Calculated Usefulness

“Randy lay there like a slug. It was his only defense.”

Jean Shepherd, A Christmas Story

I can really relate to Randy. It had been my intention to take a couple of weeks off of homeschooling and writing after Christmas to relax and get some work done. Entertaining visions of sitting in my cozy room, fingers furiously clicking on my keyboard keeping time with the rhythm of the rain lightly hitting my windows, I was sure I would not only get ahead on my blogging, but I’d be fully organized and ready to roll for a new term of schooling.

Instead, when the dust settled after Christmas I stole a move from ol’ Randy’s playbook. I became a slug. For a solid two weeks, my life looked a bit like this…

I was a little less fashionable, but my popcorn bowl was way bigger!

In those two lovely post-holiday weeks I got nothing noteworthy accomplished. Only out of necessity, I dragged my tushie off of the couch and graduated from slug mode to snail pace. We started our new term with me wandering about like an absent-minded professor, shuffling papers, losing my supplies, and totally winging it with our lessons.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks looking like this…

I was feeling rather bad about it the other day. My lack of productivity, of writing, of doing anything made me feel a wee bit guilty. Then I began reading Calvin Miller’s, Into the Depths of God. He discussed our tendency to hurry about, being enslaved by all of the busyness in our lives. Though many of our ‘duties’ revolve around our faith and ministries, Mr. Miller points out that:

God is never flattered by our sanctified exhaustion.”

Wow. The moment I read that sentence I suddenly looked on the last several weeks with fresh eyes. The truth is, my two week slug-fest gave me the opportunity to enjoy some much needed down time with my girls. We snuggled and talked, laughed and binge-watched T.V., forging sweet bonds of fellowship that will carry us through the next term of school. I had forgotten how important time like this is, time to connect with my kids as mom rather than teacher. It was refreshing.

These past weeks have also afforded me the time to read some amazing books that have given me much to ponder in my journey to the High Places. I’ve taken time to rest, thus easing the inevitable post-holiday fibro flare up.

As I reflect on it, my lack of busyness has been far from unfruitful after all. With the slowing down of my doing, I have been able to simply enjoy being. The relationships that matter most, with my Creator, my husband, my children, those have been revitalized.

Does this give me license then to be lazy? Good gravy, no! We are indeed called to be good stewards of our time. Mr. Miller goes on to say:

Since our days are owned by God, our stewardship must consider every second precious. Using time without regard to God is indeed to lose it. Whether we run to please the clock or we merely live as captives to its hassled demands, we have failed to understand that hurriedness is no substitute for calculated usefulness.”

Again, wow! ‘Calculated usefulness’. Isn’t that an insightful phrase? Whether we are rushing about in a season of productivity or settled on the couch in a season of rest, we can be deliberate in using it all for the glory of our Father. How freeing is that?

So, my friends, here I am, plugging along at a snail’s pace, back from my longer than anticipated absence. I hope you all had an incredibly blessed holiday season and that as you settle into the long winter season that you will live free of the ‘tyranny of the urgent’ and instead, live in calculated usefulness, finding ways to reflect our Father in all of your moments.

Grace and peace,



Photo credits:  Randy still from MGM’s, A Christmas Story.  Dog watching TV by Javier Brosch and Sisyphus snail by digitalista at Bigstockphoto.

7 thoughts on “Calculated Usefulness

  1. I missed you while you were gone, Rebeca, but say a big AMEN to all your reasons why this season of rest was necessary and purposeful. Thank you too for sharing the wisdom you gleaned from Calvin Miller’s book: “God is never flattered by our sanctified exhaustion.” ‘Wish I had been taught that years ago, rather than the multi-tasking, never-waste-a-minute strategies that were supposed to help us “make the most of every opportunity” to do good (Ephesians 5:16). I especially appreciated your conclusion about ” finding ways to reflect our Father in all of your moments.” THAT we can strive to do, whatever the moment brings: BEING more; not necessarily DOING more. Well done, Rebeca!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Nancy! I’ve missed you as well. I have a bit of catching up to do this weekend on my blog reading. I have several of your posts in my inbox, waiting for a spare moment and a hot cup of coffee! Blessings to you this week, my friend. ❤


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