On only my second visit, a therapist mentioned to me that she could tell I was driven. She noticed this by checking my pulse and by my answers to her random questions that I have a hard time relaxing. She said that my “blood doesn’t rest.” She included that I’m like a restless horse who lies down to rest but is up within a few hours due to an active brain. Although I can agree that it is a fair assessment, I chose to give her grace for this comparison.
Her observation of my propensity for intensity is nothing new to me but it was enlightening (and perhaps a bit creepy) that someone who barely knew me could gather such insight.
I am driven. I am a doer. I am always working through a list, either written or in my head.
In my younger years, I would carry around my list as if it were the Ten Commandments spoken in God’s audible voice and carved in stone. Woe be it to anyone who stood in my way of crossing off a line item for this was my very life and breath. A check mark to me was hard evidence that my life had value, that I was contributing something worthwhile.
However, in my maturity (yes that’s a nice way of saying “older”), I spend much less time getting worked up over a list and much more time working on my relationships. I strive to find a healthy balance between a Martha-like head and a Mary-like heart. (Luke 10:38-42)
Productivity, as I once believed, isn’t necessarily adding value to our lives. All too often, productivity can subtract value by distracting us from the life God desires us to live. For me, being busy was driven by purely selfish motives.
I adopted a life phrase a few years ago, “people over productivity”. It was a mantra in the beginning to reconnect my heart to my brain and help me to slow down but over the years has become more of a lifestyle. Living out a love for people to show they are valued over my drive to be productive and prove my worth has come much easier through years of focused persistence and prayer.
I am still driven. I am still a doer and I still always have a list to work through. But my list no longer holds more value than the people I spend time with.
While busyness is at times driven by selfish motives, expressing gratitude will always be a measure of unselfishness. When we have a thankful mindset, we are looking outside of our busy lives and “to do” lists. We are turning our hearts inside out. Being thankful enables us to see what is going on around us rather than the chaos that is spinning around inside our heads.
Sure, we can be thankful even when we’re busy but something holy happens when our spirit stills and we take time to really notice God’s gifts all around us. When we slow our pace and breathe in God’s goodness, our gratitude becomes a life-giving offering.
When this holiday season passes, that list, whether completed or not, will be set aside along with the leftover-stuffed Tupperware. My hope is that we will slow down long enough to be thankful for the feast that God sets before us.
Allow me to start off our “to do” list for today:
- Slow down.
- Be thankful.
Now you take it from here.
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
In what specific areas could you choose to slow down today?
How would slowing down help you be more thankful?
What difference would it make in your life and in the lives of those you love?
Lord, may the love I show to others in this busy season come from the overflow of the love you show to me. I ask for your Holy Spirit to still my pace so that I might devote every part of my day to you with a thankful heart. Amen
Andrea Stunz is a committed wife, an incredibly blessed mom, a grateful mother-in-law and a ridiculously proud Gimi. She is a seasoned traveler from south Texas. Having visited countries all over the globe and lived in Brazil, Singapore and the UK, she finds hope and comfort in a beautiful sunrise and a good cup of coffee. Andrea is a self-proclaimed stumbling pilgrim who is ever so grateful for grace. She longs to encourage others in their stories by sharing a part of hers because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more of her work over at www.emptyplatefullheart.com and www.notherhood.com.
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