resting in monotony

One of the Makers Summit talks that really stuck with me this year came from Scott Hofert. Two weeks later, I’m still processing the ideas he shared. Scott encouraged us to rest in the seasons of boredom and monotony because they will come, and many times this is where we are most creative.

What he said resonated with me, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I can’t remember the last time I was ‘bored’. I love a new project and in general, I like to stay busy. I’m a more productive person when I’m forced to manage my time well. I am constantly making and adding things to lists. My philosophy is to get things done, and I can rest once I’ve checked everything off the list.

At the moment, I can relate a little more to the monotony side of the equation. It’s easy for washing dishes, folding laundry, and cleaning up, to be dreaded tasks. They’re never ending and always on the list. Embracing the monotony of these tasks might change my perspective and let me see these as quiet times to look forward to.

As I’ve tried to process Scott's words, I’m finally understanding that my lists will always be there. There will probably never be a day when I wake up and I find myself with nothing to do. So my challenge seems to be creating more whitespace, in spite of my to-do lists. 

There will probably never be a day when I wake up and I find myself with nothing to do.

Several years ago, my pastor spoke about the idea of Sabbath as "the ability to put work down". Over the past two weeks, I’ve started to notice how much I go out of my way to avoid boredom and fill up every inch of time. There are obvious ways: social media, picking up my phone for no reason, obsessively multi-tasking instead of being focused.  And there are not-so-obvious ways: feeling guilty playing with Ella because I really need to finish some household task. Never painting my nails — not because I don’t like having my nails painted, but because I literally can’t stand the 15 minutes afterward where I can’t do anything with my hands. 

This weekend, I took some intentional steps toward whitespace. I got my nails done. And I tried to be calm when they were taking too long to dry. I went outside while Ella napped and read a book that I really wanted to finish, ignoring my messy kitchen. I picked flowers from our yard. I watched a movie and didn’t spend the majority of that time folding laundry, checking email or flipping through catalogs while I did it.

I’ve been surprised to realize how hard it is for me to “put work down”. Part of me wonders if I need to just add that to my list. :)