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Doing vs being

May 28, 2012

After several long days of work, I usually look back and realize that my time was full of working, and working, and trying to produce something, and trying to be useful. How many times do you answer “how are you?” with “ah, busy”? Most of the time. We feel good to be useful. We feel bad when we are idle; well, maybe not for some people. We want to contribute, and to matter to others. It is good to be needed.
All I know is when I am busy tending things, I get thirsty. Missing my time with God for several days may translate to anxiety, losing direction, or simply barren. I do not bear fruit. Sometimes, I wonder if what I do is what God wants.

Out of curiosity, I googled “busy anxiety” to find how busy-ness relates to anxiety. To my surprise, it is recommended that people stay busy to avoid having anxiety. Oh my.

“Be busy and do something, since activity keeps your mind off your anxiety. When you wake up in the morning, start doing something right away, and keep busy all day. Cleaning the house, washing the dishes or working in your garden, reading, studying, meditating, or exercising your body can help you keep your mind away from anxiety.” (in one of the tips to overcome anxiety)

Being busy does not mean overcoming the anxiety, just ignoring and repressing it. There is still tumult within a person’s heart.

I listen to this song daily to be reminded of what God really wants from me, from us:

Busy, busy me. Full of self-sufficiency. I have tried so fervently to earn Your love.
But any job that I once found is wearing off, is winding down. And I can hear You in the madness calling out.
When You say, “Come, rest”, should I be working so hard. When You say, “Love, rest”, did you want my hands or my heart?
Cause I have done my best, and still I miss the mark. But I remember You said it’s done.
So I come.
So convinced that it was right, adding weight to what was light.
Seeking value in Your sight, but I was wrong.
For all the labor I have done, is but a candle to the sun. I can see that it would never measure up.
~ Come Rest, Lindsay McCaul

I understand being productive is considered a value in the society. We value productivity and output. What have you done? What is your impact? In some cases, we make ourselves busy to ignore the other side of our life that is painful.

“How much we get done and how well we can do it are the benchmarks of a good day or professional success. The more efficiently we produce, the better we feel. The downside, however, is that continued good feelings depend on keeping up the momentum of doing more. This doesn’t come without a cost. What is sacrificed in the whirlwind of too much doing is often our personhood, as well as our relationship with others.”

~from Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy by Leslie Vernick

God reminds us that it is more important to be in tune with Him, the One who creates us and knows us more than we know ourselves. “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” ~Matthew 16:26
The story of Mary and Martha is told over and over because of its surprising note on what is important in God’s eyes. When Jesus came to Lazarus’ house, the two sisters–Martha and Mary–were there. Martha quickly got busy in preparing for the meal and serving the guests. This is comparable to we getting busy in work, including service work. Mary, on the other hand, stay at Jesus’ feet, and wiped His feet with oil. Jesus valued what Mary did, and pointed out that she chose the right thing to be close with her Savior first and foremost, and not worry about doing. “Jesus recognized this when He reminded Martha that her life was taken up with many secondary needs, but her greatest need was that which Mary acknowledged: the words of eternal life.”

A friend told me several times, “You can’t just keep running for the next thing. There will _always_ be work. Otherwise, life will just be a series of todos.” I am guilty of missing out on the gifts God gives every day. I do live in the future, always looking for the next thing.

I know though, that whenever I am back to God, I am filled with unspeakable peace and faith–that I am right where He wants me to be.
Then His guidance and wisdom becomes my path and light. I can move on, to the right direction. It is not about me, what I can do and achieve, but about acknowledging God’s power and letting Him use us for His glory. But first and foremost, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.” ~Matthew 6:33

May these words of God be blessing to your soul..

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light. ~Matthew 11:28-30

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” ~John 14:27

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