Friday, February 25, 2011

Life is not a series of tasks to be accomplished

A golden note of misty light quietly slips through the velvet-black night; noisy birdsong dips and rolls through not-quite morning air. Into my slowly-waking heart, His whisper settles in me:

Life is not a series of tasks to be fulfilled.
It is to be lived and savoured, held close - filled with space and grace – space enough to respond to My call - no matter how inconvenient it may be when it comes.

Oh how well you know me, Father - even half awake you know my mind is already filled with things to do and achieve today, lists to check off. You know how easy it is for me to be structured, maybe even too rigid. How I feel happiest when my list all accomplished. Words that could almost define me - discipline, efficiency, focus...."Come on....time is ticking away", "Hurry up!".

But at the expense of what (or whom)? Are there feelings I have steam-rolled over, children I have nagged and harassed, precious moments I have failed to enjoy in order to finish the task?

Your words of encouragement flow through me -  Life is for living:

When your son builds a fort and wants you to play even though you are in the middle of your devotions.

When your children need a snuggle just when you are desperately trying to answer all your long overdue emails.

To dance in the rain when you are supposed to be cooking dinner.

To watch a movie with the family even though they really should be in bed.

To take your time over a piece of work that you are all interested in even when the schedule tells us it's time to move on.

To lay on the floor and eat cookies, listening to music when the laundry needs doing.

Taking the day off to visit the museum or swim in the pool when there is still much to be done.

To sit and enjoy being with your husband, not rushing to put the kids to sleep.

To embrace life's bumps, surprises, mistakes and allow them to be fertiliser for learning and growth.

Life is for living not just for getting through or surviving.

Sometimes we just have to survive - I know that - I've lived it. But so much more is given to us; a life to embrace even with all its thorns and cut-glass edges. We may bleed but if we feel and live grateful and find peace in the small things, we'll find God: open-armed, smiling, delighting in us. In me. In you.

So today I pray - 

 " I surrender. I surrender my need to control, to have things run according to schedule, to count my worth by what I've achieved each day. I choose to live  - not just survive. I want to learn to be."

As I open my eyes, I see a new day has dawned - brilliant blue streaked with fresh linen-white clouds, mellow golden morning-light dancing off the the tips of towering jade-green trees. I am reminded of this verse from His word: 
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.  Lamentations 3:22-24
Thankful for new mornings, I start today.



amy in peru said...

mmmm. yes, the ability to stop, see, be.

in our family, I've found it's a delicate balance, because we must carry on even through the more mundane moments of life, we must be industrious, but we can make it fun and we can enjoy it!

when we enjoy the moments, concentrating on 'being' instead of simply completing our 'to-do list' we'll be improving the atmosphere of our homes in which we educate our children!

thank you for this encouragement!

amy in peru

PS. thanks for submitting this post to the Charlotte Mason blog carnival!

MamaChi said...

Hi Amy, I agree with you that sometimes it is simply about finding pleasure in the simple every day tasks. Learning to value each moment rather than resenting it and just wanting to get on with it.

I have to learn to deal with interruptions which I really struggle with because I feel it throws me off track.

The other thing for me to recognise is that not all tasks are equally important. Spending time nurturing my children's hearts should always trump answering emails!

Life is always a balancing act of needs and desires, the important and mundane. I have to learn to rely on the Lord to help me discern what is His priority in that moment. I love that we have a God who lights up even the mundane and cares about the small things as much as the huge Kingdom-changing acts.

amy in peru said...

Thought I'd come back to respond and then lost the comment... sad.

I was just saying, I do think I understand your heart and just wanted to add to what you said, I hope I didn't come across in a contradictory way.

Also, sometimes I live in dread of the interruptions, and have to try to remind myself that God knows beforehand all about those things that will present themselves that might have a tendency to throw me off. He delights in giving opportunities for us to lean in harder, see more clearly, be more godly, doesn't He? ahh... sanctification, isn't it great?! ;)

Thanks for sharing your insight.

amy in peru

MamaChi said...

Hi Amy, I do appreciate your comments and agree absolutely wholeheartedly! Thank you.:)

MamaChi said...

I forgot to add that what you said made me think of an article I had read about "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence:

For Brother Lawrence, "common business," no matter how mundane or routine, was the medium of God's love. The issue was not the sacredness or worldly status of the task but the motivation behind it. "Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."

I am grateful for your reminder that we can find the joy and fun and sacredness in each daily task.

Lisa said...

Thank you for this post. It was wonderfully timely for me. It is a beautiful reminder of what truly matters.

Erin said...

To live, to savour the moment. Such words of wisdom to ponder. We so often forget this.

Nancy said...


Just a beautifully written post - thank you! What if we viewed everything we did as an offering to God? I love your Brother Lawerence quote, too.

Yes, bless you for reminding me what truly matters.

Ring true,

See Jamie blog said...

A much-needed reminder. Thank you.


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