For everyone living along the east coast of Queensland Australia this week it’s been chaotic!!
Cyclone Debbie announced herself and we all braced for her impact. She gave all she could causing a magnificent share of mayhem and devastation in the lives of so many of us this week. Some where impacted far more dramatically than others, and I am all too aware that I get to write this today as one of the lucky ones.
This is how Tuesday 28 March 2017 played out for us:
Plans did not work out as expected. Businesses closed. Deadlines were not met. Schools closed. Exams were not written. Life seemed to kinda stop. Just like that, everything came to a grinding halt. And if you are anything like me, this caused an underlying angst and stress to build. I was sitting on the couch, listening to the haphazard gusts of wind lashing about outside, wondering what to do next.... “You should be working” an old familiar voice reminded me.
The kids are home and restless. The gusts outside are angry and noisy. The dog is unsettled and demanding attention. I am definitely distracted. I can’t seem to take my eyes off the TV screen showing news of the devastation happening only a few hours south of where we live. My brain is trying to wrap itself around the fact that what I’m viewing on the screen came so close to being my own reality… yet somehow we have escaped what those further south haven’t. I know in these unusual circumstances, way out of anyone’s control, that today is just not going to be productive. Yet somehow I can’t seem to let myself off the hook so easily. I feel the familiar angst and guilt. The little voice in my head is whispering: “You have work to do, deadlines to meet! You should be being productive!!!”
I flip open my phone for the hundredth time. I check my emails, then Instagram and then FaceBook. (...as if so much has changed in the last ten minutes!!) That’s when I see it. A new blog post from an old friend. I love her posts, and so I start to read. I am unaware of the gift I am about to receive. ….UNTIL I read her next words. She is quoting another friend actually. Yet these words jump off the screen at me. My heart is stirred. I read them over and over again, and I feel it. The cogwheels in my mind are literally shifting. I allow the words to shift my focus, to change my perspective, to reframe my thoughts…call it what you will…. These words give me permission to let go, to relax, to breathe easy. This is what I read:
“God has not called us to be successful. He’s called us to be fruitful.” - WOW!
I feel the angst, the guilt and the knot of stress I’m struggling to let go of. And suddenly I see it! I see that I am not letting go and making the most of what this unusual day has to offer because I realise I am once again striving. Striving to perform. Striving for success. I realise I have not quite left this mountain I keep choosing to trudge around. What for? I am reminded why I do this. A few months ago my coach helped me to see what striving gives me - a warped sense of significance... And I see a way out. A way to shift my focus. I ask myself this new awesome question. How about just being you today rather than trying to be productive?
When you're just being you, you are fruitful. What does that even mean? I am reminded that the bible has a lot to say about bearing fruit. Healthy fruit. This fruit is love, it’s joy, it’s peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. I sit back and take a few deep breaths in and out. I decide to shift focus. I choose to ditch striving for performance and success today. I know I can be me and bear fruit today.
So I call upstairs to my teenage boys: “Hey boys, anyone like some tea and chocolate cake?” I smile at their response as I listen to the stampede down the stairs. We spend the next hour eating cake, chatting and watching the mayhem continue on TV. I listen to them. Really listen. We hang out together. I feel peace. I feel joy.
And so this chaotic day has turned out to be quietly fruitful after all!
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