Monday, February 9, 2015

on being productive, but not making anything that really matters


I'm a productivity junkie. Finishing a task or being able to measure something and say, "Yes, I spent 30 minutes doing ____ and here's how it turned out," mmhmm that's my bread and butter. That feeling is a great motivator to finish cleaning my kitchen when all I really want to do is watch another episode of Gilmore Girls. #lorelaiandlukeforever. But when I get interrupted in the middle of being productive? (By a tiny child needing something, perhaps?) My reaction lately has been very telling; I get super flustered, and if I can't finish that specific thing, I want to find something else that I can super quickly do in order to have produced something. Clear off that surface real quick; send that short email. Anything so that I can sit down and say, "Wooh, I spent that time getting something accomplished. Good thing, because otherwise..."

The answer to that "otherwise" - it's been a big, fluttering red flag.
Otherwise I will have not accomplished anything.
Otherwise I've just been wasting my time.
Otherwise I'm disappointing myself, my family, the Lord...

I know, slightly dramatic answers to the idea that I didn't get something checked off my to do list during nap time. But when I've dug down into the WHY behind that "otherwise," I've found a gal who is working real hard to feel significant. I've been carefully crafting my time so that I can feel good about what I've done at the end of the day. (And when the day ends with me not having "accomplished much," I mostly feel defeated.)

In reality, at the end of the day, when my day has been all about me and what I've been able to (or haven't been able to) accomplish, I feel empty. I am tired from all the "hard work" I've been doing, but but I still feel so disappointed- because all that work has gotten me what? A cleaner house? A eye-catching calendar with all of it's squares scribbled in?

I spend a good part of my days "accomplishing a lot," but when I'm lying in bed at night and thinking over my day, only a small chunk of that work adds up to feeling like the hours actually mattered

These words aren't easy to write, but my kids don't care if their closets are full of clean clothes, if all they hear during the day is "hold on a minute." My husband and my friends deserve a Mackenzie who is fully present with them, not one who is "listening" to them while mentally scolding herself for what I didn't get done prior to our conversation.

I don't have a perfectly crafted plan for how to accomplish getting over my striving, ugly heart; but I do have Jesus. His Holy Spirit has been whispering to me, "Put the dishes down and build that puzzle with Nicholas - and watch what I, the Lord, accomplish in this sweet time you spend together." He's been using Make it Happen (by Lara Casey) to help me ask the questions, "What really matters? What lasts for eternity? Who matters?" And He's been speaking, over and over again, where my significance truly comes from - my position with Him as His daughter. He's an awesome Dad who has joyfully invited me into His family; that's it. I don't have to do anything, accomplish something, work harder; He's already done the work.

Don't get me wrong, it's important to do my dishes so that my family can eat. God calls me to really good work, and so I need to accomplish things. But I'm learning that checking off a list is just one kind of "work." Work can also look like giving my baby too many kisses, and playing footsie with my husband while we eat ice cream. It can look like giggling, listening, praying. Good, meaningful, lasting work can look like something that isn't measurable - and I want to feel free to work hard at all the different types of work that God has given me to do. I'm incredibly excited about the work that the Lord is doing in my heart. I want to do the things that matter to Him.

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