I remember telling someone in the summer of 2017 that I couldn’t wait until the coming November. There was nothing special circled on my November calendar, but this was in, like, June, when I was panicking over last minute mission trip preparations, lining up details for the following month’s trip to a youth conference, and working on whatever else that day required. Everything felt so strained. November, six months off, looked blissfully unhurried by comparison.
Then, of course, come November I felt just as strained as in June, and I think I told someone I couldn’t wait until May.
The days you think are coming aren’t. Those days when your calendar has fewer commitments on it and you can really just focus on the things that feel the most substantive–they’re an illusion.
We do our work in perpetual seasons of strain. If we’re smart we spread that strain out, because there’s no benefit in manufacturing panic for the sake of productivity. Strain is not panic, though. Strain is the ever-present push to do good work, a tautness on the rope of our vocation. We need it.
Our calling is to make the things we care about in the time we have. We wish we had more time, and we’re sure the thing would be better if there were fewer other things demanding our attention simultaneously. But if that were the case the thing wouldn’t end up being the thing we need; the strain of your other commitments gives this work character and flavor. That’s more interesting–and probably more helpful–than whatever it is you think you could make in a vacuum free of demands and pressure.
We want to see the strain in your work.