There is freedom from feeling the need to be productive 24/7.
The best kept secret of motherhood: it doesn’t stop. Every day my kids need things from me. The same things. Over and over. So adding new things to my plate feels overwhelming. Which leads me to feel behind.
- Behind on my to-do list
- Behind on sleep
- Behind on discipleship (my own and my kids)
- Behind on accomplishing anything of value
Some days, everything I need to do is my first thought and everything I didn’t do is my last. Other times, the sensation of feeling behind simmers just below the surface, growing hotter and stronger as time goes on.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters, for either He will hate the one and love the other, or He will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
When I read this several weeks ago, the phrase, “two masters” jumped off the page.
In this season of my life, the master I am tempted to love and devote my life to is not money, like the verse suggests. God showed me the masters I am most devoted to oscillate between are the Master of Production and the Master of Rest.
First, let’s look at what it means to serve the Master of Production and why we cannot serve him and serve the Lord.
The Master of Production
The Master of Production values productivity and celebrates accomplishment above everything else. This master reminds you constantly of the things you “should be doing,” and makes you feel guilty for moments that aren’t spent doing something “productive.”
This master makes you feel like you aren’t doing enough, and he never allows you the reprieve you long for. This master masks himself by telling you that this is adulthood and motherhood. You signed up for this. If you want to reach your goals, you have no other choice. This master evaluates success based on your performance, but because there’s always more you could have done, he never celebrates your success.
How do we know we’re serving the Master of Production?
- Completing our to-do list is our main priority.
- Anything that distracts us from accomplishing our to-do list is viewed as an inconvenience (even meeting our child’s needs).
- We feel stressed, overwhelmed, and “behind”.
- We refuse to rest and overlook community with others because there isn’t enough time.
- Our ability to accomplish (or lack of it) determines our mood.
- Our satisfaction is linked to what we produce or accomplish.
- We are jealous of other’s achievements.
- We are physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally tired.
What does God say?
You cannot serve a master who demands productivity while also serving God well. Your Heavenly Father has given you a job, a family, a home, a community, and 24 hours a day as a gift to be stewarded (James 1:17).
In paradise, in the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam a job, showing us that work is good (Genesis 2:15). In fact, fulfilling our responsibilities in a way that honors God is Kingdom work. But God is not a task-master with lofty expectations, handing out gold stars and naps to those who meet His demands.
- He tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
- He tells us to seek first His kingdom and all the things we need will be given to us (Matthew 6:33).
- He tells us to cast all of our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7).
- He gently reminds us that everything we do is to be done for Him—not to please others and not for our personal gain (Colossians 3:17).
- He reminds us that work is good and necessary, but so is rest (Psalm 127:2).
- He promises that true satisfaction is found in Him alone (Jeremiah 31:25).
A Revised Checklist
Recently, I’ve created a checklist to help me and my family take good care of all the things God has entrusted to us. It helps me remember that there are more important things to consider besides the to-do list scrolling through my mind. I’m reminded that the Lord isn’t interested in what I accomplish or how I perform, but He’s interested in how I’m stewarding my life. Maybe it will help you, too.
Daily, I Take Care of My….
- Heart – by spending time with the Lord. The attempt is always for time alone with the Lord, but it often includes reading Bible stories to my kiddos, praying as we go through our day, and playing worship music.
- Home – by caring for my husband and kids. They are my number one priority—not a distraction from my to-do list or an interruption from “me-time.” However, there are still errands, chores, and other responsibilities that I cannot neglect.
- Body – by treating it well. This can come through exercise, eating well, and drinking enough water. But it also means resting well physically and paying attention to my mental and emotional health. This step gives me permission to take a break when I need it.
While this does not eliminate the pull to love the Master of Production, it does provide parameters that help define my day and protect my perspective.
A Simple Prayer
Despite our best efforts, we will still fall short. So, let’s train ourselves to see Proverbs 3:5-6 as an invitation for everyday life. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”We pray: God, What tasks need to be accomplished today, and what can wait? What person needs my attention? Would you multiply my hours so that I can take care of all of my responsibilities and still rest well? Thank you for caring about the small details of my life. Thank you for being with me and giving me direction. Amen.
Callie Clayton writes to encourage others (and remind herself) that it’s possible to experience God right where you are. She enjoys teaching the Bible to teenagers, having good conversation over meals she didn’t cook, and baking all the chocolate desserts. Embracing her role as a boy-mom to three little ones, she and her husband are worn out, but loving the adventure of parenthood.