I am guilty of preparing to live rather than actually living in the moment. This is something God is unveiling before me this year, and it’s difficult to face.
I’ll give you an example. This year we were able to finally realize a backyard dream of erecting a pergola over our really long table in the back yard. After replacing our fence, the structure came together. We added lights, and we smiled when everything was finalized. Here’s a picture:
Isn’t it lovely? I’m so grateful.
But here’s the thing. Instead of reveling in its completion, I darted to another project. I didn’t ponder life under the pergola. I didn’t spend much time eating outside at these lovely tables. (Granted, COVID has meant that we couldn’t host people here, but still. I busied myself with something else.)
I’m a flitter.
I flit from task to task, never resting, never stopping to enjoy the experience. Instead, I curate pre-experiences. I enjoy the anticipation of creating something new, but I never stop to rest in the accomplishment.
I think it gets back to this fundamental belief in a lie.
The lie? I am what I produce. My worth is tied to what I do, what I accomplish. If I stop for a moment to engage in my in-the-moment life, I will be guilty of non-production. Better to keep preparing to live by working hard. To me? Sadly, non-production = worthlessness.
As I type these words, I shudder. I know they’re a lie. I know they’re wrong. But I can’t seem to STOP thinking this way. When your childhood teaches you something, you learn it way down deep. And untangling it is an exercise in unknotting tightly tangled knitting yarn.
Last week I read what Jesus said, and it stopped me. “This is the only work God wants from you: believe in the One he has sent.” (John 6:29). Our work? To believe. Exhale. Oh dear Jesus, help me make this shift!
There’s no clean resolution to this confession, other than maybe you’ve felt this way too, and we can commiserate? Do you keep up a frenetic pace in order to prove your worth? Do you feel worthless when you stop?
It’s hard for me to understand the love of God because it is untied to my production schedule. It’s wild that way–untamed and beautiful. It’s based on God’s creation of me, not my creation of a perfectly obedient life. There’s nothing I can do to alter it, nor is there anything I can do perfectly to earn it. God’s love simply is a fact.
So I keep reminding myself of this.
I make myself eat my oatmeal on my back patio in order to enjoy what’s been created. I pray that God’s love will become so tangible to me that I’ll finally jump off this works-treadmill and enjoy this beautiful life. I’m not there yet, but I see the shore. It’s pristine. It’s inviting. It’s beckoning.
My prayer is that I’ll at least put a toe in.