feel like the life most of us are leaving especially myself was not right. I used to call us the “Zombie Nation”; you know how in the morning everyone is rushing towards a certain direction and in the evening the same.
    I love that the church is speaking about this and letting people know that this is no way to live our lives. Now that I am a mum this series is making even more sense since I do not want my son to grow up in this kind of environment.
    I truly love this and hope God will guide me accordingly as to what my purpose in life is.


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