This week I bought canned chicken.
That’s kind of a big deal for me. I’m not a health nut, but I like to think myself on the healthier end. And definitely not one who buys something like canned chicken when I could easily buy fresh chicken breasts and cook them up. (Come on, that’s what crockpots are for.)
But I came to a point where the thought of actually trimming the chicken breasts, plopping them into the crockpot with some broth and shredding them 6 hours later was too much. If I were a young mother of toddlers, or especially of a baby, this would make sense. If I suffered some debilitating illness, this would make sense. If I were almost anyone but a young, happily married, childless woman who works only 30 hours a week, this would make sense.
But I am that person.
You see, it wasn’t that I couldn’t muster up the energy to cook chicken if I really wanted to. It was that I was only too aware of my low energy reserve, and I needed to conserve it for more important tasks. That reserve didn’t use to be so low, but it seems to have been steadily depleting despite the fact that all of the blood tests declare me perfectly healthy. Nowadays I make it through about half of what I used to. Whereas the idea of writing after dinner seemed a great idea several months ago, now I flop on the couch for yet another movie because my energy reserve is already empty.
Guys, the ugly truth is: I derive my worth from my productivity. I’m working on not being so much that way, but my to-do list really is the measure of me. And what’s more, being a dreamer and not having energy to work on said dreams is rather discouraging.
So here I am making chicken salad sandwiches from canned chicken. And all those nasty expectations roll around in my head about how “normal” people could get so much more done, and “normal” people work more hours and still have time for hobbies, and “normal” people are just so much better than me.
But somehow the grace of God touched my thoughts, and I made a mental shift. I made peace with myself. Beating myself up for not having energy was not helping one ounce. Being kind to myself might be worth a try.
And so I did. I refused to feel bad about my canned chicken, and I refused to feel bad that I wasn’t living up to my silly expectations of how much I needed to accomplish.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Jesus
God really values rest. He commands us to do it, in fact. And this Jesus who was about to free us from the law, says that his yoke is easy. So I wonder if, at the end of the day, instead of asking, “How much did I get done today?” I ought to ask, “Who was I today?”
I have a feeling He will be more pleased with a day lived with grace and love, than a day pushed to exhaustion over unimportant tasks.