On the underground, church weekend away, Instagram moment, worship team meeting, event, song-writing, text, underground, email, pick-up medication, food shop, pray, work, Facebook, another church thing, pub, email, work, BBQ with friends, dinner with the hubby…
Yes – last week was a particularly busy week for me, but it is amazing how much I often try and squeeze in.
London and city life means I could be ‘on the go’ all the time. I’ve been thinking lately about the concept of ‘being and doing’. I am definitely a ‘doer’. Believe me, I can procrastinate like the best of them but I also love being busy and active and I generally work well under pressure. Ask me to do something and I’ll probably say yes, especially – extrovert alert – if it’s with other people!
Maybe you are a completely different personality type and fantastic at ensuring you have time alone, reflecting.But maybe you are also travelling at 100 miles an hour.
Perhaps it is time to stop and ask ‘what drives me?’
I have a mild form of a condition called spina bifida, which basically means my spinal chord was damaged before I was born. It has affected my walking and resulted in lots of corrective surgery, mostly on my feet. I get quite frequent back and hip ache.
I also take medication every day for some internal complications. I don’t mention this to get sympathy but to give some context of my life. While presenting challenges, my experience means I tend to do all that I can rather than focus on all that I can’t. I am learning more and more, however, that knowing God, and my identity in God, is the rock I stand on amid challenges. It can be hard when we are not achieving all that we want to or when we’re resisting the people-pleasing pull of saying ‘yes’ to everything asked of us. Yet I continually want to refocus on the powerful, faithful, constant, joy-filled, gracious love of Jesus that transforms me daily.
“Attention, all! See the marvels of God…
Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God…”
(Psalm 46:8-10, The Message)
This modern version of the verse ‘Be still and know that I am God’ really speaks to me as I can get so caught up in the traffic of life. Whereas I want my life to be about looking to God, seeing God, hearing God, and loving God back.
A number of times I have been stopped in my tracks because of my health. The summer I spent recovering after some major foot surgery when I was 21 was difficult; I lost the all the independence I had had whizzing around London in my first year of university. Looking back, I realise I learnt so much about not doing, but instead about ‘being’. The core of who I was as a person didn’t change over that summer. God’s love for me didn’t change. I didn’t need to be some sort of superwoman-Christian-achiever. Recuperating from a more recent operation reminded me again that my sense of purpose doesn’t just come from what I am able to achieve. I was pushed to reconnect with God again, to admit my deep emotions, and to tell others I was feeling weak and needed to depend on them more.
To try and put your security in something other than your independence and your own capability can be a scary thing. But this is the challenge I want to present. Do we really want our walk of faith to be based upon the individualistic idea of work, labour and achievement alone giving us our value? I think our theology needs to progress beyond simply that ‘Protestant work ethic’.
While I do think it’s important to be ambitious, have vision, pursue dreams and achieve goals in life, we have the opportunity to first look to the one who looks lovingly upon us. Step out of the traffic. Be still. Be open to another perspective on our busyness and priorities. Then, I truly believe, our doing can flow from that place of being.