“I feel like I’ve spent too many days saying, “I did _____ and ______, but I didn’t finish this or that.” I almost always end my days declaring what I didn’t achieve. I begin my days making lists for what defines them. And often these lists and achievements are filled with things that may inevitably leave me empty or rob from me —- because they aren’t eternal.”
I sat down to read today…to spend time with the Lord. And once again I found myself drifting off in my mind, but without ease. A drill sergeant barking orders and planning the next attack: my strategy for achieving through the remainder of the day.
While the kids are asleep I will first clean the dishes, then make a grocery list and eat some lunch before they wake up. If I have time, I’ll read a book…but no maybe I should make the grocery list first, my husband can go while the kids sleep I will read a book and then later do the dishes. But when should I eat lunch? I’ll wait until dinner and just a snack while I finish dinner prep….
How exhausting. I haven’t even begun to tackle the “tasks” of my day because I’m not only tormenting myself with the most efficient schedule for achieving them, but I’m also wearing myself out when I’ve sat down to rest with the Lord. What a mess.
I come back down to Matthew 6 and again read the words,
This is why I tell you to never be worried about your life, for all that you need will be provided…..Look at all the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your Heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable than they? So, which of you by worrying could add anything to your life?
What am I “achieving” with my lists?
I am by nature an “Achiever” and “Strategic” individual. These are not bad qualities, they are strengths. They have their place and they are valuable in context. But I have begun to realize that while many people are addicted to media, food, alcohol, unhealthy relationships, you name it…I have been addicted to achieving.
For whatever reason, I’ve never felt like I’m doing enough, and often what I feel is done “enough” may not have been done good enough.
There have been moments when I’m creating lists (without ill-intent), but literally in resemblance to a cocaine addict. I’m sitting in the car, on the couch or in a restaurant and instead of pulling up social media (mind you, I’m “fasting” to “re-prioritize”), I whip out the lists (because there’s more than one) and begin furiously typing away and draining myself mentally and emotionally as I strain to be sure I’ve got it all in order.
If I have a moment of peace or quiet, those lists come out, I toggle between them and I cross examine each one to be sure that nothing is missing, nothing out of order, all in their right place…you get the picture.
What a nightmare! It’s literally an addiction. As a mom, as a person…achieving is the name of the game.
My friends, this is not the way we are intended to live. I sat and thought to myself in a quiet moment…Jesus, I don’t want to sit and offer my gaze, but then quickly be found looking away with an anxious heart.
I very simply in that moment said, “Why do I feel like I need to have ____ ready by this time?” I addressed each issue or area of concern as I needed to and let the Lord meet my needs. But then I addressed what has been a revolving problem.
The Lord will lead you to achieving.
What if I allowed the Lord to lead me moment by moment with His spirit? It says in Matthew 6, “all that you need will be provided”. He is an ever present God and moment by moment He will lead you. What you need will be there when you need it.
I remembered the verse that says He will make the crooked places straight. He will go before me and He will sanctify my day and my steps so that I don’t need to think ten steps ahead and do prep for days on end to see all the chips land alright.
He wants rest for me, and being addicted to achieving is not noble, it’s foolish.
If you think that by accomplishing everything on your to-do list for the day; giving your kids all the right snacks, checking off the “time with the Lord” box and … makes you Mom of the year or wife of the month, employee of the century, etc…you are sorely mistaken.
And the bottom line is this: Where is your value coming from?
I’ve been meditating a lot lately on the verse that’s also in Matthew 6,
Don’t keep hoarding for yourselves earthly treasures that can be stolen by thieves. Material wealth eventually rusts, decays, and loses its value. Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay or lose their value. For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure.
That verse has been hitting me hard on all sides for a while now. I love the way the Passion translation uses the word “hoarding” for yourselves earthly treasures. It so accurately describes it as a gross habit. And “stockpile” heavenly treasures for yourselves.
In lieu of this verse I am constantly asking myself these days, “Where is your heart, Jade? Where is your treasure?” How I spend my time, where I spend my thoughts…my money…the list goes on.
But the overflow of your heart determines the course of your life. And there’s an anecdote for unhealthy list making. For addictive or unnecessary mental and emotional strain, there is hope.
Trust in Jesus
Peace is available and freedom is present with you if you will just rest and cease from striving. Trust that the Spirit of God will lead you, that He knows what you have need of before you ask.
And that most importantly: if you spend the best of who you are and what you have to look at Jesus, and let go of control, every moment of your life will be fruitful from the fullest and healthiest places of your heart because you have been faithful.
If you’re resting and just trusting, all the outcomes are working in your favor because your heart is set right and the Lord is your God. There had to have been reason that Job could continue on in the worst of life’s curve balls.
“A worker is worth his wages.” And the work of Jesus paid the price for you to be free. Everything you need to “achieve” is found in Him. All the other stuff, the in between and non-eternal, it can wait.
Thank You Lord for freeing me from the addiction to achieve. Giving me rest and confidence that the other stuff can wait. And that what’s most important to you is my heart, and that directs my life and determines my reward.
Thank you Lord that you go before me every day and make the crooked places straight. Thank You that you do that for all of your kids and give us the wisdom and understanding to make lists when we need them and wing it the rest of the time.
Help us seek first Your kingdom, seeing that everything else is added.
Spend less time “achieving” and more time laughing, laughing over tomorrow and all that you’ll achieve inside of it.