Process or productivity – The Overload Syndrome

Crocus

“Life is always a process, and it is the process that God is concerned with more than productivity. He knows perfectibility is not possible and that all our labors are feeble against the brokenness of the world. When we overly emphasize productivity (a typically American thing to do), we often pervert the process: instead of faith, we substitute work; instead of depth, we substitute speed; instead of love, we substitute money; instead of prayer, we substitute busyness.”

The Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live Within Your Limits by Richard A. Swenson, M.D.

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The beginning of the end (of winter)

crocus in the snowThe calendar says March 5, but it looks like January 15 outside my window. I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life and I don’t ever remember a winter like this one. We’ve had snow on the ground for so many weeks months in a row I’ve forgotten what bare ground looks like.

However, the snow will melt away. I know we’ve reached the beginning of the end of winter even if it takes a few weeks. We’re looking forward to flowers and open windows and leaving the house on the spur of the moment without having to pile on the boots and coats and gloves. Spontaneity has definitely taken a hit this winter.

And yet.

Honestly, I’ve really enjoyed this winter. I’ve enjoyed the whiteness. Winters that have too much bare ground are depressing. It has been very cold, but it has made the fireplace that much cozier.

I’ve been reading through virtual piles of Grace Livingston Hill books I haven’t read in fifteen or more years. Thanks to the Kindle, I was able to read through many of my Christmas favorites this winter. That tradition was broken for many years and I always felt like something was missing. It is perhaps a small thing in the eyes of others, but large for me. Many nights after supper finds me sitting in my wingback chair by the fireplace, Kindle propped on a pillow.

I’ve been slowly cleaning out different parts of the house. The linen closet. Under the bathroom sinks. File cabinet drawers, Desk drawers. A little bit at a time. It feels good to see more space there when I am finished.

During the process I’ve also been letting go of things from the past. It has been freeing to throw things away, pass things along, and otherwise free myself of their presence. It makes me feel like I am starting fresh in a new phase of my life and I like that. It means I’m closing chapters of my life, satisfied that they have served their purpose.

I’ve missed coming to this place. Necessity has dictated that I spend my time in other places. I’ve invested so many hours into my learning blog and curriculum business. It seems as though the business to do list never shortens, but I see the progress I’ve made in different ways and it brings me a great deal of satisfaction and joy.

And now I’m counting down the days to Pansy Weekend. The first weekend in April when we traditionally buy our first pansies of the year and fill the deck with their cheerful faces. Just a few more weeks and our truly epic winter will be over. It will be time to embrace the spring.

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Consider it joy and seek wisdom

snowy lake

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:2-8 (NIV)

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An unhurried life and allowing ourselves the gift of rest

Winter in the mountains

“Why do you and I postpone God’s gift of rest? Why do we procrastinate? I often fail to enjoy the gift of God’s rest because I’m not willing to open my hands to receive it. In his book Sabbath, Wayne Muller reminds us that ‘Sabbath requires surrender. If we only stop when we are finished with all our work, we will never stop–because our work is never completely done….If we refuse to rest until we are finished, we will never rest until we die. Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished.’ Sabbath can be a weekly reminder that our work is not sovereign, but God is. Our allegiance is first to God, not our to-do list or appointment calendar. Today is the day to enter into a weekly rhythm of ceasing my work one day in seven. Here I more deeply remember that God’s work always precedes mine.”

from An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling

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Giving our best with joy is sacrifice as worship – Oswald Chambers

Winter Mountains

“Sacrifice in the Bible means that we give to God the best we have; it is the finest form of worship. Sacrifice is not giving up things, but giving to God with joy the best we have. We have dragged down the idea of surrender and of sacrifice; we have taken the life out of the words and made them mean something sad and weary and despicable; in the Bible they mean the very opposite.”

Oswald Chambers in “The Love of God” from The Quotable Oswald Chambers

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This entry was posted in Faith