“Productivity is looking more like Jesus.”

When I first heard my coworker and mentor utter these words last October, I was floored. After an agonizingly-long season of running myself ragged, my body and heart were exhausted.

With productivity as my mantra, I’d let childhood scars etch their way into my daily living–fear wasn’t as much of a feeling as it was a dwelling place. Like many of us, I was compelled to meet the worldly standards of productivity–always striving to be smart, strong, witty, put-together, classy, and godly enough to be loved. Yikes.

We (especially those who, like me, see themselves as an Enneagram 1) can get so wrapped up in achieving the next thing, that we forget what the aim truly is.

As I’ve taken steps to protect and improve my well-being the past few months, I’ve learned that productivity isn’t about establishing a great reputation or finding a godly husband or even reading more books of the Bible. Productivity is looking more like Jesus.

If we look more like Jesus today than yesterday, we’ve been productive.

If we’ve checked off all the boxes–streamlining ourselves for personal and worldly success–but don’t look more like Jesus. We’ve completely wasted our time. We’ve been lazy in every sense of the word.

In light of that definition, “productivity” can mean everything from running twelve miles to going to bed early; everything from making meals for a friend to eating cereal and reading your Bible alone. It all hinges on the question: will this draw me closer to the Lord and glorify Him?

I’m very much in-the-process of shifting my thinking in this way, and I’m thankful for all the ways (both subtle and not) that the Lord uses to remind me, “Psst…Hannah! See, you need me for this. You can’t do it all alone.”

Friends, when we know we are unconditionally loved by God, we are not compelled by the doing but are liberated in the being.

I love the words of 1 Samuel 12:22 that say, “For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own.”

Pleased to make you (that’s right: YOU!) His own. These words were spoken to the Israelites by the Prophet Samuel at the tail end of a speech that could’ve been titled: “Remember All These Terrible Things You’ve Done?” And since sin is still very much in vogue, the same harsh words could be directed toward us today.

When we know we are unconditionally loved by God, we are not compelled by the doing but are liberated in the being.

But the speech doesn’t end with rejection. It ends with mercy. Why? Because the Lord made the people His own, long before they’d accomplished anything of merit; and long before they’d cursed his name and wandered away. They were His. Period.

What This Means for Us

What the Israelites began to see and what I am beginning to see, is that we are wholly, fully God’s. We don’t need to waste our time trying to be anything else. Instead, we can toss worldly productivity out the window, knowing that we’ll only be satisfied and productive when we pursue the Lord and live as His chosen people.

Productivity is a wonderful pursuit, if we are defining it correctly. Let’s rest in God’s love and choose to be productive for the Kingdom. We are unconditionally loved and purposed for great works. Those two realities will only come into focus when we use these moments to refine us as sons and daughters of God.



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