Have you read the book Hands Free Mama?
Full confession: I didn’t make it all the way through. If you have and you think I’m misrepresenting what it says, I hope you’ll let me know.
My concern is that by encouraging readers not to overvalue to-do lists and tasks, the book ends up undervaluing them.
Let me explain. In the “Hands Free Pledge” readers commit that they want “to make memories, not to do lists,” “to be overwhelmed by sunsets that give me hope, not by overloaded agendas that still my joy,” and to have “the noise of my life to be a mixture of laughter and gratitude not the intrusive buzz of cell phones and text messages.”
Now, I’ll confess that I started twitching at the criticism of to-do lists (which I happen to love), so maybe my problem with the book has something to do with my task-oriented personality.
What I keep coming back to, though, is the idea that biblical productivity does matter. We are called to be fruitful. Yes, we are to to be fruitful by teaching and loving our children, but also fruitful by making dinner, providing our families with a clean place to live, or making a meal for a new mom.
When I look at the Proverbs 31 woman or the Titus 2 woman, I see women who are busy with good things. If I am busy with facebook, that is a problem (and, yes, it is a problem for me). And if I am so busy with serving other people that I don’t take time to sit at the feet of Jesus or teach my own child, that is probably an instance of misplaced priorities, too. But sometimes stewarding my time well means making a to do list and getting busy!
We’re called to be fruitful. And sometimes being fruitful means saying “no” when your child asks you to read a book because you need to serve her and her dad by finishing dinner. Sometimes it means saying no to dancing in the rain to write an email to a family member who needs encouragement. Sometimes it means training your child to play alone quietly so you can call the doctor’s office without (too many) interruptions (can you guess what we are working on in the Harris home right now?).
I know I need to work on putting away my computer to give more undivided attention to my child. But as we put down our phones, iPads, and notebooks, I hope we don’t put down the good tasks we are called to do. Because we are called to be joyful and fruitful.