11/19/15 Morning Musing: Productivity Trap

I have had a really difficult time writing lately. I sit down to do it and think and try to feel inspired and it doesn’t flow like it used to and so it leaves me feeling anxious and with a warm heat in my face that I only experience with failure…shame. From the beginning of this journey with writing, I have felt strongly that it has been a way that the Holy Spirit talks to me…so being without it has left me feeling that he has withdrawn from me. Of course, my mind knows otherwise but it is still distressing to feel this way…evidence that our feelings can be liars, I guess. But truth and reality hit me this morning as I sat down, once again, and tried to force the Lord to write through me again. Did you catch it? The absurdity of me trying to force something on God? Me trying to manipulate the omniscient one? It would be laughable if not so ludicrous and blasphemous. And yet, there it is. I have tried to “American Dream” my relationship with God. Before you get offended, I am a patriot and love receiving the blessings that being an American affords me…but I think our culture feeds into some pretty unhealthy patterns and values in the name of the “American Dream.” One of those beliefs is that you are only as valuable as what you produce…that working and doing are the same thing…that we have to produce something every minute in order to justify our existence. This is how we…or at least I…get caught up in that idolatry that I love to serve so much: busy-ness. 
I am guilty of being one who has, when I have seen people sitting and “doing nothing,” judged them as non-contributors. It is this very thought, this unfair judgement of others, that had held me in-prisoned for years: I was unable to take naps at all when my children were babies because I had a thought in my head that sleeping during the day was something that people who drain the resources of others did…people who didn’t contribute to society…people who leached off of the efforts of others…so I would keep myself awake and super-productive (as productive as I could be while sleep-deprived) during their nap-times as a way to justify my existence. As if the fact that my Creator wanted me to exist wasn’t reason enough. Do you understand how completely absurd that is? It would be as ridiculous as if the benches, that I made recently, decided that they had to learn to sew in order to be valuable. I created them and determined their value…I created them for a purpose that I understand…I spent the time, resources, and energy in designing them with care, all while knowing what I planned to do with them. The benches themselves do not have the master vision that I have as their creator…they don’t have all the information…they don’t understand the joy and satisfaction that I experienced in designing them and carefully making them exactly how I wanted them to be…and when they add pre-requisites of their own to their value, instead of simply fulfilling what I would have them accomplish, they will reduce their effectiveness in what they were designed for.
When I self-impose demands on what I should produce or fulfill in order to earn my value, I am no different than my benches requiring themselves to sew. It’s absurd…and insulting to the one that created them for a unique and beautiful purpose. So instead of earning my worth, today I will quiet myself and receive…I will listen to my Creator speak into me words of purpose and mission…words of love and investment…words of meaning and value…and it will fill me until I can’t hold any more without some of it spilling out of me and that…that bit right there…will be what I contribute to the world…that will be how I am productive…that will be my contribution…and I can’t think of a better one.
So, how are you doing with this? Do you feel like you are in a frenzy to get more and more done? Are you rushing from one thing to another and left feeling inadequate across the board? How about how you see others? Do you place value only on what they can do for you or how hard they work? What if you suddenly were rendered incapable of “producing” the way that you do now? Would you still remain valuable?
My prayer today is that we would all slow down from being so productive and ask God what he values in us. That we would take a good look at the gifts and opportunities he has placed in front of us and thank him for them by investing in them…developing them…and sharing them. I’m praying that we would learn to accept that there is value in each of us and the stories that our lives are meant to tell…and that we would be brave enough to live out those stories. Much love friends,

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