Permission to Pause; Permission to be Unproductive

Permission to Pause; Permission to be Unproductive

I’ve lived almost my entire life in Colorado, and everyone here knows the weather can be unpredictable. We can get snow as early as September and as late as May. This year, with only two days left in school, my kids received a snow day. It was unreal. The snow piled up on our patio table measured nearly 12 inches. One day prior, my trees were blooming with flowers. The next, they were bent over due to the weight of the snow. To say it was a disruption would be an understatement. It was permission to pause and permission to be unproductive. Two things I know very little about.

The Lists

The end of the school year comes with a mile long list of things to do, gifts to give, and places to be. There is very little margin for the ‘unplanned’ things…like a snow day. Therefore, I knew what I was to work on, tackle, and accomplish. But now, stuck at home with three kids, I felt uncomfortable. My inner report card maker was freaking out. My heart, my wiring, is to help. To save. To do. I wanted to complete my list for the day. I wanted to go out and save my trees. Nevertheless, the list was going to have to wait, and as it turned out, the trees didn’t actually need my help. On the Arbor Day Foundation blog, I read the following:

“It can be disheartening to see your tree’s branches bent over with the weight of snow and ice, but it’s important to avoid shaking its limbs. Branches are actually more flexible than they look, and trying to knock off snow can cause them to snap back and damage the tree’s circulatory system.”

The Disruption

My superwoman cape was desperately trying to jump out of my closet and tie itself around my neck. I uncomfortably walked away from the window, away from my lists and found myself in the hallway outside my kids’ bedrooms. Although my “master plan” had my kids moving to new bedrooms later in the summer, collectively, we decided today was the day. The joy meter was screaming, YES! As the day progressed, I felt pulled between what was bringing life and excitement into my home and the worry and fear of what the report card would read at the end of the day.

While there is beauty and goodness in my wiring to help- to save- to do, I became curious as I found myself continuously at my window, checking on the status of my trees. I began to ask myself a few questions:

  • Am I unaware of how flexible I am when I’m feeling weighed down by the expectations from others and from myself?
  • Could I be enabling the growth and the strength in those I love, by swooping in for the save?
  • What if I became intentional about weaving my wires with my Father so that my helping, saving, and doing is in line and in time with His?

The Pause

When the work of moving ceased, my breath was caught by how my Father, God, would speak to my heart through HIS plan for my unplanned day. The gift of each of my three kids settling into their new rooms. A new arrangement of their furniture. To see the smiles on their faces. To see each of them in a new light…literally…was almost magical. While sitting in my bed and reflecting on their joy, I pondered the simplicity of what took place. Each of my kids took what they had, put it in a new space with a new view, and it brought them excitement. It brought them a new sense of pride and joy.

The unplanned snow day provided me the opportunity to pause. To be unproductive. To be reminded that as summer comes, I can create a new space, a new arrangement, a new view that can bring me excitement. Bring me a sense of pride and joy. Above all, it’s not found on a list. It’s not found on the to-do’s, the must-do’s, or even the wanna-do’s. There is no pressure. Maybe I will start with my bedroom too. Moving things around. Bringing in new light and a new view. One that invites me to pause, to be a little unproductive and to continue to be curious about the flexibility of others and myself.

The Invitation

Will you join me in a little exchange? Exchanging our superwoman capes for a blanket of grace. Exchanging our lists filled with pressure and productivity for space and the opportunity to be present to our hearts. To receive from a Father who is generous and wants to lavish His love and His goodness over us. Yes God! Let’s rearrange! Bring in the light! Bring in the joy!

Robin Pantusa

Robin lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband and three children. She taught kindergarten and first grade for ten years before making the choice to stay home and care for her children. She enjoys the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the laughter of dance parties with her family. Robin finds life in honest and vulnerable conversations and in the partnership of writing with her Father.

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