Thursday, December 8, 2011

revisiting the productive/unproductive battle

I am distracted by my need to be productive each day.
And by distracted, I mean it literally consumes my thoughts.

It's rough, too, because although I aim to be extremely productive each day, there are certain very important things that are not exactly productive in terms of getting things done.  For instance, spending time with God is not exactly productive (well, it is productive in an eternal sense, but not perhaps in a practical "I-need-to-make-the-bed-today" sense).

Why have I always measured my worth by this idea of productivity?  Where did I get this from?  -- Is it my German background or my American upbringing or both or a combination of those things and a little something else?  What does the Bible say about productivity?  How does God say I should spend my days?

"Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10

"Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven."
Matthew 6:20

"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself."
Matthew 6:34

"If anyone would be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me."
Matthew 16:24

"'Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Matthew 22:36-40

"Do all things without complaining and arguing, so that you may remain blameless and pure."
Philippians 2:14

"You must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking... Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."
Ephesians 4:17, 24

"Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground...Stand firm."
Ephesians 6:13-14

Judging from (just a small slice of) Scripture, it seems that my own idea of productivity does not come from the Lord.  I feel this need to do everything to the best of my ability in order to glorify God.... but to what end, friends?  Because in my pursuit to "do everything for the glory of God," I have instead become bogged down by (read: made an idol out of) deadlines and perfectionism.  I have made my goal the completion of the thing itself, rather than the glorification of the Lord.  So where do I draw the line and take some steps back?  When does taking it slower/loving my neighbor/not worrying about the day/etc. do more to glorify God than earning the imaginary gold star for my day?  What if I cast down my own ideas of productivity, and replaced them with the Lord's ideas?

It starts by changing habits -- putting God first in every single day -- sacrificing that one extra hour of sleep to awaken to His stillness and come into His presence.  And it is indeed a further sacrifice for a productive-junky to choose stillness over constant movement, but I was not made to only make beds, wash dishes, write posts, sing, or teach.  I was made to make beds, wash dishes, write posts, sing, and teach for God's glory.  I was made to glorify the Father through all things -- and some days, that means glorifying Him by my productiveness for the day, and other days it means glorifying Him through my unproductiveness for the day.

What do you think?  Have you wrestled with being productive over spending time with and glorifying the Lord?  What have you learned about how God calls you to live each day?

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