Doing vs. Being: Discovering a New Way to Rest

FullSizeRenderI love to do. 

Ok, honestly, I love lazy days on the couch binge-watching Netflix and surrounded by the trash that once held my junk food just as much as the next guy. In fact, I did a lot of that this past weekend. But even then, encompassed by my lack of motivation, I feel super antsy I’m not doing something. 

I have about 1,097,742,644 task lists.

I have several I haven’t even seen in years in my “Notes” app, a multitude in Wunderlist, several neglected through the iPhone’s “Reminders” app, and I also have Evernote and massive amounts of scribbled-on scrap paper in every bag or pocket I possess.

And don’t get too overwhelmed, I don’t use those consistently. In fact, I’m currently using none consistently!

What is this obsession we humans have with constantly checking things off the list or running like chickens with our heads cut off? Or is it just me?

I’m stressed from constant running, but I’m fed up with being lazy, trying to recover.

I’m sure you’ve heard just as often as I have that we’re human beings not human doings.

I agree.

IMG_0803But for some reason we’re taught how to do and rewarded for what we do a lot more often than for who we are or how we are. We’ve made stronger associations with doing things, checking off tasks, or certain productivity levels more than we’ve made associations with understanding how and who we are.

This is especially true of anyone who leans even slightly perfectionistic in one way or another.

And I don’t lean that way – I’m all in!

When the Plan Doesn’t Work

When God told my husband and I to pick up and move to another city, find whatever jobs we could, and wait for him to give us a plan, we were terrified and excited.
The terrified part was only because we didn’t have a plan. We knew he wanted us to start a church, but we didn’t know any details. And the details we thought we had figured out did not work out even close to how we expected.

IMG_0002When we first moved, we felt we needed to rest for a brief season – get accustomed to our new life in a new place and working new jobs. Then the loose plans we had in place blew up in smoke, and we jumped even further into our thought: “this must be a time off to refocus and rest and figure things out.”

That was true, but that is hard for a personality like me!

I’m a do-er to the max. I thrive on productivity. I never feel like I have enough done. I want to do it all and do it all well. I need a plan, and I need to see progress on that plan.

Not to mention, the things in life I’m passionate about had to take a back burner or shut down completely for us to navigate through this new season of “rest” and “refocus.”

Suddenly I was struggling to see my purpose – even if it was just for a short season.

All throughout the Bible we’re advised to wait on the Lord – I mean, it’s everywhere. If the Bible says something that often, we probably need to pay attention.

Waiting Differently

FullSizeRender-1I had a leader tell me once when I was younger that waiting doesn’t mean sitting around, twiddling your thumbs, waiting on something to suddenly happen. He encouraged us to think of waiting in the same way a waiter or waitress does at a restaurant. In that context, waiting on someone means serving them. Thus, translated to this context, waiting on the Lord could very well mean serving him.

If there is something we feel we’re waiting on him for, maybe we need to find ways to serve him in the process. Maybe it’s not about doing the serving, but about being the servant; and in the whole process of figuring that out, we become the person He made us to be or are led to where he intends us to be.

“Where you are is always an opportunity to model Jesus.” Mike Breen, Building a Discipling Culture

Being Stripped of the “To-Dos”

So I went through this short period of not know who I was or my purpose or what this time in life was actually about. I mean, the being still and resting thing really threw me off. But I have grown so much through the process. And this is why:

When I was stripped of being able to do all the doing and forced to start learning how to be, it resulted in rediscovering my truest, deepest passions and callings.

I discovered not only who I truly am called to be and where my fulfillment comes from, but I also learned of smaller, everyday passions which were missing.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:4, NLT

Working Out of Rest 

We shouldn’t have to wait until we’re forced into stillness or rest or waiting – even though we can and do learn much from those times. We should be able to work out of rest, rather than rest because we’re exhausted from our work.

If we are fulfilled through remaining in Christ, being with him, and resting in him, we can come out of it refreshed and alive and ready to be everything he’s called us to be. Then the doing will naturally flow from the being without all the striving. Because we’ll be filled with His power strengthening us.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT

After all, that’s how Jesus modeled it. Before he started his public ministry, he wandered in a wilderness for 40 days just to fast and pray in preparation. Every morning before anyone else was up to begin the distractions he stole away to pray and seek his Father. Even right before he would fulfill his ultimate purpose for being on earth, he wept and interceded with God. There isn’t a single example of Jesus getting so worn out from serving that he had to take a break.

So let’s be imitators of Christ. Let’s utilize the fruit of the Spirit in our lives to be self-disciplined enough to rest in Him.

Because when we do, we will no longer be slaves to the chaos of life.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:12-14, NIV

 

I’m still trying to figure out how to rest rather than be lazy – what are ways you’ve found help you truly experience rest?

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