I’ve been on a reading binge this year, knocking out a few books that have peaked my interest in recent years. One reading priority I made toward the beginning of the year was to read a few books on productivity and time management. As I have mentioned time and time again one of my biggest struggles is self discipline. It’s not that I don’t get things done it is more that I often feel overwhelmed as I am getting those things done. So I set out to read a few books that might aid in my endeavor to be less overwhelmed and more disciplined. While I cannot wait to share about the books themselves, this post is more about my response to the reading of these books in general.
So far I have finished The Fringe Hours and Crazy Busy. I am working my way through Do More Better. The Fringe Hours is really about making time to take care of yourself and do things that you love so you can be better at what you are called to do. Jessica Turner encourages readers to find what fills them up. That may be a book club, craft project, dinner out with friends, taking a nap or anything of the sort. The focus is very much centered on taking care of you. It is a self care book after all. Crazy Busy dives into the problem of busyness and some reasons we are busy. Kevin DeYoung really focuses on diagnosing the busyness so we can better deal with the busyness. Do More Better is doing what the subtitle claims to do, it is a practical guide to productivity. Tim Challies practically walks the reader through how to figure out what you are suppose to be doing and doing more better.
All three of these books have blessed me in some way and challenged me in others. As I am walking through Do More Better after reading the other two books I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Let me explain, Challies has the reader list their responsibilities, roles and to create mission statements for each role. I have been working through this over the course of a few days. As I was typing this up for my benefit I was struck by the reality that there is NO way I can do all that I am responsible for. ABSOLUTELY, NO WAY. I looked at the list and was struck by the reality that I was suppose to take care of myself, cultivate relationships within my four walls and outside of my four walls, manage my household, educate my children, and serve our local homeschool community. This exercise also showed me all the things I’m not doing that I should be doing. My natural inclination is to throw my hands up and run for my bed so I can pull the covers up over my head and pretend life is easy and there is no balancing act that is required. I often opt for blissful ignorance. But, by the grace of God, He shined light into what was about to become very dark.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12
Truth is what dispelled the darkness that was seeping into my mind. I am thankful that when we spend time in the Word we are making deposits into a deep well that we can draw from when we are weary. My flesh and the world wanted me to believe that I wasn’t enough and couldn’t measure up. Truth told me that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) and I was reminded that my identity was not found in what I was doing or was not doing but in Jesus Christ alone. When my flesh said “I cannot do this, I am not enough” Truth told me that I wasn’t suppose to be enough and my boast can only be found in my weakness because that is when Christ is made strong. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) After coming to the realization of who I am in Christ and that a weak vessel is what we are called to be I still wondered how I was going to get it all done. Again, Truth spoke life into my soul reminding me that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
As I saved the document I was working on my heart was full. It was full because the Holy Spirit breathed life into my dry bones. Self care, curbing busyness and productivity are all worthy endeavors within their right place. As I prayerfully move forward seeking to honor God with my endeavors and time, peace has quieted my anxious heart. That peace is found in knowing that God is working and I am a long for the ride. I am trusting the power of the Holy Spirit to continue to convict and change me so that my productivity is measured not by what I get done but on WHO I am getting it done for.