God can quiet your spirit even while gluing hair on a caterpillar.
It’s been one of the busiest seasons for me personally in ministry, maybe you can relate. On this one particular day projects were piling up, my inbox was full and there were lots of calls to return. When I looked at my calendar I saw that I was supposed to be volunteering in both my kindergartner and second grader’s classrooms. This was probably the busiest day I had all month. And I was so tempted to call their teacher and explain that I just couldn’t make it today. But knowing how much my kids look forward to me being in their classroom I decided I would go. After all, I had made a commitment.
I was rushing through the projects my child’s teacher had asked me to do, and I was excited because I thought I’d be able to get out of there early—after all I had a ton to do. And then she sweetly asked me if I could do one more thing.
“Could you glue this yarn to the caterpillar in the hallway?”
“I’m sorry, could I what??”
Okay, now I’m not talking about one piece of yarn, I’m talking about gluing 100s of tiny pieces of yarn to the six-foot paper caterpillar on the wall. The one that I knew would be removed from the walk in two weeks. The one that sticky little hands would be playing with as they walked down the hallways each day.
“Why, I’d be happy to!” I heard myself saying before I realized it.
It was quite a site. I had glue stuck to my hands, my arms, my clothes, yarn was everywhere—everything was sticky as I glued one string at a time to this very hungry caterpillar.
I settled in for what promised to be a tedious task. That’s when there was this moment, I felt a sense of quiet for the first time all day. It was such a mindless task, but in those 30 minutes of gluing yarn, I was quiet enough to listen. To realize that maybe God gave me this job to quiet my spirit for a brief moment. Maybe this was really a gift, a calm before the storm of projects I needed to do. A way for me to refocus, to remember my priorities, to remember that I can’t do the things I need to do in my own strength.
I finished up and left feeling refreshed, ready to get back to work. I think I was more productive after my caterpillar craft than before.
Did you know that research shows we are actually more productive when we have intense effort for shorter periods of time (45-90 minutes), followed by intentional rest and recovery; and ultimately more productive than moderate, continuous effort for a stretch of hours? (Taken from The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz.)
It’s so easy to get frustrated when things seem to get in the way of our own agenda. When our kids need something, and our first reaction, is I just don’t have time for this. When we are stuck in traffic, or there is a particularly long line in the grocery store, because the person in front of you has 17 items in the “10 item only” check out line. You know, you counted.
Maybe these hiccups throughout the day are really little reminders for us to slow down. For us to refocus on God, to refocus our priorities, to remember that God can speak to us even while gluing hair on a caterpillar.
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