Many have pointed out the irony of being called ‘human beings’ in a culture that is so focused on ‘doing’. Many, myself included, have found their worth, meaning, identity through what they do. Strangers are introduced and ask one another, “so what do you do?” The child comes home from school, and the parent asks, “what did you do today?” The husband says to the wife, “what have you been doing?” It’s fine if what you did was get an A on a paper, close a million-dollar deal, or promote world peace. Not so nice if what you did was change dirty diapers, get in a fight with a friend, or file for bankruptcy. Is it any wonder that many of us struggle with perfectionism, workaholism, and, in the absence of peak-performance, depression.
I must take a minute at this point to say, like Paul, that in the world of ‘over-doing’ I have been ‘chief of sinners’. I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I am not accustomed to being still. That is probably an understatement. I won’t focus this whole post on what I have ‘done’, but let me just illustrate my point. I am that mom who while holding a full-time teaching position, trained for and ran a half-marathon, baked cinnamon rolls and tortillas from scratch, clipped coupons, and made all my children’s clothes (just kidding on that last one). You get the point. I have got doing down. To a fault. I often do when I don’t want to feel, or need to be in control, or when I am angry or afraid. It is my (and your?) way of avoiding the interior me — the human being.
So, two years ago, when my health began to shift and I suddenly found myself unable to do all the things I like to do, I started to be. It was pretty ugly. I began to be angry, and scared, and depressed, and worried, and sad, and bored. I didn’t even like to be with me. I was downright whiny — and this momma has never done whiny!
My strategy to cope with this was, of course, to do something! I applied for all kinds of jobs where I could do less! (It’s funny now, but at the time, I was committed to finding a solution!) I spent about six months doing that and got an interview and an offer to do, shockingly, more! And then,….and then….a solution was provided that I didn’t have to do anything for! My husband was offered a position that would require an interstate move and that would provide me with some time to just be. And here we are. Being.
In my Bible reading this morning I noticed these words, “You are the salt of the earth….you are the light of the world.” Jesus was saying these words to his disciples. He didn’t say “Be the salt of the earth.” Or, “be the light of the world.” He said we are, which is, for all you English geeks out there, a form of be. My (your) identify is not dependent on what I do. My identity is firmly planted in Christ. I am His.
I enter this time of rest and be-ing chanting this mantra, “I am His. I am a human, being His.” I will pray that you find some space to just be today, too.