Productivity is the thief of joy*

I make this statement tongue in cheek but follow my logic here.

I say this because on one hand productivity is great. We were made to get stuff done, not lay around all time surfing Netflix and Instagram. On the other hand the constant need to be producing and getting stuff done can be a hinderance. Its a hinderance to rest, to enjoying the Sabbath, to enjoying your family and friends.

Last week was the first week in 6 months that I didn’t post at least one blog post. The work week I had was insane! Insane. I had a massive project that I needed to finish and I only had a week to get it done. So every night I was working late making sure everything was going to be complete by the deadline. It was! I finished with a little bit of time to spare. Unfortunately that spare time didn’t go to the blog. I need to celebrate the small win. Win: I set a goal back in June to post everyday and I was able to exceed that goal. That’s a good thing. I’m going to silence my inner critic. I’m going to give myself some grace for not meeting my goal this week and move on.

I talked about rest a few weeks ago. Toxic productivity knows nothing about rest. How often do you push yourself to get something done? How often do you feel that this thing just can’t wait? Do you enjoy your days off or are you rushing to complete to-do list items? A day off should be a day off. Even the Lord rested one day of the week and He certainly didn’t have to do.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:1-3

Being a creative and this concept of always producing, always putting out content, it makes the work more difficult. I want to make sure what I give to you is the best of me every time. Not perfect, but my best. That sometimes gets lost in translation, in trying to hit goals, deadlines, get more followers, sell more product or this urge to get stuff done.

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As we close to the end of the year think about this: Did you spend more time producing or enjoying? Is there a way to do both? Do you believe you get enough rest? If not, this is the time to make those adjustments so you can go in the new year with a new habit in place.

Its on your street

Have you ever heard this saying before? I have only heard it in the church setting, it essentially means when people around you are being blessed then your blessing can’t be too far away.

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Part of me believes that and part of me doesn’t. You all know I have known so many pregnant people in the last few years and I haven’t had a whiff of being pregnant. So I’m not sure. I was talking to someone at work and he reminded me of this concept.

He said I should be blessed to be around so many people who have the direct hand of God on their lives. I never thought about it that way. I guess I was looking at it from a victim perspective. Maybe not a victim but definitely selfish, like, look at all those people getting blessed and not me.

I know so many people, myself included who feel like when other people are being blessed that they need to “catch up”.

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How do you do that exactly? There really isn’t anyway you can do that. I used to think that whenever someone lapped me with a baby who hadn’t been married as long as I have, like sheesh I really need to get to work now, like that makes any difference. Not! Everything happens when it is supposed. We know that, its just easier said than done when you are in the midst.

I wrote those words a few years ago ironically a few months before I found out I was pregnant.

Now that I have had more time to think about it I do believe that its true. It’s God giving us another sign of Hope.

Its like he is saying hey I haven’t forgotten about you. I know its confusing to see people around you getting the things you want. Its confusing being happy for them and sad for yourself. You don’t have to stay in that space. You can look at it as God was just sending me a reminder that my turn is coming.

I’ve had that happen to me a few times. We have to trust God at his word. You’re waiting anyway so why not have a better mindset about it.

I know this way of thinking sounds bogus. Somebody else being blessed is supposed to make me happy when I’ve been waiting?

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It definitely works to shift your mindset. If you have to wait anyway, you might as well make the wait time as enjoyable as you can.

How to please God

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. Romans 14:17‭-‬18 NLT

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 NLT

When I was trying to get pregnant, my big thing was about how to please God. Clearly I must be doing something wrong if I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I tried to do everything right. Going to church, Sunday school, volunteering, tithing like crazy but nothing worked.

I took trying to please God and went to the extreme with it.

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Not good. That’s why I had to get to a place of beyond righteousness.

Pleasing God is not about not breaking rules or going to church every Sunday. Although God likes these things. More than anything He wants us to pursue him with our whole heart, trust and obey.

Obey isn’t just following rules, its more about trusting God’s plan for your life and believing that it is good. Its about not doing certain things because you know God wouldn’t want you to do them because they aren’t good for you. The things may not be bad, but they may not be good for YOU. Its deciding to follow God when you don’t like it or it doesn’t make sense. Without faith it’s impossible to please God. God wants us to take him at his word. If we don’t understand something ask him, he will explain…somewhat. I say somewhat because the biggest thing about faith is not having to have everything explained.

It happens naturally if you give it a chance. It also won’t feel awkward the more you do it. Just continue to work the cycle.

Hope

The word I am focusing on this week is hope. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

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I spent so much of my life waiting on things. I had to wait 7 years to get married. I had to wait 7 years to have a baby. I see now why I had to wait on those things but I certainly didn’t understand it at the time.

The bible talks a lot about hope. A few of my favorites:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:7

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

This Hebrew verse is one that I relied on a lot when I was trying to get pregnant. It talks about holding on to hope because he who promises is faithful.

I can remember month after month waiting on God and not knowing why it was taking so long. What did he want me to do? I would start on the downward spiral of losing hope. What if this never happens? Maybe I don’t deserve a baby.

Something would always stop me though. As bad as I felt I never stayed that far down for too long. I knew if I lost hope I would have nothing to cling to. There would be no where else to go.

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I felt like I couldn’t lose hope because I knew even though it had not happened yet that God could do it. I didn’t come by this feeling overnight. I did a lot of research. I asked God to take this desire away if he didn’t want me to have it. If it wasn’t in his will, then take it away because it hurt to bad to continue to be disappointed month after month.

Feeling like you are losing hope?

Ask God to grow your faith in the places of doubt. Have him show you in little ways how he has been faithful.

Make a list of all the things God has done for you this year.

Ask Him if your dream or desire needs to be tweaked.

Find verses about your situation in the bible to build your hope back up. There is nothing new in the world your situation is in there. I have written down so many verses about infertility and being a mother.

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Hope is powerful. It doesn’t have to be big. When you feel your hope fading just ask God to help you in your unbelief. He understands. He wants you to reach out. Anything is possible even if you only have a sliver of hope, hold on to it. Remember what God has done for you before and know that he can do even more than you could ever imagine.

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Resources

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/hope/

Constructive criticism

If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.
Proverbs 15:31 NLT

This is hard for me. I do it well in my work life but not in my personal life. I’m my own worst critic, so its hard to hear myself be criticized by other people. Often times they are just pointing out things that I already know I need to work on. I’m equal opportunity though. I don’t typically provide people with unsolicited constructive feedback either. I’ve always had a policy where I don’t say anything to people that I don’t want said to me. I’ve never seen this verse in the bible before. Reading it in a different translation definitely opened my eyes.

10 Funny Memes About How You Can GTFO With That Unsolicited Parenting Advice

We talked about self control with not engaging in conversations that aren’t healthy, however constructive feedback can be helpful.

The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.
Ecclesiastes 12:11 NLT

I think if nothing else the above verse reminds me that constructive feedback is there to make me better. The people around me love and only want to see me at my best. So if someone is at my house and comments on what my son is wearing or eating, or how clean my house is, its because they are really trying to be helpful. Their delivery or timing may not be great but that shouldn’t impact how I respond to them.

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Or if I respond at all. I can simply say thank you, I will take that into consideration.

Quotes about Giving unsolicited advice (23 quotes)

This meme was another great reminder. People just want to be helpful. I don’t have to take it as an attack on my parenting or wife skills. Maybe they could be trying to offer me words they wished someone would have said to them. The biggest takeaway is to remember that people intentions are good. Impact matters of course but I can show some grace as well.