Peace Over Productivity

By: Elisa John

Eighth grade was one of the most difficult years of my life. Numerous extracurriculars, a busy schedule, and an unbearable workload created an enormous weight to carry. The intense pressure, coupled with the lack of rest, negatively influenced every aspect of my life- especially my mental health. I felt stressed, emotionally drained, and completely burnt out. Even though I was constantly moody and tired, I still stubbornly pushed through, hoping my resolve would somehow be enough to alter my circumstances. Worst of all, I pushed God to the end of my agenda, exchanging sacred time with Him for a few extra minutes to complete assignments. I convinced myself that if I could just try harder, or just work longer, my exhaustion would miraculously disappear. In all the confusion and chaos, I neglected to wholly surrender my burdens to the One whose yoke is easy and burden is light.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. My education became entirely virtual, activities were postponed, and plans were cancelled. At first, it was extremely overwhelming to navigate these uncharted waters. However, God quickly showed me how essential this transition was to my spiritual maturity. The truth is, sometimes God uses the uncertain and the unstable to reveal His nearness and faithfulness on a personal, intimate level. Over time, I began shifting my perspective and recentering my priorities. I started reading my Bible again daily, and as a result, gained a renewed passion for my walk with Christ. My quiet time became an opportunity for God to prune away unnecessary distractions and mold my heart into a willing vessel. Instead of viewing quarantine as an obstacle, I realized what an incredible blessing it really was for me.

It was in quarantine that I decided to make Jesus my whole life instead of compartmentalizing His love when it’s convenient for me.

It was in quarantine where God instilled a burning passion in me to encourage others through my gifts.

It was in quarantine where I discovered just how essential and transformational rest is.

While my experience was challenging, it taught me that, more than accomplishing goals, completing work, or remaining busy, the most productive part of my day is resting in the presence of God.

With a global pandemic still deeply affecting us, countless individuals are wrestling with grief, suffering, and exhaustion. When faced with such overpowering circumstances, it’s all too easy to allow doubts, fears, and uncertainties to overwhelm us or even ignore the issue completely by masking the pain through busyness. Although this season feels like it has no end, remember that you were not created to bear the weight of the world on your own.

As terrifying as it appears, let down your guard, and invite Jesus to demolish strongholds that are preventing you from experiencing the beautiful promises Yahweh has in store for you. Spend time with God and witness firsthand how His Word becomes the living water that refreshes and replenishes your weary soul. Prioritize surrendering your agenda to Him, a simple, holy act of obedience that powerfully impacts our everyday lives.

Today, choose rest over rituals.
Today, choose faith over fatigue.
Today, choose peace over productivity.

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