I have a mantle clock from the ’70s that used to belong to my granddaddy. It’s a beautiful timepiece, chiming on the hour and the half. I have to wind both the time and the chime mechanism once a week. This week I noticed that the clock was chiming 5 minutes early. It turns out that I’d wound the clock twice this week. It was running fast because it was wound too tight.
Have you noticed that when we are wound too tight, we run too fast also? We hustle from this project to that errand to this activity — rushing, speeding as though our productivity predicates all of our self-worth.
When we are rushing about, it is an outward sign of our inner critic. Our critic drives us. We dance as fast as we can, hoping that someone will notice and give us some applause, or pity, or sympathy, or a cookie. Anything that validates, we are good people and worthy of love and respect.
Then, like the mantle clock, we chime out of turn, disturbing the stillness and peace of those around us.
Think of a time where you were riding down the road minding your business, and someone comes roaring up behind you. She’s late picking up her son from soccer because she got held up in the line at Marshall’s buying a hostess gift for the lady that hosts the weekly book club meeting, and her daughter has to get to dance practice right now. She’s on the phone with the PTA president talking about the fundraiser day after tomorrow. She is so flustered and rushing that she doesn’t notice that she’s riding your tail until she’s right there. You can see the color of her eyes in your rearview mirror.
Her sudden appearance sends a wave of adrenaline through your otherwise calm body, scaring you half to death. She beeps her horn, and you get out of her way as she speeds by, waving the universal gesture of displeasure. You feel the after-effects of the adrenaline rush and now are a little pissed off too.
She clamors for her worth. A sticky tar of shame rolls off of her and, like a virus, invades you. If you’d ask her if she considered herself a shame-filled person, she’d say no. She’s just got a lot to do.
Performance-based self-love is ineffective and harmful. If we are to create a world full of peace, we must start within.
Our accomplishments do not predicate our worth.
There is no trophy for the person who is the most productive.
The solution is simple.
Listen, I’m not advocating for sloth. I’m advocating for balance.
There are some days or seasons when we do have to pick up the pace. Finishing college, starting a career, having small children, these are busy seasons.
Yes, and we need to make sure that we don’t tie our self worth to the busy-ness. We need to be careful that we don’t make busy-ness a lifestyle.
Just for Today
I will be aware of my to-do list. Is it dictating my life and my sense of purpose, or is my purpose driving my to-do list?
God, help me to remember that I have enough, I do enough, and I am enough.