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.

@thenapministry Instagram

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.

Happy Thanksgiving

We talked about being grateful earlier in the month and here is the big day to focus on what you are thankful for.

I challenge you to think of three things a day you are thankful for next month. We shouldn’t only focus on our thanks in November or on Thanksgiving but really all year round. I know things are hard as we are into our 8 month dealing with Covid here in the US. If you were like me, you never would have thought we would be going into the end of the year dealing with this with no end in sight.

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Too often we focus on what do not have, instead of all the things we do have. This Thanksgiving may not be like it was last year, but you are here to celebrate. That counts for something.

Three things I am thankful for today:
1. I still have a job

2. I was able to travel despite most things being shut down

3. No one in my immediate circle of family and friends have Covid.

15 Bible Verses on Thankfulness

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.

Self control

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 NLT

The word I am focusing on this week is self control. As we are getting close to holiday season it made sense for me to focus on self control. The biggest area I need to focus on is my mouth, not just what I put into it but what comes out of it. The delicious food is going to be tempting me as well as the conversations that are being had. Being around family can make self control difficult, sometimes being around the people we love can get under our skin and make us eat or say things we would not normally eat or say.

How is your self control? I am not really an impulsive person so I didn’t think I had a self control issue. As I am trying to eat healthy and truly make a lifestyle change I noticed my self control needs some work. Portion control for me is a definitely a problem. Now I am going to give myself a little slack on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will feel better about that slack though if I tighten up my eating habits on a regular basis. I certainly don’t follow the national guidelines.

Healthy Eating Plate

I heap food on my plate and almost always go back for seconds unless its something healthy. I thoroughly enjoy the taste of food and have a hard time telling myself no when it comes to food. They don’t call it comfort food for no reason. I spend more money on food then I do on most things. I am not sure why that is. It’s like a little crack and once I open up the floodgates I can’t stop.

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Self control with my mouth isn’t much better. Having to always be right is a problem as well as getting the last word. I have gotten better but it is still a problem. Why do I have to be right all the time? I honestly don’t know. It is so hard to hear somebody make a blanket statement and not respond to it. Like, all men do (insert whatever stereotype you want) and it makes me so mad. Or hear someone say something I don’t agree with in general. Or when someone says something I know is not right. Do I have to correct them? What do I get out of these debates? Nothing. What difference does it make what they think? In the grand scheme of things, none. I am probably not going to change their minds and it’s only going to make me upset.

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Oddly enough, controlling what comes out of my mouth is easier for me than what goes into it. I am only trying to engage in conversations that help me grow, make me think differently, and change my thought process. I need to have this same thought process about food. Its hard though because food is SO good. If I want to be the best version of myself, I know I need to work on it. My next goal is consistent exercise. We’ll work on that in 2021, lol.

Letting go of what doesn’t serve me

I was listening to a podcast the other day, The Suga. Its a podcast for black moms but most of the conversations I think would be relevant for any woman. One of the thing the host said that really struck me was, “I’m letting go of things that don’t serve me.”

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I felt that in my bones, but its easier said that done. I have been working really hard on making sure I am doing things because I want to and not out of some weird obligation that I put on myself. Some days I am successful at it and other days I am not.

I really wanted to dive deeper into this concept. I have talked about this process a little in the post Unlearning. Unlearning is all about letting go of thought processes go that no longer serve you. I feel like this is the next step in that process. Letting go of activities that no longer serve me. This to me is harder because in unlearning you can immediately see the benefit and it impacts nobody but yourself. I don’t want to appear selfish by saying no or not helping at some function or attending some event.

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I have to remind myself that self care is not selfish and letting go of things that don’t serve me is only going to help me feel better.

How do know that something no longer serves you?

How do you feel when you leave that event?

How do you feel when you complete that activity?

If you don’t feel like you gained anything then it may be time to do something else. By gained I mean, do you feel full? Fulfilled? Satisfied?

Or is it just something to check off your list?

Are these (whatever your thing/s is) pouring into you?

When I was dealing with FOMO, I said I was only going to pour into people who poured into me. It helped me a great deal in dealing with missing out on activities or feeling like I needed to be invited somewhere. I am going to start applying that same philosophy to my calendar as well.

Another good reminder that I got from the Joyce Meyer book I just finished was, just because this thing I am doing is great, doesn’t mean that it is great for me. I have to learn to let go.

Resources

This guided mediation was pretty cool. I didn’t use everything they said, but they were definitely some great takeaways.

Rest

The word I am focusing on this week is Rest. I have not been doing a lot of it and its starting to catch up with me. I’m not usually person that needs to be told to take a break. I love relaxing! Most of my favorite activities involve sitting down, lol.

Lately though, I have been cramming my schedule to the max because it FEELS like we have more time because we are spending it at home. It’s true but sometimes more time at home, needs to just be more time at home.

I thought I had Covid a few weeks ago, not because I had been coughing, or had a fever or sore throat but because I was tired. Tieeeeeed.

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I know that one of the symptoms is fatigue so I’m like oh no, the other stuff is about to start, but it never did. I don’t have Covid, I need to rest. Not just physically rest but mentally rest.

Sankalpa Life: How to Rest When You Feel Like You Should be Busy
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I like this list I found online. I schedule a lot of things in my life, I appreciate a good list. However I have never scheduled rest time, I don’t have a day scheduled for just me. I schedule days to hang with friends, date nights with my husband, but not for myself. I need to fix that asap. One of my friends reads the blog and started having Self Care Sunday based on what she read here. Her kids even have been doing Self Care Fridays. Clearly I haven’t been taking my own advice.

I also need to uncommit to some activities but I don’t want to do it.

The reason why I dont want to cut anything that I have been doing is because I hate FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT). I’ve talked about it here before, I have gotten much better with it, but it still lingers from time to time.

From Fear to Joy of Missing Out: FoMo VS YoMo - Youth Time Magazine
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JOMO is a concept I had never heard of but it makes a lot of sense. Its the JOY OF MISSING OUT. Filling content with staying in and disconnecting as a form of self care.

I’m bad as a kid thinking I am going to miss something. I’m letting it go though because I am not giving all the things on my calendar 100%. I’m just rushing from one thing to the next. I need to be a whole person to take care of my son, to be a good wife, to be the best version of myself.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[a] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 29-30

I should have done it sooner, but better late than never. Its never too late to make yourself a priority.

Choosing Joy

Joyce Meyer says, try not to be ruled by your emotions. Easier said than done of course, but absolutely necessary. There is nothing worse then going up and down based on how you feel. I feel like I am a pretty rational person and I have this problem all the time. I think about my feelings instead of what is happening at the time.

Its easy to say not to be ruled by your emotions when everything is going well, when you are hearing from God and he is answering your prayers. Just the other day I woke up and I felt nothing, I was confused and reading the bible didn’t help. I tried to pray and I didn’t feel the calm and peace I usually do after prayer. I wondered if God was testing me in some way, because people always say God doesn’t speak to you during the test. I tried to meditate on some verses but nothing was coming to mind to address how I felt. I didn’t know what to do.

I decided to make a list of all the things I was grateful for; my husband, my job, friends and family. I got specific with it, not just generically thanking God but really praising him for the awesome things he has done for me and I started to feel better. I was surprised. It seems so bogus, like how is this list supposed to make me feel better but it did. Running through that list helped me put some things in perspective. That gratitude list reminded me that things in my life were not that bad and they could always be worse. The more I wake up in a odd mood or down on myself I take a second to remember that our feelings are not real.

Don’t trust your feelings because your feelings can lie. Feelings don’t always convey the word of God or how true He is. People tell you to trust your heart, don’t do it. Trust God. When you need to press on because you don’t want to get out of bed, tap into the word. I had many days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I did anyway. I made sure to have a few minutes of quiet time with God. Time allotted would be 15 minutes, sometimes more, sometimes less. I would always get a scripture that would help me along.

As I have been trying to tap more into my emotions and not hide in books or recreational activities, the more I am trying not to be ruled by my emotions. I have also made sure to look up scriptures about feelings, emotions and love, because I didn’t want to get caught in a spot again where I couldn’t remember any scriptures. I have been reading a plan in the Bible app, called Love God Greatly-You are Loved. I have been writing a lot of those scriptures down so that I can recall them later. Being reminded of the love God has for me, helps me with my doubt, indecision, anxiety, etc. The more I get to know who He is, the more I trust him, the less stock I put in how I feel. There is no one way to not get caught up in your feelings, sometimes you have to try a bevy of different ways to change your mood, but you can do it.

Books to Read

Get out of your head-Jennie Allen

Living beyond your feelings-Joyce Meyer

October wrap up

Words we focused on this month were

blameless

righteous

free

These are all good concepts to think about, to put into practice week by week. God wants all of us, any way he can get us and putting pressure on ourselves is only hurting us. God is not condemning you, he wants you to be free and seek to have relationship with him.

We talked about do we need to say anything and is the Proverbs 31 woman still relevant?

We also were reminded that comparison is the thief of joy and how to start putting feet on your prayers.

I won a Blogger award!

As we enter the last two months of the year remember, you still have time to do whatever it is you want to do. You just have to get out of your own way.

I am so glad today is October 31. That means Thanksgiving is on its way and we can move right into Christmas. Happy Halloween!

How to get out of your own way

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT https://bible.com/verse-of-the-day/2ti.1.7/17250

@marcinevin Twitter

When I look at this list I see a lot of things that I have done in the past or still continue to do. Do you see anything that you do?

Do you want to be better disciplined? Ask God to help. He gave self discipline to us as a gift when he gave us the Holy Spirit. Its inside of us waiting to be used, we just have to ask. Everything you need to be great is already within you.

I think all the things on this list boil down to Fear. Fear gets me every time. I’ll have an idea that I like but I will scared that it will fail, that people won’t like it, that its not good enough. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. He tells us all the time to that he will be with us. If he is with us what do we have to be scared about? I’m sure you see all the time, do it afraid. My girl (in my head) Joyce Meyer, just wrote a book called Do it Afraid. I haven’t read it, but I’m sure its good. lol

That’s how you get out of your own way. Do it anyway. Stop trying to be in control of every moment. Stop thinking of the worst possible outcomes. Start thinking of all the things that could go right. Reward yourself along the way. Don’t stop just because it gets hard. If you get off track, get back on. Its never to late to start over, change your mind, switch it up. Be kind to yourself.

These are the things we have to do if we really want to tap into our greatness. We can’t do it on our own. You can’t stop years of wrong thinking by deciding to just start thinking more positively. We have to ask God to help us. To walk beside us. We need to tell him I’m ready. I’m ready for the challenge, I’m ready for the pain. I’m ready for whatever you want to give me, however you want to stretch me until I’m operating at my best capacity. Until I am doing what you called me to do.

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Prayer

Lord, You died for me to live life to the full. Your children shouldn’t have imposter syndrome we are daughters/sons of a king. Everything I need to be great you equipped me to do. Because you love me. You decided what you wanted me to do before I was born and then put together the entire thing while I was still in my mothers womb. Help me get out of my own way. Help me water the seeds of greatness you already planted inside me. Help me stay steadfast and rely on you, not on me. In Jesus name. Amen


Resources

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/tired-of-self-sabotage-how-to-get-out-of-your-own-way/ https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-ways-get-out-your-own-way-and-get-things-done.html https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-finesse/202006/how-recognize-and-defuse-self-sabotage