Friday, February 28, 2014

Balancing Slow

Yesterday, I ended with this question:

How do I reconcile productivity and slowing?

And, as I pondered that - God brought it to mind to go back to Genesis and read the Creation account. Here it is if you want to go read it right now: Genesis 1:1-2:3.

Let's face it: as women - wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend and more - we have a lot to do. We also have a lot more we could do and we must learn to prioritize and balance what we need to get done vs. what we want to get done.

I'm so thankful that we have God's Word and a beautiful example before us in God Himself and in His Son Jesus for how we can balance slow and productivity. Today, I'm looking at God the Father through the lens of Creation.

Lessons learned from God:

* He took time to enjoy and appreciate what He accomplished each day. At the end of every day, He paused and reminded us what He had created that day and said it was good. I don't know about you - but I am notorious for moving on to the next thing{s} without appreciating the satisfaction of completing the thing{s} before. This is the downside of always working ahead - I'm always thinking to what I need to do next so that as soon as I finish one thing, I know what to move on to.

* He was under committed each day, He worked under His potential. God modeled for us how to choose one or two things to focus on each day. The thing is that if He wanted to - He could've created the entire world into existence in less than a fraction of the blink of an eye. But, He did not. He went about it methodically, slowly, with balance and moderation. Oh, what I could learn from that. I've talked recently about being under committed - God was not looking to maximize every productive waking moment of every single day. He chose to focus on one or two things, do them well and with excellence and then enjoy the accomplishment and reflection of a job well done.

* He modeled rest. Not only did He fill each day with a mile long list of tasks to finish and no time to take a breath, He is the author of the very first Slow Day: the Sabbath. We observe the Sabbath in our home, but also an additional Slow Day where we definitely do work, but also strive to bring the pace down, expect less in terms of productivity and worship God throughout. I think He also modeled rest by not filling every day to maximum capacity. And, by creating evening and morning - different times of day for different needs.

* Did not model multi-tasking. As already mentioned above {but worth mentioning again!} God did not model cramming tasks together and emphasize huge amounts of productivity, but chose one or two things to focus on for each day. How would this transform my life if I focused on a few quality things: my walk with God, schooling my children, family and a moderate amount of maintaining our home.

* Finish. God modeled for us how to stick with that one thing until it is finished rather than flit from thing to thing never really finishing anything. I know you've all been there - you get up to go put your glass away in the kitchen. On the way, you see a sock that needs to go in the dirty clothes - so you deliver that. While in that area, you see a shelf that needs organizing or towels that are not folded neatly so you stop and take care of that. Next, the phone rings, a child asks for something or someone comes to the door or even all of those things at once and you are still carrying your glass around who knows how much later. Are you smiling out of identifying with that?! One time when my Mom was here, we were talking about how hard it is to get things done in the season of life with young children. She observed that I had trouble finishing one thing and had multiple things going at once. I have really tried to take this to heart and finish one thing before starting another - it is hard to do but it is worth the effort of attempting to make it more and more of a habit.

* Worked with an end goal in mind and worked toward that in daily sized chunks. I love also that God had a beautiful end result in mind when He began His work of creating the world. He knew there would be trees, flowers, animals, people, seasons, planets and more. Then, He methodically worked through the days in a chosen order until the desired results were accomplished. This is a good reminder for me to consider what my end goals are and how my daily investments of time and energy are contributing.

I feel like the more I look in God's Word the more examples I will find of balancing slow and productivity. This is just the first place I've looked so far. And, there is so much to glean.

To sum it up, God sets a beautiful example of not cramming every day to the full. He shows me how to balance productivity and slow, how to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and leave room for His opportunities that arise each day. He models being under committed and savoring the gift of rest.

What one thing will you take from God's example and begin to prayerfully implement into your slowing?