I am a “seize the day” type of guy. I love to squeeze out every bit of drop from my day. In fact, I find it hard to enjoy down time – to breathe, to reflect, to pray. Oftentimes, I find these moments to be unproductive. I could be sending off another email. There is a phone call that is urgent (so I think). The completion of another task will satisfy that incessant desire for fulfillment. It is not uncommon for me to evaluate the productivity of my day based on the number of items checked off a list. In other words, effectiveness is defined as busyness.
Johnny Diaz recently penned a new Christian song titled Breathe. The chorus reads:
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
This notion has two implications for me. First, it is personally convicting. Christ calls me to “be” not principally “do.” I am called to take moments to cultivate my relationship with him. Without consistent moments throughout my day, I become wound up with tasks and duties, only to find myself becoming irritated at the end of the day. Attempts to detangle cannot simply be left to a devotional life or worship service; it requires constant spiritual breathes to reflect on God’s working in my life – to pause, to wait, to seek.
Second, it is necessary as a leader. Leadership requires vision-casting and decision-making. Effective leaders are productive. In fact, the more productive, the better the leader. Phrases such as high capacity, organizational efficiency, and managerial greatness are tossed around, used to compliment those leaders that accomplish the most around us. Oh, the standard that we elevate! Granted, it is not wrong to be efficient. In fact, I would argue it is good stewardship. However, productivity at the expense of spiritual passion and health is improper and eventually destructive. If not corrected, it leads to pride, burnout and the objectification of those around us.
The remedy? Consistent moments to stop the busyness and breathe.
It is vital to create personal sacred space throughout our day to realign with our Lord. Truth be told, it is more efficient. Hurriedness leads to mistakes, oftentimes resulting in a need to do something over. When we do not prayerfully think through priorities and vision, we become misaligned, finding ourselves focused on the wrong things. Or, worse yet, a void of reflective prayer elevates tasks over persons, tempting us to steamroll people in order to feel productive at the end of our day. In other words, effectiveness should be defined as prayerful and reflective work, not simply more work. Leaders who practice such discipline are healthy, grounded, and properly focused. And ultimately, they create an attraction that allows others around them to equally find that sacred space and productivity.
So just breathe.