I love efficiency. I get a little giddy when I find out that there is a better or faster way to get something done. I don't drive anywhere without considering how many lights I might have to sit at or how much traffic I will encounter. I organize my grocery list so that I don't have to backtrack through the store. I don't pack for a trip until every piece of laundry is cleaned, folded and put away so that I don't have to return to the job over and over again. If I can order something online for the same price, I definitely will... and let it just come to my door. I like checking off lists and feeling accomplished at the end of the day. You get the picture. I suspect I've just divided you into two groups: those of you who are breathing an amen and those who feel a bit suffocated.
While our family was away doing worship ministry at Sunset Point Camp in Alberta, we had the chance to take a canoe out on Lac St. Anne. Rob is a very proficient canoe-ist and I knew all I'd have to do is paddle and he'd get us where we wanted to go. Before we set out I had just finished answering a bunch of emails and generally having a productive afternoon. After we'd been paddling for about ten minutes I realized a couple of things:
- The noise of the shoreline was disappearing. (Canoes are so quiet!)
- The water was beautiful and the setting incredibly peaceful.
- Paddling is extremely inefficient.
Sure, we were moving through the lake but we weren't getting anywhere quickly. Pretty soon, the only sound we heard was our wooden oars dipping in and out of the water. And that's when I had this thought: times of inefficiency are so very good for the soul.
I'm not talking about idleness or laziness, I'm talking about strategically spending time accomplishing nothing but quieting your heart.
Our calendars are full, our inboxes are full, our kitchen sinks are full and we strive for better strategies to get it all done and keep it all in order. And truthfully, ordering our worlds is an important discipline for effectiveness in our life and ministry. But ordering your life is about more than that calendar or inbox. There has to be time "wasted" doing whatever it is that quiets your mind and soul.
So go out and inefficiently paddle to the middle of the lake... or whatever you do to move away from the noise. Maybe it's tea on the porch swing (without your phone!). Maybe it's a walk through your neighbourhood with worship in your heart and/or on your iPod. Maybe it's a hike with your family or day at the beach unplugged from the calendar. I can't think of a better season to be intentional about this life-giving practice. Use this beautiful summer season to get this habit into your DNA.
Looking forward to connecting with you on Sunday,