Monday, 28 November 2016

The [Not] To-Do List

I'm normally a big advocate of lists, but right now I'm glorying in the fact that some things are not for today. Profitable things, things that arguably 'should' get done - like dishes, showering, replying to that text. It's always tempting to try and squeeze just one more thing in. But here's the thing I'm realising more forcefully everyday:

How I do things is so much more important than whether or not they get done.

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 
so that you may become blameless and pure, 
'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation'. 
Then you will shine... like stars in the sky..." 
Philippians 2v14-15

If I can't meet that standard, if what I'm about to do is actively going to undermine my attitude and joie de vivre, it's really not worth attempting. There is no point taking on that extra chore or that little unasked for act of kindness if it tips me over the edge. As productive and near perfect as achieving that extra goal might make me seem, it's entirely worthless if the upshot of expending that energy is a sense of depletion and resentment for all the little things that have chipped away at my resources.

There is enough for today. My daily bread has been given to me. When that stops feeling true, that's when I know I need to refocus. That's when I know I need to stop running around trying to 'do' and spend a little time just being. Being comfortable in my own skin. Being at rest with the God who daily carries our burdens and who, with characteristically dark humour, assures us it's pointless taking on more than a day's worth of trouble. Being at play in this great adventure of life that is interesting and challenging and anything but mundane. Being at peace with the chaos, the disordered and the unresolved.

Because tomorrow is another day - a chance to tackle anew all the stuff that crowds in and needs attention.

Tomorrow is another day. And most things really can wait.

Monday, 21 November 2016

On Being Faithful

This video of a little girl attempting multiple times to mount her pony was on my Facebook feed - I watched it and barely gave it a second thought. But today I went looking for it; I dredged it up from the recesses of the internet. Today it means something to me.

I am holding on to the reminder to persevere - to work for the moments of triumph that belong to the people who don't give up. To be faithful. 

This time last year, I whispered a couple of things. In the quiet places of my heart and mind, I dared to say what I truly hoped for - to write more; to be a mother; to be done with being a lawyer. No more Christmas seasons spent working late. No more time-sheets and frantic clients, no more fighting to keep my peace in the snowballing stress of year-end deals.

This year, those things have happened. But I've realised something: we don't arrive. 

It took all my faith and perseverance to live through those things - sticking it out and making difficult things profitable; moving on and taking risks to shape a life more aligned to my values; surrendering in hope to things outside of my control and accepting with gratitude the huge gifts of God's generosity and dreams come true.

I got on the pony. But now for the ride. 

Now I'm realising it will take all my faith and perseverance to create an environment of love and joy and security for innocence to flourish in our bitter, broken world. It takes all my faith and perseverance to relate well to those around me and stay balanced when I'm deprived of sleep, of space and freedom. I need faith and perseverance to keep on writing when I have no time to think and my brain is scrambled and my words don't flow; to push for my creative work to be taken seriously when the rejections keep coming, the bills are real and it's not just me this impacts.

It's easy to be faithful to a dream before it becomes a reality. While it's just an idea in our heads and hearts, it's easy to imagine how much we'd give for it, how committed we'd be if it ever materialised. 

It's harder to begin - to actually start to do something about bringing that dream to life. And it's even harder to continue, day in day out - to resuscitate the vision when it gets waylaid over time; to breathe new commitment into it and celebrate the repetitive drudgery that is an inevitable part of a dream becoming real. It's hard. And therein lies the glory. 

Because to be faithful to the unfinished is an achievement in itself.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. 
Though outwardly we are wasting away, 
inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 
For our light and momentary [struggles] are achieving for us an eternal glory 
that far outweighs them all. 
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. 
For what is seen is temporary, 
but what is unseen is eternal."

2 Corinthians 4v16-17
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