Pacing Your Productivity

Our 24 year old daughter, Lauren, is a blogger too; she posts with a group of women at http://sozowomen.com/. I thought I would share her latest post with you.

I have an addiction. It causes me to be on an emotional and energetic high, but when it is all said and done, at the end of the day, I am left exhausted and sitting in a big heap of unrest and heaviness.  It’s an addiction that comes in all forms, to all personalities, and all life stages.  For me, it has looked different in every season of life but somehow leaves me with the same end results.  Ok, I’ll just say it: I am addicted to productivity.  I am addicted to my to-do list, in how much and how well I can accomplish, do, create, become.

productivity pic

“That’s a great thing to be addicted to,” I hear others, “at least you get things done!” Well, no, I have realized that although productivity gives me a buzz in the moment, I can’t seek God at the same time.  This is where the challenge lies.  As I quiet my soul and take my mind off “to-doing”, I find a complete indirect correlation between my productivity addiction and those infamous words that Jesus whispers in my ear. They creep up in my heart and strike a chord—comforting, yet painful.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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 11:28-30, ESV

Don’t get me wrong, productivity is good. God loves it (have you read Proverbs 31, yikes!), but when it pulls us away from resting in Him, stealing our peace, we labor (toil, strive) and are heavy laden (burdened, weary). As I read those few verses above, I want to scream, “That’s me! He came for me! He understands!” He came for the weak, the heavy hearted, the one who doesn’t necessarily know how to “find” Him.

We are all on a journey to learn how to constantly hold Jesus’ hand as we walk throughout each day, to find Him in the secret place, to be whole and complete in Him.  Would you join me on this journey? I am going to use these 3 practicals to help me along:

  1. Slow Down.
  2. Pray over your to-do list and what the day holds.
  3. Every time you find yourself focusing on all you need “to do” or heavy situations in life, refocus your mind on Jesus and maybe find a verse (or this one above) to hold on to.

In what ways do you find yourself losing peace? In what ways do you learn to find peace in the midst of labor and busyness?

I'm thinking Lauren will get some help overcoming productivity when the baby arrives.

I’m thinking Lauren will get some help overcoming productivity when the baby arrives.

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on August 19, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 67 Comments.

  1. I, too, had an addiction to productivity while I was still a practicing attorney. God finally used health issues to stop me cold, and get my attention.

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  2. Those blasted lists controlling our lives. I’m surprised any of us are alive to crawl out from under the burden. I spent far too many years as a workaholic – eighty hours or more at the office each week (and with the government, no overtime as I was in a management). Now that I’m retired I learned after a few years that I had to let the lists go. I was going to live my life and the lists weren’t going to control me or who I am. Yes, I still jot down a note or two to help me remember something but all in all – the massive list no longer has me by the throat.

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  3. Such a great point to pray over your to-do list. I really liked your post.

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  4. George Hayward

    Your daughter wrote a great post! I had the same revelation last year! I was so busy with clubs, school, and my daily goals list (which I keep with me 24/7 and check constantly) that I realized: this is not the way to be spiritually fulfilled. Even though I depended on God more than ever to get me through the day, I didn’t spend enough time at peace in Him. If anything, I was frantic when I was with Him (or very sleepy). It’s a powerful lesson and I wish your daughter the best going forward!

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  5. Congratulations on the upcoming arrival!! Oh yeah, you’ll learn how to slow down once the baby arrives…either that or go nuts! (I have seven kids – I know that of which I speak!)

    \o/

    Great post by the way. Addicted to productivity – that’s a more honest perspective, methinks!

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  6. Great post! I completely relate and have to remind myself to be still and wait on God. . . . I love this: “I’m thinking Lauren will get some help overcoming productivity when the baby arrives.” As was the case for me 13 years ago. And God continues to use my three kids to help me overcome productivity. 🙂

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    • I am starting to get nervous with everyone saying that having children is going to change so much! I am going to have even more lessons to learn and more blogs to post once this baby comes 🙂

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  7. Thanks so much for sharing this post! Funny, just before I read, I pulled out my list and almost wrote down something I had just done … just so I could cross it off … yikes … I think I needed to hear this 🙂 blessings to you both!

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  8. Lauren, it appears that you have a heart for God and a gift for writing like your Dad does. Your parents have raised you well! The baby will help with learning to “be” rather than to always “do.” I know that I needed to learn this: I am still learning. Even now, when I hear the nudge to “rest,” I am so blessed when I heed the call. Our children never outgrow the need to see the example of Christ modeled in our daily walk.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

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    • Thank you for the kind and wise words, Wendy! “Resting” is hard for me as well, but I know it honors God so much when I actually listen, and I always feel refreshed and renewed!

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  9. Lauren, you are discovering advanced concepts of the maturing process in Christ! I, too, struggle with to-do lists that are self-generated, with little conscious effort to bring God into the process. Thank you for your wise advice to pray over the list and refocus on Jesus throughout the day.

    Bill. your heart must soar to see your beautiful, wise daughter being used by God!

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  10. Great post, it reminds me of Psalm 127

    “It is in vain that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
    eating the bread of anxious toil;
    for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

    For me, it is those “anxious thoughts…” – how is this going to happen, how am I going to pull this off. Maybe I should do more, knock on more doors, go the extra mile.

    While I am being pushed by these anxious thoughts, I sometimes forget that it is the Lord who makes things work. I sometimes fail to stop and rest in Him, by casting all my care upon him and getting out of the driver’s seat to let him take the steering wheel.

    If we could only remember that “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain,” we will save ourselves from eating the bread of anxious toil.

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    • Walter, guess what? I just read this psalm today! And God continues to bring it to my attention…like your comment above! He must really want me to get this psalm into ever nook of my heart, mind, life! Ha! You are so right: HE is the only one who does the work, but it is hard to see that when I am caught up in trying to make it all happen! Thank you so much for sharing the words of God’s heart! God bless you!

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  11. Thank you for this post. You described me perfectly. I’m always making to-do lists and putting the times that they need to be completed right next to each task! To make matters worse, I can’t say no to others when they ask me for help. And then I realized that I’m judging my self-worth based on my “productivity”. That’s when I realized that this is not what God wants for us. So I continue to pray about this and really work on resting in Him. Thanks again for this wonderful reminder.

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    • Yes, I agree and understand. We are all on a journey, and I have learned that saying “no” is sometimes more pleasing to God than being a “yes-man”. Psalm 16:6: (“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”) has helped me a lot in this area–asking God to show me my boundary lines in life. May God bless you!

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  12. Yes, to enter into His rest.
    Not “doing”, but “being” in His presence, in His will then the burdens and pressures of this world are carried by Him alone. Not I, but Christ.
    Mary, Martha… Mary, Martha… May we learn to choose the “better portion”.

    Thank you for this post.

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  13. Great post and wisdom!

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  14. Wow! Great post! I can fully relate to what Lauren wrote. I confess to sometimes being so “task-oriented” that I will get impatient with my husband and children. I’m trying to remember that my relationship with God, my husband, and children need to come first. Then I can depend on my Almighty God to help me accomplish His plan for my day! Thank you so much, Lauren, for sharing your heart! I just checked out the “sozowomen” blog. May you continue to encourage many women to fix their eyes on Christ!

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  15. This is wonderful! It truly spoke to me so thank you for that. Actually, I just got on to thank you for something and read a few more of your posts and am so glad I did!

    Wow Bill, I just read your testimony and what an honor it is to have you following my little blog!

    You are such an inspiration to so many. I have several followers who are of the same strong mental caliber as you are in your spiritual life and you all truly humble me. You will also join me along my daily walks with my cute little Lhasa each morning as I pray within that peaceful environment, for many of my blogging friends. In spite of their trials they uplift my soul with their can-do spirit and non-defeatist attitude. I am so grateful that you clicked onto my posts. Blessings my new friend,

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  16. How lovely Bill to share your daughter’s post here! Lauren, I know your dilemma so well! I was just like you when I was young – ha! – I find now that if I put each day in the Lord’s hands, even if all my plans go awry, then I can put my feelings of frustration aside, knowing that He had other ideas and I can be more peaceful about it! His burden is light indeed! I do, however, have to concur with your Dad’s comment above, things will change with the baby’s arrival, trust him on that 🙂

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    • Hi Sherri! Thank you for the reply and powerful wisdom and insight. It truly does come down to trusting Him and letting go, you are right. I will get there one day 🙂 …maybe sooner than I think due to this wiggly baby boy inside me!

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  17. I love this. What a timely reminder and something I can completely relate to! It’s so important that in everything, even our ‘to-do’ lists, we seek God, and that we put NOTHING before God.

    I’m so glad I read this, this morning, and God bless your daughter and her growing family!

    Blessings,

    Patricia

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  18. I can relate to this post. I think our self worth can often depend on all the things we accomplish. When you have a chronic illness like lupus it can seem like a constant push and pull emotionally . Thanks for sharing this post. She has some good points to share. Congratulations on being a grandfather in a few months.

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  19. Excellent post !! If we are graced with salvation, we must all find time every day for the Lord!!
    Blessings in Christ, bruce

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  20. Well written and needed by almost everyone. Music helps me slow down and focus on God. I recently made a CD of peace songs and use that to calm down and become aware of God. And then recognize that He doesn’t care nearly as much as I do about some of the things I get hung up on.

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    • Hi Eileen, thanks for the great advice. My days with worship music always seem to be more peaceful and focused. Great reminder. Putting in the headphones at the coffee shop as I work right now 😉

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  21. Yes, I think she may be in for an awakening when the baby arrives. What a great post! You must be so proud! I love practical help #2— Pray over your to-do list and what the day holds.

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  22. I’ve found in my own life that illness can be one way God has of refocusing our attention when we’ve become too pre-occupied for Him. This is not to suggest that God inflicts illness as a kind of “punishment” for productivity. Jesus valued Martha’s contribution. But Mary made the better choice by electing to spend time in His presence.

    Illness can, also, teach us humility (not a popular virtue in our culture). Surprisingly, God can get along without our urgent “To Do” Lists. He is after all God Almighty, at the helm; we are not, no matter how fast we row.

    Illness — as unwelcome as it may be — can demonstrate that our “To Do” Lists are superfluous. God does not want frantic days from us spent completing some “To Do” List. He wants a living relationship w/ us. He loves us because we are His children.

    A.

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  23. Congratulations! I’m sure she will.

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  24. This post is God’s Perfect timing.

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  25. “2.Pray over your to-do list and what the day holds.” Here’s the key. We make the plans but He directs our paths. I so relate to this, former teacher, mother, grandmother, wife, student, writer. But He is leading the way into learning to rest in Him. Sometimes it came through illness, other times it came through loss. Now being retired helps somewhat. I agree with ‘Unshakable Hope,’ the baby? will help. lol

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  26. I so identified with this post. Often, I’ve judged my days on how much I have gotten done, what tasks I was able to complete. I wonder, do I put too much emphasize on tasks? I’m going think and pray about this. Thanks!

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    • I do the same thing. Constantly. 😀 A quote that I read recently that I have been holding on to: “A leisurely pace accomplishes more than hurried striving.” It doesn’t make sense, but I pray as this journey continues, we will live more and more by it, resting in Him!

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  1. Pingback: “Pacing Your Productivity” 11/14/2014 by Lauren, Bill Sweeney’s daughter | God's group

  2. Pingback: Pacing Your Productivity | God's group

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