Work and Rest.
We need both. Living in the tension of the two can often be a challenge. Recently, as the school year was coming to a close, the thought of lazy summer days was a light at the end of the tunnel. I knew I needed a break from the constant and never ending to do list that consumes my life from August to May.
I was looking forward to investing in some hobbies this summer. So, in true over-ambitious Allie form, the first week of summer ended up being a flurry of writing, creating art, gardening, catching up with friends, exercising, and tackling my reading list for the summer. And don’t get me wrong– there’s something really revitalizing in being able to labor in things when it’s a choice, simply because I want to. I can get lost in creating stationary for my Etsy store or take my time revising and crafting a blog post that puts my parts of my soul into words. But I can often get caught up in the goal of accomplishing goals for the sake of it– because it feels good. Hello. My name is Allie and I’m addicted to productivity. Well, the various projects I had taken on ended up feeling like a juggling act with one too many balls.
Today was another rainy day in Kansas City, and after running some errands, I came home feeling tired. Rather than tackling my blog post for the day or photographing my art to put up on my Etsy store, I decided to lay down and read my Nicholas Sparks book. And proceeded to take a nap.
A nagging feeling of guilt hid just beneath the surface.
I know myself well enough to know that when that heavy feeling comes, I need to do some business with the Lord.
“God… I’m doing it again.”
“I know, Beloved.”
“I’m putting my worth in my productivity.”
“And how’s that working out for you?”
“It’s not… Help me!”
“Hey- it’s ok. You are mine. I have given you this gift– a season with a different rhythm. It delights me to see you creating. I put that desire in you. But don’t mistake that for your source of validation or worth.”
“I just… like the feeling I get when I accomplish things…. and don’t enjoy the feeling when things are left undone.”
“Allie, even if you sat on this couch and watched the entire six seasons of Lost straight, didn’t shower or leave the house for days— even if you never sold one item on your Etsy store or didn’t finish your writing challenge, nothing would change in the way I feel about you. I love you, and it’s not because of what you do, or accomplish.”
“I want to believe you in that, God. I think I’m starting to, more than a few months ago even, but I still have a hard time trusting that.”
“I want that for you more than you know, Beloved. And when you learn to operate in the rhythm of my song– for the best music is a symphony of notes and rests— then you will be free to ‘be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.’”
Shortly after this conversation, my roommates came home and asked if I wanted to watch Lost. The to-do list for the day was left undone as I sat down on the couch and chose to be blissfully unproductive. All night.