Doing versus Being

At 5:30 AM my mother’s heels were on the move. Incessant and impatient – as if there was little time to accomplish her tasks.  I’d bury my head in the pillow and try for another hour of sleep. What on earth is she doing?  It certainly wasn’t cleaning.  Cooking?  Maybe, since she likely had guests coming for dinner.  By 6:30 she was on the phone her voice drumming me awake.

May as well get up.  There would be a pop tart breakfast and an hour-long car pool to a school where I strove mightily to fit in. My mother would be attending to her busy life – having tossed leftovers into paper bags for Charlie’s and my school lunches.  (I can still see the tin foil balls of last night’s hamburger extracted from the freezer scheduled to thaw only a bit when around noon I revealed their contents, coagulated fat and all.  These meaty balls did not do a lot for my popularity.)

So having lived with such a DO-er as Peggy, I find myself constantly striving. Moving.   If I ever do stop, Peggy’s voice demands,  Barclay, what have you accomplished today?  Where is your To-Do list?

My friend, Susie (pseudonym) calls it her hamster wheel.  She grew up with a stern father who lectured about being the best, working harder than the next person, striving to win.  Today, Susie is well accomplished, but like me, she seeks busy-ness.  Peggy would love her.

But our God whispers a different message.

Be still and know that I am God.  (Psalm 46:10)

Come to me and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest. (Exodus 33:14)

Sometimes God speaks through burning bushes.

But mostly it is in that quiet time deep in our soul.

The Old Testament prophet had to be still to hear it.  God’s voice was not in the earthquake but in the gentle, passing wisp of wind.

If I am writing a to-do list, I may miss it.

In her book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World; author Joanna Weaver says,

“He’s calling us to the Great Exchange–the one where we can never lose. As we trade the “many things” that make us anxious, He gives us the “one thing” that calms our hearts. Himself.”

So I’m committing today to this Great Exchange, stepping off the hamster wheel, focusing on being instead of doing, and seeking that “one thing”. God himself.

I’m wearing heels though.

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