Believe the best, forgive the rest.

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it’s hard to quit multi-tasking


He says, “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world” (Psalm 46:10).

Her name is Frost; she is a nanny goat (although new terminology is to call them does). While she no longer is used for breeding, her daughters are. And her daughter, Lilac, had triplets. Lilac and Frost have brown heads. Frost’s “grandkids” inherited black heads from their daddy’s side. And Frost couldn’t seem to shake her triplet grandchildren. They jumped on her back to play when she was resting. They jumped into her feed barrel when she was eating. (For their lunch of milk, they rejoined their mother though.) 

Frost took it in stride and acted out her usual routine while babysitting her grandkids. This is multi-tasking in the goat world.

Our culture is geared to multi-tasking and accomplishing all we can in as short a time as possible, and with all the gadgets and conveniences in the home, it’s easy to keep adding more tasks. We tell ourselves we must use up this extra time we think we have. 

My mother stayed home, did all the cooking, worked in the fields, milked cows, gathered and washed eggs, and throughout about half of her 54-year marriage, had a wringer washer requiring manually putting each piece of washed clothing through a wringer and hanging it on a clothesline. The canning, milking cows, taking care of the children, and keeping an eye on the farmstead coincided with the harvesting men needing lunch in the field. Whew, I have to take a breath just reading those sentences.

She told of tying my toddler first-born sister to the pens lining the opposite side of the milking stanchions while she milked cows by hand. Still she found time to embroider and crochet beautiful décor for our home. So multi-tasking isn’t new, just accelerated I think.

Most days included some time to sit and rest as part of our routine when I was growing up. Except when weather dictated the harvesting or planting must be done post-haste, Sundays were our days to go to church and do only necessary chores like feeding animals and milking cows. A time to replenish body and spirit. In today’s world for many, it’s business as usual. 

I try to stack multiple activities into a seemingly shrinking day. I feel guilty when I am resting. I applaud the fact I’m a modern housewife who can manage a career, home and family. Yet some days I know I’m losing ground. Multi-tasking has become a modern buzz-word. A seemingly positive virtue. 

Instead of adding more time to be still and experience God’s awesomeness, I add more activity to my itinerary. And my day becomes too full for my time and capabilities. My head fills with “I shouldas.”

At times, my eustress (good stress) becomes my distress (bad stress), and I become short-tempered and frustrated. I leave no time to be still and commune with God. No time to refuel an empty emotional tank.

“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.’ But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her’ (Luke 10:38-42).

Father, help me to not bite off more than I can chew, or go around in circles until I’ve no time left for me and you. Or to resent someone who chooses to “stop and smell the roses” while I feel buried in too much to do. I believe the devil knows being busy and useful can translate to feeling worthwhile—giving ourselves the credit for that worth and taking our attention from you. I sometimes forget I am still worthwhile when sitting at rest with my hands idle, merely because you created me, and I am yours. 

I wonder if my motive to be involved and busy comes from you, or from me. Or is it a ploy from Satan? I need to be still, revel in your presence, and remember that you are the glorious, loving and almighty God. When I read your Word, I am sitting at your feet listening to you. Worldly concerns can wait. Amen.