My experience has been that my life has seasons – times when things seem to move quickly, at others so excruciatingly slowly that I wonder if it will ever move on or change – and themes – big, overarching principles that seem to be so embedded into everything I read, hear and see, it can feel that God has got a sledgehammer out to knock some sense into me!
This current season of life – being at home with my girls,aged 4 and almost 2 – looks very different to any other that’s gone before. My value and worth to society in terms of productivity are pretty minimal in the world’s view, and I’m working harder physically than I ever have. Every day is a relentless round of giving out, of half finished tasks and endless tasks to do. It is so easy to slip into a feeling of only being useful to those around me, and to scoff when my husband tells me I’m beautiful yet I feel dog tired and scruffy. It is so easy to slip into being a consumer of grace and strength so I can achieve my aims for the day, rather than seeing it as beautiful that through me He achieves His aims for my day.
And my theme? That by taking the scenic route rather than the most efficient, that by leaving spaces of time apparently without purpose, apparently useless, by stopping this unceasing assessment of things and people and activities in terms of their worth, I discover true value is in the wild beauty that happens when I’m least expecting it. In the conversations that happen with my eldest as her fledgling faith begins to put on feathers ready to soar one day (how I pray she soars high!); in the moments when I see a glance, hear the laughter between my girls; in the still, quiet space where God drops His peace into my heart or even more amazingly gives me the words to share with a friend who needs to hear them – in these places, apparently useless if assessed by a measure of productivity, I find ultimate beauty. Which then drives home harder the need for those spaces that can so quickly be squeezed out – by housework, saying yes to too many (often good!) things, dealing with the day to day tasks necessary for our lives – to be present and allowed to just be.
The challenge is that in being deliberate about creating those spaces, the very act of allowing them to happen doesn’t become another exercise in efficiency which would ultimately result in futility. Because everyday life is messy, and real, and doesn’t fit neatly into boxes-because real, living people and relationships don’t fit neatly into boxes.
Have I got the balance right yet? No, it’s still a work in progress, it will always be a work in progress! But that’s ok – because I’m not finished yet, He’s not finished with me yet, and whatever I might think about me, He tells me that we are His masterpiece:
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)