Girl, Interrupted

I pride myself in efficiency and productivity. Multitasking is a game for me. Squats and calf-raises while putting on make-up. Listening to books while folding laundry. Catching up on emails at stop lights (don’t worry, not while in motion). My daily need-to-do list is long. My want-to-do list is even longer. Yet, most days I find a way to get it all done.

But at what expense?

Be wise in the way you act towards others; make the most of every opportunity. – Colossians 4:5

I’ve recently felt challenged to slow down. If I’m being honest, a large part of that challenge has come as a natural result of having a kid with no lower legs in the house. But however it was presented, I took it.

Upon checking out at the grocery store recently, I realized after about 5 minutes of waiting I had chosen the wrong lane. It was being run by a flustered new employee. But instead of jumping ship like I normally would have, I stayed and offered a smile and grace to her as I helped her find the produce numbers for my bananas and avocados.

While out weeding our yard last week, I pulled no more than about 7 weeds in an hour because I took time to chat with not 1, not 2, but 3 neighbors. Normally I’d have sunglasses on and headphones in, but not this time. As a result, I got to know a few people a little bit better.

When we recently had a subcontractor come to our house, rather than going about my own business while she did hers, I joined her and had a conversation. I learned that both her parents were currently in the hospital with stage 4 cancer. I was able to empathize and offer comfort.

God gives us all sorts of opportunities throughout a 24-hour period to be his hands and feet. But if we don’t slow down, we miss them. I’m learning to see that busyness can be a stumbling block rather than a badge of honor. Rather than equating productivity with my worth, I’m choosing to see others as worthy. Because seeing people is more important than seeing past them.

Prayer: Thank you for slowing me down. Help me to see others as you see them. Allow me to make the most of every opportunity. And if you wouldn’t mind, slow the growth of weeds in our yard.

The greatest gift you can give someone is your time, because when you give your time you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.

 

Martha, Martha, Martha!

 

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 38:41-42

I remember reading this story for the first time (and several times there after), sympathizing with Martha’s complaint. Mary was being a free-loader! They had an important guest and the meal needed to be perfect. To leave her sister to bear the burden of the preparation alone seemed an enormous injustice.

Confession: I am an amazing Do-er and a terrible Be-er. If my feet aren’t moving, my hands not working, my mind not thinking, I feel unproductive and insufficient. Most of the tasks I’m DOing are not bad in and of themselves – cooking (like Martha), cleaning, running errands, driving kids. However, when they are crammed together one right after the next, leaving no time for rest, prayer, or reflection, I lose my focus on God and all pursuits become hollow.

Mary saw what was right in front of her and mindfully ignored the nonessential happenings that surrounded her. She kept the main the main thing. How would our calendars differ this year if we sought God first?

Prayer: Please take over my schedule this week. Show me where I should be DOing less and BEing more with you.

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. – Stephen Covey

(Many thanks to the poor middle child, Jan Brady, for the inspiration for today’s title)