I love Anne Ortlund. For those of you who don’t know of her, she’s a noted Christian author from the 70’s and 80’s.
I have a special connection with her because she “discipled” or spiritually mentored a woman named Jen. Jen later discipled me during my time with the Navigators Campus Ministry at the University of Missouri.
Jen had a profound impact on my life, teaching me to know God and study His word in new ways. She also gave me some of Anne’s books. In Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman, which I highly recommend and love, Anne compiles a list of 22 productive things to do when you’re tempted to “dawdle or watch T.V. indiscriminately.” I would add to that “waste time on the internet.”
Not that resting is a bad thing. It’s good and necessary, but we all know sometimes we aren’t intentionally resting… we’re being idle. This list is for those times.
This book was originally published in 1977, by a woman born in 1923. I considered updating the language, but decided against.
Anne’s words add a beautiful patina to the timeless discipline of making life count, moment by moment and day by day.
22 Productive Things to Do
- Memorize Scripture
- Look over your coming calendar, and prepare what to wear.
- Give yourself a pedicure.
- Write a list of your blessings.
- Walk around your house critically: adjust, rearrange, throw out, give away.
- Cook ahead for the freezer.
- Cream yourself all over.
- Read part of an important book.
- Clean out your cosmetics drawer.
- Write a letter to an old friend.
- Do your nails.
- Weed your garden.
- Bring your recipe file up to date.
- Encourage a Christian friend by telephone, someone you don’t usually call.
- Put all those old photos into albums.
- Take a walk in the park.
- Nap on a slant board, or with your feet up.
- Have a prolonged time talking with God:partly on your face before him on the floor.
- Polish the silver.
- Write a poem (don’t be silly; everybody does).
- Write your pastor an encouraging note.
I challenge you to choose something from this list to do when you’re tempted to idleness today. Tell us about it in the comments section.