From my journal today:
Well, I’m at it again, God—this constant fight over productivity. Sometimes productivity becomes my idol. I am always trying to do more and more and do it earlier in the week--so I can relax? No, so I can produce more later in the week. What is my real purpose for You? What am I to be doing for you NOW? This lack of knowing worries me, and I think I mask that insecurity with doing. I am so afraid of wasting time. My productivity trap makes me focus on no one but me and my stuff and how much I can get done. Help me break free from this, Lord. Allow me freedom in You.
Freedom to be…freedom to pray…freedom to visit…freedom to read…freedom to create…freedom to enjoy. Now, teach me and set me straight, God.
Well, God is faithful, and set me straight He did. This is the very first verse He showed me:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
The minute I read it, I knew He was right and I cried.
I get myself all worked up about so many things that, in the big picture, really don’t matter at all. I make myself accomplish things that no one has asked me to do. I put strict parameters on the ways I use my time because I am so afraid of being accused of laziness. Do you notice how this forced discipline and productivity seeking makes me focus inward…instead of upward and sideward? (this is a word my nephew and niece, Ryan and Miranda made up when they were little. It means going side to side—you know—like “frontwards, backwards…and sidewards”). Instead of looking inward, I need to simplify and look upward to God to meet my need for purpose. And if I am looking upward, I will develop eyes like Christ that see “sidewards” to those around me and a mouth that speaks the words of God—not the words of Tori.
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:11
I know this predicament stems partially from choosing to be a homemaker at this season in my life. I actually really like being at home and doing domestic, housewifely things, but I always worry about how others perceive this stay-at-home gig. So, I figure, since my kids are at school all day, I better stay really busy and stay really productive, or I might lose favor with man. However, when I speak truth to myself, I know that I am complete in Christ and I should not fear the opinion of people. I know this, but I often forget it…and that’s when I slide into this whole productivity mess. Productivity, in balance, is a wonderful thing. Productivity, in excess, kills joy.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
So how do I stop this cycle of doing? I learn, like Martha in Luke 10, to see value in sitting…and listening…and drinking in…the words of my Father. I remember that when I look to Jesus—not my list--at the beginning of the day—my vision is clearer. And I can rest.
If Jesus thought it better for Martha to sit at His feet—to put Him first—to stop working for the moment, then it’s probably Ok for me too. If I do this, He will give me the desires of my heart. It’s a promise.
I’m counting on it.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.