August 1, 2019
One of the things that John Ohmer and I like to nerd out about together is productivity systems. We joke about how we're one good productivity system away from having our entire lives running flawlessly...we just need to find the right one! Of course, we also know that's exactly the myth upon which a multi-million-dollar productivity industry is built. But we love to compare tips and tricks anyway. I recently got a new planner that was designed by Michael Hyatt, and like all such planners, it has its good points and its bad points. But one of my favorite things about it is the "Weekend Optimizer." Hyatt suggests that we should be just as intentional about how we spend our leisure time as we are about our working hours. He suggests 7 areas where we should be deliberate in our choices: sleep, eat, move, connect, play, reflect, and unplug. He offers questions we might ask ourselves to help us be intentional about leisure time, like "how will you rejuvenate your mind and heart?" and "what does quality time look like?" and "what steps will you follow to ensure you truly disconnect from work?"
I like this approach for several reasons. One is that I am someone who can easily lapse into wasting free time on social media or Netflix...not that those are inherently bad things, it's just that I'm not intentional about it. The weekend optimizer gently pushes me to be more thoughtful about that time. But the biggest reason I like this approach is that built into this "productivity system" is the inherent understanding that our worth is not found in what we produce. That our "non-productive time" is just as worthy of our attention as our working time. And that understanding is deeply scriptural, whether we are considering God's creation of the Sabbath rest or Jesus' reminder that our loving God knows each hair on our heads. Our worthiness of love and belonging comes from nothing more and nothing less than our status as beloved children of God. We don't have to work for it. We don't have to earn it. It happened quickly, but somehow, it's now August. Many of you will be heading on vacation, or perhaps trying to soak up what you can from these last summer weekends. For some of us, disconnecting from the busyness of every day life will be hard. When I was on vacation these past few weeks, I took those Weekend Optimizer questions and turned them into "Vacation Optimizer" questions to keep me thoughtful about my time. And I prayed this prayer - the Collect for the Good Use of Leisure - found on pg. 825 of the Book of Common Prayer: O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. I love that prayer because it doesn't suggest that we have leisure time in order to be more productive with our other time. Rather, we rest in order to be open to the goodness of God's creation. It's August. Take a break. Sleep, eat, move, connect, play, reflect, unplug. You're worth it. See you on Sunday, Kelly