Productivity feels good!
Now I know that most people don’t generally enjoy the idea of work… especially when it comes to tedious tasks like vacuuming the house, mowing the lawn, or in my husband’s case, figuring out how to put away the clean Tupperware containers when emptying the dishwasher! But regardless of how you feel about work, one thing is hard to argue: when it comes time to step back and admire a job well done, you feel like a million bucks!
Today I am sitting at home, enjoying my first real day off in about two weeks. This has been one of the busiest, most exhausting seasons of work I’ve ever experienced… and yet, today I don’t feel drained. Today I don’t feel like I need to lay around in bed all day to recuperate. Today I actually feel energized. I feel amped! I feel satisfied, and gratified, and thankful for everything that I have been able to accomplish over the past few weeks, leading up to what was an amazing kick-off weekend at First Baptist Church (where I work).
Yesterday I spent nearly 8 hours cleaning and reorganizing my office after the whirlwind of activity that has taken place in there recently. But I don’t resent that. The mess represented a whole lot of incredible work that was accomplished, and cleaning it up kind of felt like putting my final stamp of approval on all that I have been working towards lately. In my mind, those were hours well-spent—hours that will set me up for a more successful week and give me the chance to start fresh when I head back in to work tomorrow.
Today I intend to spend a decent chunk of time cleaning up the mess that has accumulated in my house over the past few weeks as we came and went in a non-stop flurry of activity. And I don’t resent that either. Sometimes, when life is crazy, houses get messy. And sometimes you just don’t have time to clean! And that’s okay… because sometimes it’s okay to prioritize other things over housework!
I’m excited for life to even out a little bit and to get back to a more normal pace. I am excited that the past couple weeks are behind me and that I can start establishing a more healthy routine again. But I think the thing that I am most excited about is that my mood is positive and my mind is clear.
Last year at this time, I felt like I was losing my brain. I was an emotional train wreck and my anxiety was completely out of control. But right now, even after two exceedingly demanding, exhausting, and pressure-filled weeks, I feel alive. And I don’t just mean that I feel human. But I feel that I have actually received life from the work I poured my heart and soul into. And I think that maybe that’s an important part of what life is all about. Finding something that gives your life meaning, and doing it with all you’ve got.
Why? Because productivity feels good. Just listen to the words of Proverbs 13:4—“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (ESV). Laziness is a killer. Personally, I know that the lazier I choose to be in life, the more depressed I become. And the more depressed I become, the more I will feel like being lazy. It becomes a vicious cycle.
But productivity, on the other hand, richly supplies life to my soul. It’s a God-given gift that when you work hard, you get to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done. Probably this has something to do with attitude. And, of course, I’m not advocating that anyone should keep the kind of pace that I’ve been working at recently for very long at all! Nor am I suggesting that it’s not good to take some time off to rest either!
Rather, I’m simply appreciating the fact that I feel healthy and stable enough to enjoy the fruits of my labor in a way that I couldn’t have one year ago. For me, that is uncanny progress, and I am so extremely thankful! And not only that, but I’m taking the time to reflect on something very important that I have learned over the past two weeks:
Sometimes your mess has meaning.
I have created a lot of messes recently. And it has been impossible to keep up with them all. But I can embrace that because of what those messes have represented. Not just hard work. Not just tasks accomplished. But fulfillment, purpose, and joy. So my encouragement to you is this:
Next time you are looking at a mess in your life… take a moment to look beyond the impending doom of the workload you’re faced with, and think about what that mess represents. Maybe it represents a beautiful baby, recently brought into this world, whose precious life is occupying your every waking moment. Maybe it represents a child, or a parent, or a friend who is going through something really hard right now and needs your time and attention to help them navigate through the darkness. Maybe it represents a busy ministry season that is working you to the bone, but allowing hundreds of people to have the opportunity to be exposed to the message of hope that you want them to hear.
Whatever it represents, don’t forget that there is meaning there. There is life there in your mess. So don’t resent having to clean it up. Because that mess was there for a reason.
And at the end of the day, cleaning it up can feel really good!