*Alisa’s Note: Today’s guest post is from one of my blogging friends – maybe the first blogging friend I had. Sarah’s blog is still one of my favorites. [Check it out here.] She is a gifted writer who throws the doors wide open on her thoughts. She was gracious enough to write a guest blog post on the topic of a ‘Teachable Moment’.
I wish I could say I was a quick learner. I wish I experienced an “ah ha!” moment once and then always carried that little lesson around in my pocket, never having to relearn it. Alas, I am not. I am more of a painstakingly slow learner, often having to allow God to remind me, nudge me, and even sometimes smack me with the same life lessons over and over again.
On January 14 of this year, I became a mom for the first time. My beautiful baby boy was born, and three days later I found myself at home with this little person who needed my attention all the time. Rewind to about two weeks prior his birth and you would find me constantly on the move. I’m a do-er. Every week I made my to-do list of errands, household tasks, projects I wanted to complete and people I wanted to connect with, and more often than not by the end of the week my list was accomplished–every item neatly crossed out with a highlighter. I’ve spent 23 of my 30 years as a full time student, I know how to multitask and I know how to get things done. If I’m honest, I’ve found a lot of pride in how productive I’ve been in a given week. Friends used to laugh because when we would have a 3 week break from classes I would not just travel to one place–I would usually pack my vacations full of multiple cities or states so I could visit as many friends and family as possible. Yes, aside from the one month in grad school where I had mono, I have always enjoyed getting things done.
Fast forward back to this winter and the arrival of my little one, and all of a sudden life looked drastically different, more so than ever before. All of a sudden my most important “task” of the day was sitting in a rocking chair for hours on end feeding my baby. All of a sudden I found myself laying on a couch doing “nothing” but holding my child who couldn’t nap anywhere but in someone’s arms. The dishes sat there, untouched. The laundry was done when my parents came to visit to help out. Vacuuming or cleaning the bathrooms? Ha! Running lots of errands and connecting with many people? No longer an option with my son who hated his car seat and left me feeling foggy brained and incapable of connecting with others in a meaningful way. Those to-do lists I had prided myself on were now non-existent. And if I’m honest, so many days would come to an end and I would feel so unproductive, so lazy, and so frustrated. Who was I now if I wasn’t Ms. Productivity? I knew in my head what I was doing for my baby was infinitely more important than doing the dishes, but for a slightly-OCD person like myself, sometimes all I wanted to do was clean my kitchen!
It’s been four months now, since the arrival of our little one, and I think I am finally beginning to learn my lesson. The other day I laid down with Aidan in my bed to see if I could settle him down for his afternoon nap. He snuggled up next to me, nursed for a few minutes, and drifted off into a peaceful sleep. “Alright!” I thought. “I can finally go get something done!” As I lay there thinking about what I was going to go sneak off to accomplish, it hit me. The only thing that was important to me that day was being with my son. My kitchen was relatively clean–not perfect, but good enough. My husband and I have plenty of clothes, I didn’t need to do laundry just because the basket was full. All of a sudden grilled cheese sandwiches sounded just fine for dinner, no need to go prep anything fancier. As I watched him rest, his little lips still making that sweet sucking motion in his sleep, I realized there was no where else on earth I wanted to be. I was being completely “unproductive” by my former standards, but when I think about what really mattered in that moment, I was doing the most important thing I could have chosen to do–I stayed snuggled up next to his little body and held him as he slept in the safety and comfort of Mommy’s arms.
God commands us to “be still, and know that I am God,” and I think part of what God had in mind here is that He wants us to surrender our to-do lists to Him. He has spent the past 4 months teaching me over and over again a new way to define “productivity.” He calls us to just be, to let go of all the things we frantically try to accomplish to somehow prove our worth here on earth. He whispers a reminder “Sarah, you’re so much more than your list of accomplishments, that is not what gives you your value or worth. Be still, let me be God, you worry about being fully present for the people I’ve placed in your life.”