I was in the middle of the busiest week at school and yet I felt most unproductive. I couldn’t quite understand how I crossed tasks off my list and yet managed to feel like I wasn't really doing anything. I continually brought this dilemma to God and asked Him what more could I be doing here and could He just do me a solid and point me in the direction I could go to feel slightly more productive.
A whole week passed by, but this feeling didn’t. And honestly, I grew tired - of feeling this way and also not being able to do anything about it no matter how much I tried. So, I did what I knew best - I sat with the discomfort of it all instead of trying to drive it away. In the midst of weariness and waiting and wanting, I began to understand what was really happening.
Although I was powering through all the tasks I had set up for my days, I still felt like I could be doing more, that I should be doing more. The ache of not being able to understand what that ‘more’ was led to me feeling discontent with what I had actually managed to accomplish through the week. Which, looking back, I could never have done on my own, it was God’s strength meeting me in my daily weakness. I was so preoccupied by all that I could be doing that I began to think God wasn’t really interested in what I was asking Him to help me with, when instead He was right there, engaged in helping me with what I really needed to get through at the moment.
The world has conditioned us to think that we need to keep doing things in order to keep people’s attention. And I applied that to my relationship with God, I was struggling to string things together in order to keep God’s gaze fixed on me. The moment I wasn’t producing ‘Kingdom-worthy’ work, I was afraid that I would lose His attention. I was mentally striving for His attention because I had forgotten that I already had His affection.
These moments of creative barrenness are to be brought before the Lord so that He can create something beautiful out of it. It’s not easy when I want to rush before God instead of remaining with Him for a while.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. (John 15:4 ESV)
Sometimes my struggling heart needs to be reminded that God loves me not because of what I can do for Him, but despite it. My creativity is a reflection of my Creator and my productivity is meant to give praise to Him. It’s not about fulfilling some deep need in me but to need only Him when I feel unfulfilled.
And on days when I don’t feel productive or useful, I’m learning to surrender this unyielding soil to the Gardener who understands these intricate workings better than I ever will. He will use this dry season to till and unearth and prepare me for the purpose He has already planted in me. Beautiful things take time to bloom and I have to allow His truths to take deep root in me so that I can be fruitful as I abide in Him. He holds in His hands all seasons of growth and produce, and He makes all things - even barrenness - beautiful in His time.