Okay, so last week, I tackled part one of this new discussion on productivity. I talked in detail about what productivity was in light of life as a Christian. Some of you might have felt that I was a little vague in specifics regarding the definition of productivity or perhaps it made sense to you. I hope it was the latter.
Today’s discussion, however, is one I have touched on before — not in regards to productivity persay, as much as I have in regards to personal goals. Join me today, as I talk about the motivation for productivity.
There are so many reasons why I desire to be productive with my day. First of all, I hate an unproductive day. I hate going through 24 hours of life without accomplishing anything.
This desire to accomplish things can be good but it can also be bad. For instance, if I were to just sit and do nothing while I had legitimate tasks I was needing to accomplish, I would be right to be frustrated with myself later when my tasks were piling up or my husband unhappy.
However, sometimes productivity can get in the way of relationships. Sometimes, it’s stopping doing dishes and cleaning and baking/cooking in the evenings when Adam is home in order to just sit and talk with him, to spend quality time with him, and to build our relationship that is more productive than the energy I might put into the pile of dishes that never seems to leave my kitchen. I realized this for the first time when I was on a missions trip to South Africa and Mozambique. I remember expressing frustrating to my fellow teammate, Jordan, that we weren’t “accomplishing” anything there. She was helpful to help me re-define my understanding of productivity. Relationships take time, trust is not built in a day, and missionary work takes a lifetime.
I mention all this because my motivation regarding productivity in all this is key to
understanding what real productivity is and how to attain it. As I talked about last week, real productivity has a lot to do with the eternal mindset we have. More specifically, our mindset will determine our motivation for what we do.
For instance, if I’m thinking about the temporal things in life more than the eternal, my focus cannot be on Christ. If it’s not on Christ, that means my eyes are on something else, which, if I’m honest, is often myself. If my eyes are on myself, my motivations will be to advance that which is most important to me. Me.
On the other hand, if I’m focused on the eternal and keeping a spiritual mindset that looks to Christ as my All-in-All and recognizes His kingdom plan as the main goal, my motivation will be to glorify Him and do all I can to keep Him at the center of who I am and what I do.
Therefore, the mindset I have will affect the motivation I have, and the motivation I have will affect my day-to-day life in one way or another. It will either help me accomplish a spiritually minded productivity or it will handicap me to only focus on that which has my misplaced affections.
Matthew 6:19-21 says:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Can it be said more directly? Can the understanding of how what I value as most-important affects my motivation in life be more obvious?
Where is your treasure today? Is your focus on the eternal inspiring an eternal mindset of productivity, so that relationships and advancing the kingdom of God ranks as more important than your to-do list? Is your focus more on yourself, so that you’re frustrated when your own plans are not running as smoothly as you would desire?
In a practical discussion of productivity, the motivation of productivity is not be myself. Otherwise, if things don’t run as smoothly as I desire, my whole life will be turned upside down and productivity is lost.
The motivation of my productivity must not be my husband either. This is a little harder to understand, but it really comes back to expectations. What if I put all my effort into pleasing him, working hard for him, and putting him at the center of my life… only to have something tragic happen to him? Or, more realistically, what if he doesn’t respond as I desire him to — in appreciation for how I have revolutionized my life to revolve around him? What if…? My motivation for being productive will be lost… in the humanity of my spouse.
Instead, my motivation must be eternal. It must be to glorify the Lord with my day-to-day life—with my schedule and to-do list– for He is the only One who never disappoints, Who sees everything (all my hard work and dedication), and Who motivates a love for Him that not only will affect my interaction with Him in my time in the Word and on my knees but will positively affect my work and relationships with my husband, my brothers and sisters in Christ, my acquaintances, my business partners, my family, and even my enemies. A motivation for productivity that is founded in an eternal focus on Jesus Christ is the only kind of motivation that will never be disappointed by unrealistic expectations. God holds to His promises, rewards His children, and never leaves me nor forsakes me.
So, where’s your motivation? Is your motivation to be a certain person for your own satisfaction? Is your motivation to please or impress others? Is your motivation to keep the love of someone in your life? OR… is your motivation to glorify the Lord in everything including your day-to-day life and schedule.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
What about you?
Tune in next week for the next part of our Talk about It Tuesdays‘ discussion on productivity! 🙂
2 thoughts on “Talk about It Tuesdays: Productivity (Pt 2)”
Just wanted to say that what you said in your first post about productivity, did make sense to me. Two verses often come to my mind, which you also quoted – “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 41-42) and “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt 6:33). I also often think about the verses that talk about the importance of love. What good is it if I’ve done a million things, or if I’ve done what I “want” to do, if I haven’t loved/shown love?
I realize that no matter how I feel about my day – whether I feel good because I got things done or not, whether I’m doing things that are fun or excite me or not – that’s not what’s important! Not saying that it’s fine to be lazy. But I am just agreeing with you that our focus needs to be not on ourselves, but on God. So often even when I am HAPPY because I’m doing things that “please” myself – things I wanted to do, things that make me feel good to have done – I feel like I being self-centered and that I am happy because of fleshly reasons. The truth is that we shouldn’t be pleasing ourselves, we should be seeking to please God.
I don’t mean to say that it’s wrong to do things that we want to do. (E.g., I want to write a letter, so I write a letter.) I was just trying, though I couldn’t figure out quite how to say it :P, to express that I understood and agreed with what you were saying about motivation. And that when we are *just* focusing on “what we want to/need to do”, we go off-track.