A guest blog by Dyane Ford
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”—Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV)
An important part of leading a productive life is the ability to set and accomplish goals. Doing this successfully is what gets us from point A to point Z, and it’s the difference between having a dream and actually accomplishing that dream. We make lists and timelines and consult them to make sure we’re on track, and these tools are useful for measuring our productivity and success.
Ultimately, for goal-driven people, accomplishing goals gives meaning and purpose to the sacrifices made during the course of seeing them come to fruition.
But what happens when the drive to produce or to work spirals out of control?
Busyness: A Blessing or a Curse?
For me, personally, the past year has been a whirlwind of activity: completing my adult fantasy trilogy last March and launching the Christian Creative Nexus, Focus Writing Services, and the Lost Pen Magazine were big undertakings that involved a myriad of smaller tasks and crazy amounts of organization. Sometimes, I was so busy I struggled to balance my priorities and to not let my projects interfere with my family and day job. It was tough.
As God answered my cries for help, I came to understand something important about myself, something that saved my mental health and my relationships: I am a project-driven person. But working, producing, and creating—getting caught up in the rush of energy and activity—can sometimes become so intense that I come to feel it’s impossible to be productive without them.
In other words, having nothing to focus on and to throw their energy into can lead goal-driven people to feel like they’re stagnating. Wasting time. Twiddling their thumbs while they stress about all the things they feel they should be doing. The urge to “do something” pushes them toward busyness—the action of seeking “filler” activities to fill the void, which is ultimately unproductive and, potentially, destructive.
The Solution to Busyness
Rest is important. Few things feel better after having accomplished a major project than the moments immediately afterwards when we can finally relax. But, if you’re like me, you probably find yourself quickly getting restless and asking, “Okay, Lord. What’s next?”
Waiting on God is hard. If you’re like me and struggle with anxiety, having projects into which that nervous energy can be redirected is important. But we also have to learn to trust God with our emotions and thoughts, just as much as we have to trust Him with our projects and our time. We have to be able to discern when it is time for activity and when it is time to rest (Ecclesiastes 3). We have to learn to let go and trust that God has everything under control.
One morning as I drove into work, I had to repent of not fully embracing the period of rest God imposed on me. See, after finishing the first issue of the Lost Pen, He told me: “Await further instructions.” The words were so clear they woke me out of a dead sleep.
They also filled me with both joy (at the promise that God is working something out on my behalf) and frustration (at the knowledge that something is coming but not knowing what it is or when it will happen).
I know God has been working to reshape my thinking and beliefs about what it means to serve Him. That includes accepting that He is in control of my writing and editing ministry. It’s tough, but I am working on wrestling the “control freak” inside me to the ground. I’m learning to accept that I don’t have all the answers and that I don’t need to have all the answers. Trusting God and simply following His lead by putting one foot in front of the other is enough: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
I believe that God wants us to be productive, but not to the point of overextending ourselves. I believe that He imposes times of rest to protect us. Think about it. Rates of anxiety, burnout, and stress are off the charts at the moment. We are running ourselves ragged trying to keep up with life, friends, strangers on social media, our jobs and family life, expectations ... the list goes on. When does it end?
What is driving you? Can you trust God to help you learn to rest?
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”—Romans 12: 2 (NIV)
Dyane Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and words in general. She is a self-published author (Rise of the Papilion trilogy), founder of the Lost Pen Magazine, as well as a freelance writer and editor. As an editor, Forde’s goal is for the process to be enjoyable and informative, which ultimately enables writers to produce their best work. In addition to writing and editing, Forde is a social worker. She lives in Montreal with her family and pets, and spends her free time maintaining her Japanese-language Duolingo streak. Find her at the following links:
- Amazon: http://bit.ly/AuthorDForde
- Facebook: http://bit.ly/FacebookFWS
- Instagram: http://bit.ly/InstagramCCN
- LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/InstagramCCN
- Lost Pen Magazine: featuring God-centred pieces from international creatives seeking to glorify the Master Creator. http://bit.ly/LostPenMag1
- Focus Writing Services features Forde's freelance writing and editing services, books, stories, and articles. Visit at: www.fordewriting.com
- Christian Creative Nexus website: http://bit.ly/CCNPage