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Clearing the Back Forty

There’s a phenomenon in our home that we like to call “chopping down a tree on the back forty.” I can’t even remember where we stumbled upon it, surely on some clever person’s social media. But the idea is, when you are having a big party, with tons of people coming over to your house, and your husband disappears for the day to cut down a tree on the back forty — the part of your land that nobody would ever see.

In real world terms, it’s vacuuming our your car before the party starts. Or organizing the garage. Or vacuuming the storage room. Or any list of things that nobody would ever see or consider. I also like to call it “procrastiductivity” — a time of hyper productivity when deep down you’re really procrastinating as hard as humanly possible.

Friends, the last two months of my life I have been chopping down trees on the back forty.

As many of you know, Mike and I were matched for our adoption recently. We are holding the details of that match closely, pondering them in our hearts until the time comes to share. And as we are preparing for a child to enter our home, it looks like I am being super productive. This many Amazon packages haven’t landed on our porch since we were wedding planning! All day, I read articles and compile lists and ask questions and do research. I am productive with a capital P!

But I am also procrastinating with a capital P. Just yesterday, as I was putting away some groceries, I thought, “I have to reorganize our pantry before the baby!”

Please know, I understand that our baby could not care less if our pantry is organized. Our friends will not peek into our pantry to judge us. But that pantry is my tree on the back forty.

My heart feels bruised. My emotions are in a constant state of whiplash. But I can control my pantry. I can neatly line up my oils and vinegars. Meticulously organize my seven kinds of flour (I promise, not an exaggeration). Every thing in its place as life itself feels out of place.

There’s grace on the back forty though. There’s peace in the pantry that I can’t find in the nursery right now. And that’s okay. Clearing the back forty gives us a place to breathe and cry and laugh and hope. When I feel myself going there, hiding in the wild woods, I must remind myself to lay down my chainsaw and rest. To wipe down my pantry shelves and breathe.

To put aside both productivity and procratination and just BE.


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