This is the third month in a row that I’ve gone to Pennsylvania. The last two times I haven’t even taken my computer which is nearly unheard of for me. I know, crazy, right? Going on a whole six-hour car ride without working on writing is something that six months ago I would almost deem irresponsible. Life only has a certain amount of hours, and it’s imperative that we get the most out of those hours, right?
What I’ve been learning though, is that sometimes the most redeeming thing I can do is…nothing.
I’m in a constant state of tiredness, mostly due to health issues – but ever since last summer, I’ve been working at paying more attention to what I’m really doing, and what I’m really telling myself. And do you know what I tell myself? That I need to keep going, going, going until I crash. That if I don’t have a list of things I’ve accomplished at the end of the day, then I haven’t done enough. That I need to do everything possible to make the biggest difference possible, because yo, life is short.
As it turns out, all those things have some truth in them, but I’m an all or nothing type of girl, so I take them to extremes.
For years I’ve worked at finding my identity in Christ, and there are times that I’ve felt like I’m doing a fairly okay job of it, but I’ve never mastered it. It wasn’t until last year that I realized I put so much of my identity in my accomplishments. A breakthrough moment for me was when I realized that I was literally never satisfied with what I’d done unless I was too tired to get out of bed the next week. And so I began making changes. I began making myself have times of quiet and stillness. Instead of always lugging my computer around or pulling my phone out when I had two minutes of stillness, I’ve been learning to sit. To observe. To pray. To dwell on future possibilities, or indulge in a fond memory.
On the trip out to Pennsylvania instead of working, I did a lot of dancing with my best friend’s two-year-old, watched a movie on my phone, joked with my car companions, and just relaxed. On the way home I was with my sisters and spent most of the time conversing with them. (Older sister: “Riding with you is a really interesting experience, Lydia. I don’t think I’ve ever had a whole series of such weird topics in one conversation.”) It was good for me, and just what I needed at the moment.
I was scheduled to work at the coffee shop this morning but then didn’t have to after all. So, guess what? I was tired enough that despite a very early bedtime, I allowed myself to sleep in until 7:30. Yes, I had a list of things I needed to get done this morning, but once again, sometimes I’m learning that I do the most when I do nothing.
It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m determined to do the most with it that I can, and sometimes that means doing nothing at all. I want my life to count. To make a difference for eternity. And it will. Everything you, or me, or the bully next door, or the Queen of England does, everything makes an impact. Some for the better, some for the worse. And instead of cramming the most accomplishments I can into each moment, I want to fill my moments with God, and what God has for me. And some of what He has for me is accomplishments (oh, glory be!) but, I want to be just as happy and just as fulfilled when I can’t check things off my list. When I can’t celebrate another job perfectly carried out. When I can’t bask in my own well-carried-out and completed tasks.
Life isn’t all about doing. It’s not all about being. It’s not all about who we’ll become or where we came from. Life is an elusive mixture of so many things, and it won’t look the same for any two of us. Therefore, I want to make sure my life is spent doing what God has called me to do.
Sometimes He calls me to be still.
And I’m learning to take delight in stillness.