Ever since college, I’ve felt a bit guilty for reading unless everything in the house is spotless, dinner for that night is made and the next is planned, and nothing on my to-do list is calling out to me.
Now carry that over to television. I have the same complication with watching TV shows, except I have the added guilt of knowing I could be reading.
It’s ridiculous, I know. And yet, slowly but surely, I’ve become addicted to crossing things off my to-do list. I judge everything by how productive it would look on paper.
Lately I’ve found myself scrubbing baseboards late at night, then spotting my Bible on the coffee table unopened. This happens all the time. I keep thinking think if I just wash that sinkful of dishes or scrub the bathroom counter it will fulfill my pressing need to do things that matter.
And yet, I never identified with Martha in the story of Mary, Martha and Jesus. Jesus visits the two sisters; one bustles around making dinner and probably scrubbing the baseboards lest the Savior notice how grimy they’ve become. The other sits by him and listens to whatever he was saying that night.
I always thought I was Mary, because half my busyness is usually procrastination, so I don’t have to tackle the actual chores on my list. I assumed I would have sat at Jesus’ feet to avoid the effort of scrubbing dinner dishes. But I’ve always been wrong — or maybe I’ve changed since moving to a city where everyone is always busy.
With this in mind, I’m trying to kick this checklist addiction. My Bible has seen good use these last few mornings; the Lord has drawn me to himself before I tackle my list. He’s used the quiet mornings without work to reset my habits and show me how silly my priorities can be.
Seeing this has helped me re-think lists and rest. I even read several of G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown mysteries in the middle of the day. And yes, I still felt odd, but I don’t think my baseboards minded the break.
In that spirit, I decided to stick it to the god of productivity and watch an episode of Dr. Who before bed last night, just because I could. Seriously, if you saw this video in the morning, wouldn’t you be thinking about watching Dr. Who all day?