I’m sitting on a piece of log. It’s 7:43 in the morning, and I’m surrounded by an evergreen meadow. The only thing I hear is the sound of myself typing on this laptop.
I was supposed to come out here to work on some homework. I have a few assignments to catch up on, but there’s something magical about being in the middle of nowhere. You kind of just realize your work isn’t the most important thing right now.
The more important thing right now is to be still.
Those two words are so convicting because they command something so simple, and yet, when are we every really still?
This year, I have been challenged to, get this, be more unproductive. Why? Because I have been obsessed with productivity in the last few years.
Obsessed is a loaded word, and I hate to use it to describe an aspect of who I am, but it’s true. I can’t just sit down and not be doing anything!
If I’m sitting down with nothing to do, I pull out my phone to respond to messages, scroll through some emails, and make sure I’m up-to-date with all of my social media accounts.
If I realize I have a few days out of the week where I have extra time on my hands, I look out for new activities I can get involved in.
If I have a day off, I quickly plan a trip out to a place I’ve never been before.
And I’m not saying that all of this is completely bad, because truth be told, I’ve been able to get involved with a lot of meaningful things and meet a lot of great people and make awesome memories through my involvements.
But there comes a point where my productivity has made me unproductive.
I become so involved with so many different things that I lose sight of what is really important - loving God, loving people, and enjoying life’s simple, beautiful moments.
As I’m writing this, there’s a group of a few sheep, goats, and llamas (again, I’m in the middle of nowhere), and watching them has got me thinking. They all move slow, they chew the grass they’re eating slow, and they don’t do a whole lot. They’re just eating and observing the world around them.
I can’t remember the last time I acted like them, where I just was not rushing, not talking, eating my food slowly, and just being invested in the environment I was in. I can’t remember the last time I was as peaceful as the sheep, the goats, and the llamas.
Now, I’m not putting down productivity. Being productive, working hard, and being involved with cool things and going to neat places are essential aspects of living a meaningful life.
But it’s when you overdo it, when your identity becomes wrapped in how productive you are, that you lose sight of the things around you that truly matter.
If your life moves too fast, you may really just miss out on the whole point of it all.
Here’s a prayer that my boss sent me when she noticed I was becoming overwhelmed with doing and not being.
A Prayer for When Life Moves Too Fast
We confess our tendency to worship productivity and that our exhaustion is often the result of our own obsession.
Show us how to walk at Jesus’ pace.
Remind us that our souls aren’t made for hurry but to find their rest in You.
Teach us the sound of our Father’s voice so that we can move to the unforced rhythms of grace.
Reveal to us our own assignment and empower us to do our own thing well.
Give us the courage to define our own margins, to be people with a strong no and a thoughtful yes.
May this season of thanksgiving be for us a sweet reminder of Your presence in our everyday moments.
Encourage us as we wait for results.
Comfort us as we listen in the darkness
Slow us down in Your presence we pray.
- by Emily P Freeman