Over the weekend, my dad installed a new sink in my kitchen, and of all the projects we’ve done to my new house, this has to be my favorite. Having two basins and a faucet that rotates has made my life better, turned me into a calmer person. Not to mention cleaner — I stopped doing dishes about two weeks ago as a matter of principle until we got the new one installed.
Saturday evening, with the rest of the chores completed and my new sink waiting for me, sparkling, I decided to start tackling the big job of washing every plate and cup, pot and pan I had used and left waiting. I started at the front of the pile, washing tupperware tumblers and sticky silverware. I scrubbed a few bowls and plates, trying to remember what I had eaten on them several days before. And before I knew it, the dish drainer was full.
It was about 9:30 p.m. at this point, and though I desperately wanted to have the dishes done, to cross the job off the list, I was exhausted and decided to stop there for the night. I didn’t have to wash ALL the dishes done in one day. Afterall, it had taken me two weeks to get them all dirty. At least everything else was done. Or was it?
I walked past the laundry room and found two loads of clothes and towels that needed to be folded, and a few sweaters that needed to be put away. The sink project was not exactly finished either, come to think of it. My dad needed to do a little more work to solve a small leak in the plumbing. And then there are the thank you cards from Christmas that I still need to finish. Is one month too long to get them mailed? Plus, I’m also in the middle of about five books. All of them great, none of them finished.
Sometimes, all I want to do in a day is get things done. Like today at work, I kept getting new projects added to my list, and none of the old ones were being completed. In fact, when I go in tomorrow, I’ll be right back in the middle of many tasks. That feels frustrating to me at times.
Getting things done, however, has become too high of a goal for me, and for a lot of us moderns. And in the process of getting a lot of things done, we hardly take a minute to think about what it is we’re really doing, or what effect it’s having on us or those around us. Sunday at church, my Sunday School class talked about the lack of love we demonstrate toward one another because we’re too busy doing things. And one of the biggest impediments in my quest for Sabbath rest is trying to finish things up that I didn’t get done on Saturday.
Leaving things undone has become a kind of spiritual discipline for me. My worth, my identity, is not dependent on the things I do. I am measured by who I am becoming in Christ, how HE is completing his work in me. Likewise, if I can never relax until my to-do list is finished, then I will never find the true rest Jesus offers through his finished work on the cross.
Tonight is looking pretty good for getting to the bottom of the two-weeks worth of dishes I stockpiled. But don’t worry, there will be more dishes after dinner. And if they have to wait until tomorrow, that’s ok, too.