Part of the reason that my return to Tanzania and the intentional living community has been delayed is that I have struggled a lot with productivity. Of course, this is nothing new, but it has become more of an issue when I am working on a project this big.
On January 21st, Eric Soard and I talked for a couple hours about how to become more productive. Since then, I have been making a consistent effort at this. One of the most important lessons from this time has been that productivity is less a matter of getting more done, and more a matter of getting the right things done. It’s about making wise decisions about which things are most important and being willing to let the others fall by the wayside.
So now, before I start work each day, I decide 3 essential things that I need to do on this day (thanks to Michael Hyatt & Co. for this tip). Those normally aren’t the only 3 things I will do, but this focus forces me to make the hard decisions each day about which things are actually most important.
Before I choose the 3 things for each day, I read the following meditation from Henri Nouwen:
You are very concerned with making the right choices about your work. You have so many options that you are constantly overwhelmed by the question “What should I do and what should I not do?” You are asked to respond to many concrete needs. There are people to visit, people to receive, people to simply be with. There are issues that beg for attention, books it seems important to read, and works of art to be seen. But what of all this truly deserves your time?
Start by not allowing these people and issues to possess you. As long as you think that you need them to be yourself, you are not really free. Much of their urgency comes from your own need to be accepted and affirmed. You have to keep going back to the source: God’s love for you.
In many ways, you still want to set your own agenda. You act as if you have to choose among many things, which all seem equally important. But you have not fully surrendered yourself to God’s guidance. You keep fighting with God over who is in control.
Try to give your agenda to God. Keep saying, “Your will be done, not mine.” Give every part of your heart and your time to God and let God tell you what to do, where to go, when and how to respond. God does not want you to destroy yourself. Exhaustion, burnout, and depression are not signs that you are doing God’s will. God is gently and loving. God desires to give you a deep sense of safety in God’s love. Once you have allowed yourself to experience that love fully, you will be better able to discern who you are being sent to in God’s name.
It is not easy to give your agenda to God. But the more you do so, the more “clock time” becomes “God’s time,” and God’s time is always the fullness of time.
The title of the blog means “peace”. It’s hard to let some of these things fall by the wayside, but inner peace has been the result.