Just Doing Nothing

WARNING: this isn't a quick run;-). It's more like a blog post that got away from me.


“Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.”--A. A. Milne


Jesus, I am so aware of what a gift time is. I don't waste it. I use it all up, sometimes--way too often--squeezing 20 waking hours out of a day. I have a hunch this isn't really part of your plan. Teach me to value doing nothing. Show me how to find you in the Sabbath moments.

ACT (Warning: there is no "act" here. Feel free to provide one for us in the comments.)

My calendar is so full. So, so full. 

I grew up thinking that love was performance-based. The more you did, the better you did it, the more you were loved. Love was transactional, premised upon my doing something. I was perpetually in motion, striving to be good enough. 

Those are very hard habits to unlearn. 

Today, my calendar is so, so full. But it's not full of things to put on my resume so that I can get into a great college or earn a new accolade. Honest inspection of all those squares in March shows a clear pattern. My calendar is so full because my house is so full. When you tell someone you're expecting your sixth or seventh or eighth or ninth baby and they say, "Oh, you can manage that. No problem. What's one more?" 

The answer is: One more is one more. 

One whole human being more. One more to consider. One more to listen to. One more clean and feed and clothe. One more to come into your bed in the middle of the night because she had a "freaky" dream (and she might elbow the one more who got their before her because she, too, had a "freaky" dream). One more to drive to soccer. One more to pick up at dance.

This is not a litany of complaint. This is my reality as I ponder this:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48

I have been entrusted with more children. More than my neighbor. More than the soccer manager who changes practice times and location several times within the same day and thinks it's no big deal to make that work. More than most. So they don't understand. This is hard. 

Not a litany of complaint. Just reality. 

What happens when the habit of performance-for-approval meets the reality of needing to be a ten places at once just to get the job done? 

Overwhelmed anxiety happens. That's what. 

What will the coach think if I just say, "Um, no, it's 4:00 and you said practice was at 8:00 and I planned on that and now you're saying it's at 6:00 and I know weather is an  issue and you're trying to make them great soccer players, but I have a co-op at 3:00 and girls to get to dance at 5:00 and an 8-year-old waiting to be picked up at dance at 7:00 and I can't accommodate you. 

And I know you think I'm a bad mom who had way too many kids."

But I'm not.

I'm a good mom.

To a lot of kids. 

I work it out. I scramble to make it happen. I evaluate where and when and who and I triage and sometimes I ask for help. 

I remind myself over and over again that the messiness of all of this is OK. God isn't judging and condemning based on my performance; He's too busy granting grace and nodding at my all-too-human attempts to faithful 

And now we circle back.

I'm still striving. It's a different kind of striving, but I'm still striving. There's one more thing to consider in all of this.

There is value in squares on the calendar with nothing in them. 

I am good at sifting out who goes where and who gets what and who will need to wait and who will eat the last piece of pizza. I'm good at prioritizing so that they all get what they need. 

But I'm terrible at squares of nothing. I'm terrible at saying, "That's an afternoon of sewing by myself." Or "I'm taking half a day to go to the library alone to work on a project." 

I am very, very good writing in the car during soccer practice or running around and around the empty baseball field in February. During soccer practice. I can multi-task with the best of them.

But doing nothing? 

I can't do that.

Can you?

What's your secret?