Who gets your glory?
Several years ago while scrolling through Pinterest, I saw the quote “Stop the glorification of busy,” and I liked it, but I never let it sink into my life. Growing up in a Christian home I heard the word glorify often in my church and Christian school. I knew what it meant when it applied to God, but recently I’ve unpacked it more thoroughly.
Today's Word: Glorification
Five syllables. Pronounced [glawr-uh-fi-key-shuh n]. noun. Defined on Dictionary.com as the act of glorifying or the state of being glorified. The Bible talks extensively about giving glory to God. We are told that whether we are eating, drinking, or whatever we are doing it should all be to God’s glory. Glory is defined by Dictionary.com as to give adoring praise to something. Glorification is the act of giving glory.
So how do you feel about busy? Try this experiment. Tell someone you have a busy weekend and see what they say back. People love comparing busy. Tell them you’re going to sporting events for each of your three children, attending an event at the library, and going to your grandma’s birthday and they’ll tell you about the six sporting events, two birthday parties, and the cooking class they have squeezed into the weekend. I’ve decided to stop playing this game. This doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot going on. There are seasons and days where there are many things to do. During Christmas, I want to do ALL THE THINGS! See the lights, visit family, catch up with friends, decorate, the list goes on and on! There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being busy, but when we glorify it we are putting our focus on the wrong thing.
When we give our praise and adoration - How do you do it all? - to "busy" we are focusing on the person. Rather than “God has given me the energy, health, and resources to accomplish this,” we focus on, “I have to do these things to fit in or to be a good parent or to make my kid succeed.” (I really struggle with this last one. God is slowly and painfully teaching me that I can’t in any way MAKE Logan succeed. Only he can do that.) Busy also makes me look at others and how they manage their lives instead of looking to Christ. So often I’ve asked other moms, “How do you do it all?” but what I’m really doing is comparing my failures to do “all the things” and seeking to find success in a way that God hasn’t planned for me. This self-focus drives me inward instead of driving my thoughts upward.
For the last several months I’ve been working as a nanny for very dear friends of ours. The baby is absolutely adorable and so incredibly good. Despite the relative ease of this situation, I’ve been unhappy at times. I see other people doing things I love such as teaching and I want to be there so badly. They are running around going, going, going and I’m not in that place. Staying home can very challenging because I feel like I don’t accomplish anything. I do laundry, wash dishes, clean up spilled toys, then the next day I have to do it all over again. I realized that I was longing for busy. Our culture values the production of something which leaves stay-at-home moms (and nannies) feeling like we aren’t contributing to the world.
In the past few months, as I’ve been unpacking this concept of savoring life and avoiding busy, I’ve learned that life isn’t about accomplishing things on a to-do list. God has brought this little guy into my life and he is a precious soul that I get to spend time with on a regular basis. So what if “play hide and seek” isn’t a product that I can showcase or sell? He is learning object permanence and having a marvelous time doing it. I accomplish nothing for myself when I sit with Logan and his homework, but I am teaching him perseverance and demonstrating my love for him. Yesterday he even identified adverbs and adjectives with ease which felt like something worthy of great celebration. When I stop glorifying busy and start glorifying God with my life I find great joy and peace.
This doesn’t mean I can sit back and hit the snooze button on life though. I no longer feel the need to justify my schedule to others, but instead, I try to see it as God sees it. When my calendar is run through that filter, things line up differently; to be honest it is quite daunting. Who am I helping? Why am I going there? Which of the calendar activities is best? But I rest in knowing that I am prayerfully doing my best and that is the best I can do.
How is your schedule? Do you feel worn down? A friend passed on a quote to me the other day and I absolutely loved it. “If you get tired, learn to rest, not quit.” Isn’t that great? Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." These verses always bring me peace because Jesus didn’t say, “Pull yourself together and grab a cup of coffee. Go do the things.” Instead, he said that He will give us rest. As you finish this likely hectic week, I’ll be praying that you find rest in Christ and that you don’t let "busy" steal your joy.
A Shocking Discovery
As I mentioned last week, I have spent the last few years in notebooks and with a large variety of journals. I've experienced the value of putting pen to paper and grasped the power of a hand written note. I don't dislike analog living, but after dealing with some intense anxiety, I decided that I should try something different.
Let me explain my previous method of organization. I had a bullet journal with a calendar ranging from June to May, because as a mom and teacher my schedule has always worked better that way. I would put my appointments in the monthly spreads and my task lists on weekly spreads. I used a habit tracker and beautiful stickers. The whole thing was in written in beautiful fonts AND I made the whole calendar system in French. I've received LOTS of compliments on how beautiful it was. I had stickers too. Fun planner stickers that I could use for notating everything from laundry to getting coffee with a friend. It was absolutely adorable. Who would give up an adorable French bullet journal? Here's the issue. Remember when I said I wasn't organized? Well, I would go somewhere and forget to bring my journal. If I did remember, it was cumbersome and then I started carrying around my Sharpie pens (wonderful, by the way) AND the adorable stickers just in case a situation came up. I would keep all the stuff out on my counter because if I didn't I would never use it. I spent more time "jamming on my planner" than actually working on the stuff I was supposed to be doing. .
The first time I actually put aside the planner and made a task list on my phone. I realized that I have been making this way too complicated. But I was doing all that so I wouldn't become distracted by the digital. Apparently I have to ability to become distracted by the analog. Pens, paper, stickers, journals - these are what intoxicate and distract me. They are just so fun in and of themselves. (You're just now realizing what a big nerd I am?)
I've read quite a bit about the dangers of digital distraction. Reading things with hypertext slows down our reading by milliseconds. Our phone's chimes and rings hold a powerful sway over our attention. I don't want to get so caught up in my phone that I ignore what is going on around me. I want to be a good example of digital well-being to my son. All of this made me nervous about relying too heavily on the digital world. I thought I would be too distracted, but woah. That isn't what happened at all.
I will refrain from explaining the details of each app and specific change for now, but the overall impact has been more interesting than anything to me. I put away all my journals and stickers and pens and all the other stuff I had been using. I simplified. Everything is connected to Google. Because Google is available online, I can used it in whatever, I'm logged into. Doctors appointments? No problem. I can search for the phone number and make an appointment right here. No need to go find my calendar. My task list is linked to my calendar so I can see which days I'll be able to get things done and keep track of them from wherever I am. (Yes, I am careful to log out and practice on-line safety.)
My anxiety has dropped significantly since starting this experiment. I honestly didn't expect that. I'm not carrying around so much stuff because I only need my phone. I'm not misplacing my phone (usually) because I always have it on hand. Rather than leaving me addicted to my device, I've been on it less. Before, I used it to call and text and for social media. Now it's a work tool. It's something that allows me to focus on things so I can put it down and enjoy a clean counter and time doing things I love. When I go to look at my social apps I am given my daily task list so I put down to phone to get to work. Then when I'm done with the work, I find myself enjoying a board game with Logan or watching a show with Jason, which are things I thought I didn't have time for.
This might change. My brain may get used to the switch and flip back over to craving social media updates and focusing on the minutia rather than on the important, but for now I will revel in the ability to get things done and make stuff happen!
A Year of Digital Living
Around New Year's I posted about my resolutions and said that I was embracing some apps to help me meet my goals. Well, I embraced them and then some. I've decided to live this year digitally. For several years now I've had a bullet journal and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've loved hand lettering the dates and months. I like seeing the tasks and events spread out before me. BUT, and here's rub, I sometimes forget to carry it with me. I sometimes get so distracted with making it pretty that I fail to accomplish the tasks on my lists. The collections were spread out across months and sometimes got lost despite my endlessly improving it with washi tape and stickers. I will always love my bullet journal, but I am choosing to set it aside for now and try something new.
This doesn't mean I am giving up intentional living. Intentional living is laid out in Ephesians 5:8-10 "Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord." It is making deliberate choices rather than being swept along with a crowd and doing what it takes to survive a day. It requires a great deal of self-knowledge and knowledge about the One you are lining up your life to follow. No, I'm still planning to live very intentionally and seek God's direction in everything I do.
I've decided to live a year using digital apps to assist me with everything I do. Some of this decision was prompted by my recently receiving a Microsoft Surface Pro and trying to make the most of it. I can now work from anywhere! My posting has been limited because back in November I accepted a long-term subbing position that has absorbed much of my time at mental energy. Since then I've been trying to eke out time to do the things I need to do while also finding time for the things I want to do. After re-evaluating my time and how I spend it I've decided that the digital life is worth a try.
There is one slight issue with this though. I am not super tech-savvy. Computers and are often not my friend. Passwords get lost and weird things happen. I can not tell you how many times I have had some issue with a computer only to have the IT or tech support say something like, "Oh wow! This is weird! I haven't seen this before." So I'm not tech savvy, but my husband is. We have Alexa who can turn on lights and assist us around the house. We have a Nest system with cameras, thermostat, and smoke alarm. We even have speakers connected to each other around the house. These always seem to work when he uses them, but for me, they crash and burn. But I will not give up! I have fixed some of the bugs by getting a new smartphone and understanding the issues that were keeping the technology from working. For the moment we are smooth sailing and this is awesome.
I will be keeping you updated on how the digital life is going by posting about apps and how the change is affecting my life. So far, Jason is excited about my choice and interested to see how long I can make it work.
What apps do you absolutely love? Do you prefer to do things digitally or analog?
"A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one."
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