All of us long to be more productive. We map out our days, read the latest books on time management and simplify our computer screen to be distraction free. However, our surface changes go back to the same bad habits after a week. What if productivity wasn’t tied into a software program, but a heart problem? What if the lack of productivity had more to do with the lack of confidence in ourselves?
Surprisingly, our lack of focus is tied to our need to be validated, loved and the best – it’s tied to our perception of self and our perception of God. Many times, our stagnancy is due to the fear of success, not failure. Marianne Williamson said it best, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are more powerful beyond measure. It is light, not darkness that frightens us…” Failure is inevitable; however, we must learn to fail forward and understand that the strength of God rests upon us. Too many times, we settle in our failure and find comfort in stagnancy. It protects us from risk. However, it also cheats us from living out our purpose. Dwelling in failure occurs because we choose to believe the lies and live up to their expectations.
However, if we truly want to overcome our lack of productivity, then we need to reevaluate our self-perception – we need to define what is keeping us stuck.
Below, are three common struggles that keep us from reaching our goals. As you go through the list, identify the one that resonates with you the most. Ask God to give you the strength to see yourself as He sees you. Make the choice to no longer fall prey to these addictions.
Addiction 1: We Need to be Validated
It’s 3 AM and we’ve refreshed our Instagram for the hundredth time. “Come on, just one more follower – just one more like and we can finally call it a day.” Our eyes are glued to the screen – desperately praying for that last stranger to provide validation. In the middle of the night, we’ve become like Pavlov’s dogs – salivating at the sound of the latest notification and finding our identity in a stranger’s confirmation. However, our hunger is never satiated. We close our eyes – disappointed with our numbers and disgusted with ourselves. In those midnight hours, we allow “Like” buttons to determine our sense of worth.
Social media can either serve our audience with value, or box us in a never-ending cycle of seeking validation. This addiction is robbing us from productivity and keeping us stagnant. I’m not saying that we have to delete our social media platforms and live off the grid, but I am saying that we are faced with the daily temptation to conform and disengage from our calling. Our need to be validated, stops us from being a unique voice.
Addiction 2: We Need to be Loved
We all remember grade school and our first experience with a bully. Mine was during 3rdgrade when two girls called me four-eyes all afternoon and gathered the troops to repeat the incessant chant. Elementary school wasn’t easy for me. I used to love eating with the teacher because I was able to engage in interesting conversation and find safety from the bullies. However, I thank God for the experience. I’m not advocating bullying, but I am saying that having a rough childhood gave me the ability to ignore the haters and live out my calling without consulting the crowd.
We all need to fight against bullying, but we need to do more than that – we need to live in the truth and refuse to believe the lies. There will always be haters; however, there will always be the Holy Spirit as well. According to 1 John 4:4, “…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Productivity occurs when we understand the strength of our faith and who holds our future.
Addiction 3: We Need to be the Best
Disney movies gave us the confidence to conquer giants, travel the world and fight dragons, but they also gave us the false idea that we could do EVERYTHING. Yes. We have the ability to do anything that we can set our minds to; however, this does not equate to doing everything. When we try to compete with one another and one-up others, we waste our energy, our time and our resources. Productivity is also a healthy perception of oneself – it’s living in the reality of our strengths and weaknesses and being confident in our identity.
The poet John Donne said it best when he stated, “No man is an island.” When we refuse other’s help, we operate in a stance of pride and defeat. We’re incapable of doing everything ourselves, which is why it’s imperative to delegate tasks, defer to others on your team and meet with a mentor.
Our need to be the best robs our team of giving us their best.
Friends, let us choose to be men and women who refuse to be “addicted”. There will always be people in our life who don’t validate us, love us or think that we’re the best; however, God’s purpose in you is greater than other’s perception of you.