“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” ~Lao Tzu
Most anyone growing up in today’s cultures, especially in America and other Western nations, are pretty good about getting things done. Most of us realize that jobs are a good thing, which bring income, security, purpose, and a small community of sorts.
I have to admit, I’ve only worked a full-time job in the ‘real world’ for 3 years. Glad I did because it’s the window into what most of the ‘adults’ in my American culture experience for 40+ years of life. And then I’ve spent time with my grandma who stayed at home to raise her children, and another friend who’s in the throws of raising up great kiddos and ministering from her home. So there’s lots of angles, but it’s there. PURPOSE. Wrapped around what we do.
You meet someone, you ask, “What’s your name?” Ineviteably the next question is something like, “And what do you do?”
I’m a teacher. . . I’m a student. . . I’m raising my kids . . . I’m a nurse. . . I work at X . . . The second thing we ask about becomes a question of identity. Giving us the impression that what we do is a part of who we are. Therefore instead of being Nicole, I spent 3 years being a teacher, 4 being a college student, 3 being a wife . . . and none being . . . well, me.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love to teach, learn, and my husband. However, I’m much more than the work that I do with my hands. Or minds. I’m more than just a teacher. Because that doesn’t tell you why or how I do any of the teaching. By hearing I’m a teacher you might think I just want a cush job, or like kids, or enjoy passing on knowledge. I could be concidented, or calm, controlling, or lazy. There’s many things. And none of them tell you about me.
They don’t tell you that I’m loved, or broken, or Redeemed or engaged in living Life for Christ. And THAT is who I am.
I’m learning that I the things I do, the work I complete, the tasks I check off have nothing to do with who I am. I’m not valued by the size of a pay-check or anything I do! (Are you getting this?) And neither are you. NONE of us are the things that we do. We’re not.
Jehovah God has invited us into relationship with Him. The same way He invited David – you know, the guy who had sex with a woman who wasn’t his wife, then killed her husband, so he COULD marry her. Then his son from that same woman went on to pretty much screw up David’s kingdom.We’re invited the same way that Tamar was. The woman who slept with her father-in-law in order to save her family line (Genesis 38). Something I know nothing about – both sleeping with father-in-laws or trying to ‘save the family lineage’, but sounds scandalous to my ears.
And the way I’m seeing it, we’re invited into life. . . to BE . . . to be still . . . and to know our God. Like anytime you really seek to know someone or something, it’s about spending time. And resting in the fact that there is NOTHING that can be done to win the Other’s affection. And that’s the beauty of Christ. Because once we accepted Christ, no deeds or work or striving will get us closer to the Kingdom. to Him. to His favor. Nothing I DO matters. Nothing. So stop. Really. Quit trying, Nicole. Nicole, you can have a list of 10 things to do – send a thank you note, go for a run, make breakfast for Sean, mop mom’s floor, send pictures to a friend, call another friend, catch up with grandma, file taxes, and get stain out of shirt. You can do all those things and do them well. And what does it matter? What does it amount to? Great! Things are tidy, you’ve been nice to people, and helped a few out. But what does it matter? What difference does it make if I do it selfishly? If I do it to make myself feel good, stroke my ego, or look good in the eyes of others.
Ach! Just writing about it makes me tired. Instead, I’m choosing to be. I’m going to rest in the Lord. Practice thanksgiving. Notice the flowers. Delight in those female cardinals. Turn my face up to the sun. Sway with the breeze. And all that. And I’ll probably get my to-do list. I’ll still mop the floor, or make Sean breakfast. But it’s slow, people. it . . . is . . . slow . . . no . . . rush
and not rushed.
And much more likely to see the blessings of the Lord, to revel in them. To relish in Him. And I’m not stressed out if I don’t get everything done. I’m easeful if I get interrupted or stopped in my work. I welcome people calling or stopping or asking for something. I’m not hell-bent on my agenda. And it gives me room.
Gives us room. To breathe. And live. And find my worth in a King who gives True Life.