productive

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Today will soon be gone, 
like yesterday is gone,
like history is gone,
Just try to prove me wrong
and pretend like you’re immortal. 

“Gone,” Switchfoot


I can barely resist the dollar section in Target. That white stationary with fine pink lines and flowers in the corner, that to-do list with a separate block for special notes at the bottom, that gray paper with a curly heading and tiny boxes for check, check, checks.
The packs of colored pens, the whiteboards with a pink border, the desktop caddies with a section for paper clips and pencil erasers–they scream productivity. They scream meaningful days at a desk with coffee and emails, spinning dreams into reality.
I will chase that image. I will chase it until the sole falls off my sandals and my coffee sits in the microwave, growing cold and stale in its white-washed prison.
This productive world only has a black-and-white spectrum–either my goals are being met or they are not. Conversations, service projects, workdays, sermons, hours, and vacations are all interrogated for levels of productivity. The higher the productivity, the higher on the to-do list. The higher on the to-do list, the more attention and force the task receives.
And what suffers from this? My relationships.
I am daydreaming about a blog post while helping a student with English, I am thinking about how I will roll through my Spanish homework while I am visiting a friend two hours away, I am always looking for the open door in a conversation so that I can jump through it back into my productive landscape.
How empty.
How dreary and selfish.
I do not want my coffin to be padded with print-off emails and crossed-off to-do lists. I do not want someone to write “Go to Brooke’s funeral” in their daily planner and then cross it off as soon as the service is over.
But how can I switch my brain to soak in the emotions of other people, to build relationships that lack visual results, to murk through pointless and inefficient conversations for the simple fact that love keeps fighting even in a haze?
I listened to John Piper talk this morning about bearing fruit, and the words of a verse come back to me: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ” (John 15:5, emphasis mine)
I cannot reset the destructive system of my heart by myself. So I send up a prayer for help, over and over again–asking for grace to let the to-do list burn with the requirements of daily love as it often needs to.
And reheating my coffee after the microwave beeps for the eleventh time.
😉

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