Choosing Inefficiency

That title makes me cringe. Seriously. I actually just did a little shudder as I looked at it again.


I hate inefficiency.


I also don’t like that it bothers me so much...which means, depending on how we do the math, that my dislike for disliking inefficiency makes me dislike it even more.


But anyway…


As Brooke and I have been working through these first six months of new home ownership, the “to do” list has been growing at an exponential rate. For every box we check, it feels like we’re becoming aware of 5 or 6 or 10 more that need to be added to the list. And while we’re genuinely loving the process, there are times where my western mind has kicked in and said, “there must be a better way!”


Back in April, we started to have the “divide and conquer” conversation. “If you do this while I do that, maybe we can start getting more of these boxes checked.” You know...efficiency!


But I could tell Brooke wasn’t wild about the idea for some reason, and there was honestly a part of me that felt a little off as well. Like maybe I was just trying too hard or something. But it just made so much sense. There’s only so much time, we have all this work to do...we just need to buckle down and get to it.


Fortunately, when we decide that we want to try to live our lives by walking with God, we start to ask Him questions that we wouldn’t have thought to ask before. Admittedly, I still struggle with this at times because it feels like either I shouldn’t be bothering Him with the small stuff (you know, God’s got a lot going on and all that), or that a grown man should be able to make decisions about things like this without having to get a bunch of input. Thankfully, I’m learning neither of those things are true. I’m never a bother...in fact, God wants to talk to me about anything and everything that I’d ever want to talk to Him about. And I’m not supposed to have it all figured out and under control. There’s no shame in asking questions or seeking guidance or just getting a second opinion.


So I asked. And as usual, His answer was brilliant.


“You’re better together right now. Joining your souls in work and projects will pay greater dividends than completing tasks right now. Grow into your house together. The work’s not going anywhere for quite a while, and your relationship is more important than the work.


Move at the pace of your relationship, not the work.”


Move at the pace of your relationship, not the work.


Dang!


It was so simple, and so breathtakingly profound at the same time.


And so over the last few months we’ve deliberately chosen inefficiency. [cringe!] And it’s really been pretty great for the most part. I mean, I’m new enough at this that doing 3 things instead of 1 still sounds like the better choice most of the time. But the times that we’ve chosen to join forces and do 1 thing together instead of 3 things apart have been so filled with laughter and conversation and joy that the value-add of togetherness completely outweighed the potential for greater efficiency.


And so we’ve started to do even more things inefficiently together. [cring!] We’ll run all the errands together instead of splitting them up. We’ll pick a day and drive to work together, even though it means leaving the house earlier than one of us would otherwise need to, and knowing that it’ll necessitate coordinating the return trip when the workday is over.

And just to be clear, this is still wildly disruptive and unnatural for me. The cringing is still a reality, even as I write this.


But it’s worth it. I’m learning a better way. Because the work will always be there. As soon as we mow, dust, vacuum, buy groceries, or do the laundry, it’s time to do it again. But most of the time when we choose to do those things together...to move at the pace of our relationship rather than the work...we get to experience a moment that more than compensates.


I’m learning to not be so efficient. And it’s...[cringe]...good.


If you still need a little more encouraging, let me offer this. A mentor of mine, Morgan, had a similar experience and wrote about it here. I’d encourage you to check out “Did Jesus Wear Flipflops?” and then take some time to ask God if there’s any place in your life that might benefit from a little inefficiency. I promise you, the joy is worth it.

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