My world feels like it has come to a screeching halt. My yard has been blanketed with layers of sleet and ice with snow as the frosting on top. And around here, that means no school and no travel. That wouldn’t be an issue for me as a freelancer as long as the power stays on–which, thank the heavens, it has. But there’s one problem: my freelance work is at a lull.
If you do freelance anything for a living, you know it’s either feast or famine. Either five projects in the hopper or none at all. And right now, I have zero to work on. Zip. Nada. For the first couple of days, the rest felt good. It was a Sabbath of sorts. This time, my Sabbath has been a two-week hiatus thus far. I am in withdrawal. Work withdrawal.
You know that feeling. Don’t just stand there–do something! Productivity to the point of burnout is a badge of honor. We base our worth on our contribution and commitment, whether at work, church, or other group. Don’t believe me? Resign from a committee or volunteer role and see what happens. How quickly will you feel guilty because everybody else is “doing so much” and you’re doing “nothing”? As if working 40-50 hour weeks while raising a family was a walk in the park. Choose to slow down and I guarantee that someone, somewhere will say, “must be nice” and roll their eyes. You might have thought that while reading this blog.
God commanded the Sabbath as a time of rest because He knew our bodies, minds, and souls need it. But I also think God is teaching us one other truth: our worth isn’t based on what we do. Our paycheck isn’t a measure of our value. Our productivity–even for the Kingdom–does not win God’s favor or displeasure.
I think many of us work at such a frenetic pace because if we stop long enough to take a breath, we would have to face our own insecurity, self-loathing, shame, fears, and repressed anger. Rather than do the hard emotional work of facing the worst of ourselves and allowing God’s love to transform us, we spend thousands of hours at work to prove our worth.
These last few weeks have been an exercise in faith for me. Like the Israelites who relied on God to provide the manna each day, I am learning to trust God in this season and not panic when the phone doesn’t ring or when the inbox stays empty. I’m trying to wait well. Not just do something, but stand there until the next opportunity comes. I want to seek God and soak in His unconditional, non-ending love. I want to find my value in being His child. I don’t want to give my worth over to the god of productivity and become its slave again.