‘What is your goal?’ Mirjam van der Vegt asked in a radio-interview. I had tuned in when I read on Facebook that she would be on air. I have come to appreciate this woman more and more and when she mentioned that she was writing a book about rest, I was intrigued. Taking rest is quite a challenge for me. My thoughts are not easily stopped, actually constantly racing. I am distracted at every turn and regularly run down a new ‘bunny trail’, as my Love calls my side roads from the subject. Also my body tends to constantly move.
In retrospect, it only makes sense that I ended up in a burnout twice (as a staying-at-home-mum for crying out loud) and at the beginning of the lockdown, when suddenly five children stayed in our house, I got those symptoms again. Then I made arrangements just in time. But, what is it with peace? What is it with pressure? Why is it so hard to take a break, especially if you have many tasks in a day? Turns out I’m not the only one struggling with this.
So, what is your goal? Mirjam van der Vegt asked. If your goal is to make it to the top, achieve that one success, get that one job done, get that book in the bookstore, that song on YouTube, that blog on the Internet, that product on the shelves, get that kid to do his homework, produce that recipe excellently, undertake that journey without error and name your own goal for today, then taking rest is a lot more difficult than if your goal is: to love.
I think about it for a moment and remember what she wrote in her book, which I’m currently reading: ‘Judge the day by what you sow, not by what you reap.’ A friend wrote a song about this and it pops up regularly ever since.
Van der Vegt encourages me to write down three things I have sown every day. I decide to do that in the morning, when I take my quiet time and start my day by writing: ‘Yesterday…’. Usually I write down some things that I did where I can thank God for or – more often – where I can pray for. Now I write: ‘Yesterday I sowed…’ and can write down some things wherein I gave love to people around me, where I took a step to become a better person, a better musician, a better writer. I also remember things I would rather not have sown. Words that were hurtful, actions that were unloving and selfish. When I think about it for a moment, I realize that I have indeed sown and I give thanks for what is beautiful and ask forgiveness for what was not good.
What is your goal today? Do you have to finish your list, or is it enough to do what your hand finds to do this day with attention and love? I decide I’m not going to focus on my todolist today. My goal is to live and love (and write a blog, and that’s what happened just now).
First published in Dutch October 28, 2020