Stopping Production


I’m a producer, not the hollywood kind with boatloads of money but the sort who hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until she’s half asleep but not yet in bed.

About a month ago I got a much needed massage and the therapist asked me about my relaxation techniques.  “What do you do to relax?” 

“Oh well every afternoon while the kids are resting I watch TV and crochet or catch up on blogs and writing.”

“Right but when do you still yourself and release your tension and just “be?”

“Uh… never, yeah my hands are constantly in motion all day long, I don’t know how to sit still.  I read sometimes.”

“But you’re still doing something?”

“Yeah, always… always doing something.”

I’m a goer, a doer, a producer.  I like to make and create with food, yarn, paint, fabric or words and I feel that a moment that passes without production is a moment wasted, squandered.

Yet lately I’m coming to realize (yes somehow it took me 31 years) that this rhythm of constant production is draining me on a deep, aching level.

I always plan for double duty; driving and making a phone call, sewing and catching up on TV, cooking and texting.  Even when I play with my kids I make plans to do something else simultaneously, which is crappy of me. I rarely feel like I’m fully where I am, rather always living some sort of half life here and there.

I need only turn to the first book of the bible to remind myself that I’m completely ignoring my operating manual.  The world was created with a rhythm of dark and light, work and rest, a time to produce and a time to stop production, to recharge that which has been drained in the busying and creating.

Even those who create must renew their resources, God did…. so where exactly do I think I’m getting off? Hmmm….

I know better, I’ve always known better, sabbath is a command that God takes pretty seriously but as a ministry family we do a terrible job at taking a non-Sunday day of rest.  Everything always seems like an opportunity to get ahead in life but these days I’m pretty sure that all of this “getting ahead” is putting us way behind, robbing us of depth and beauty and … peace probably.

I’m pretty sure it will make me twitch at first but sometime tomorrow I’m just going to sit on my deck and… nothing.  I’ll invariably start to imagine shapes in the clouds and hear at least two of my neighbors mowing their lawn but this stilling is going to take practice and I want to start in.

And I have a feeling that in the stillness, in the rustling of trees and the buzzing of the mowers… that God just might Show. Up.

  • Lacey Cowger

    Leanne,I never really met you or got to know you while you were here in Ada and going to H2o and that makes me a little sad because since you found me on twitter and I have started reading your blog, you seem to be a very interesting person. You have such a talent with writing! You have such a way of putting life into words! Keep on keeping on!!!

    • Leanne Penny

      Regrets as well Lacy! Thank you for the sweet comment, I’ll keep writing but keep reminding me 😉

  • Mark Allman

    I think others know if we are fully engaged with them or if we are multitasking while we are with them. We miss out if we don’t fully engage people and they do too. It takes hard work to be fully engaged with what ever you are doing. I think the benefits are great. I do think rest is important too. I think I have to give myself an amount of time that I must do that in order that I don’t run off on a tangent in my mind. I need to learn how to just relax too.

    • Leanne Penny

      Yes. I want people to be fully present w me but I’m sort pf a hypocritie with giving it.

  • Carol Hochhalter

    Hi, Leanne. I love reading your posts. This one reminded me of a book I’ve been reading which is directed to artists: “The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse” by Michael Gungor. He writes about the need for rest and quiet… which is a real trick in the busy mothering years! You might appreciate the book! Blessings on you and yours!

    • Leanne Penny

      This one MUST go on my list Carol thank you!!

  • Stephanie Butenhof

    I made up something silly in a story the other day, about “listening with your eyes.” After I said it a couple of times, I realized – I don’t listen with my eyes when my kids are talking to me. I’m always watching TV, writing, or reading at the same time. So I’ve been trying to make it a point to “listen with my eyes” for the last few days, and not always have some piece of technology in my hands.
    I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I’ve just let myself “be.” I don’t ever just meditate, and think about things like I should.
    So I’m trying to do that, too. I’m glad I’m not the only one. :)