How about this one… If you are like me and tend to define yourself by what you do, why not do less?
Shock. Faint. I can hear you fall on the floor from here. “But I love what I do.” Me too. But just because you CAN do something doesn’t always mean you SHOULD.
I understand this is one of those “swing the pendulum really far the other way” type approaches. I know this because even though I think it’s a good idea, at the end of the day I haven’t decreased what I am doing. This has become a must for me because the “to do” list never goes away. It will never go away.
Part of me takes great comfort in having things to do. Part of me longs for the freedom to just live (and btw, do along the way). Heck, when I really think about it, half the things I do aren’t all that significant anyway.
I submit the following piece of scripture which haunts me, partially because I know it is true and has the potential to be liberating. Partially because it pierces me for the truth it speaks of my own heart:
What do you benefit if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matthew 16:26
Is anything worth more than your soul? What is the cost of doing everything you do (and most of us are far from “gaining the whole world” through our many efforts)? Is it worth it?
Undoing the do-er #1: Do less.
As per popular request (well, it was only one person, but they requested strongly), I am finally getting around to posting something of substance from my recent solitude retreat…
So, pretty much everyone knows I am a “do” machine. In some ways, it’s ok – it’s how I am wired. In some other ways, it’s a sickness, driving me to always set to task, sometimes simply to accomplish ANYTHING. As I’ve wrestled with separating myself from what I do, I have come to learn a lot about myself. One thing I have come to realize is that I desire to not define myself by what I do. Rather, I want what I do to flow from who I am. See the important distinction?
Henri Nouwen says that believing “I am what I do” is one of the three main things that keeps us from believing we are God’s beloved. So, instead of accepting that God loves us, we strive to prove and earn God’s love by accomplishing for His sake.
Oddly, I don’t believe this lie because of what anyone else says. It’s not that I hear friends, family, or coworkers telling me i must DO. No, it is ME that says that – much more difficult to counteract! And, I logically know this isn’t true. But, the untruth lies embedded deep in my heart, resistant to being rooted out.
So dear readers, what do I do? How can I embrace the truth that I am God’s beloved simply because He loves me? I need not earn this love. I don’t have to prove my “lovability” – to God or anyone else. I have some thoughts, which I will share. But waht would you suggest? Again, I don’t need Bible verses. I know those – at least in my mind