I have a hard time just being.
It isn’t that I am always hard-working, not that at all. I can waste time with the best of them, lounging on the couch with a novel, falling into the endless well of click-bait, getting sucked into television show marathons. I choose to maintain a close relationship with my pillow for as long as my daughter will let me in the mornings, choose to grasp at those last moments of half-sleep in the same way that my girl reaches for anything she knows she can’t have: with both hands, straining with all I am. I tend toward laziness.
Yet, for all that, I have a hard time just being. I find myself striving, longing and yearning to be more, to do more. Despite all my years in the church, all the years of hearing that I can do nothing of myself, that my worth comes not from what I do but from the One who loves me, these last twelve months of being home with Katie have made me realize this: in so many ways, I define myself by what I do.
This is, perhaps, only to be expected given the culture in which I live, where we talk about a person’s “net worth” as though it can be described with dollar signs, where the first thing asked upon meeting someone new is most often, “So, what do you do?”, where we answer questions about identity with a title or a job description. Me? I’m a stay-at-home mom, an electrical engineer, a writer. I blog. I keep house. I volunteer.
It seeps into one’s heart and mind, this emphasis on what one can bring to the table, what one can produce. It seeps deep until it’s difficult to distinguish truth from lie, fact from fiction. Work is good. Creativity is good. Using our talents? Good. I am supposed to thrive, to contribute to my home and to my community. And yet, as I am so prone to doing, I take this very good thing I’ve been given – work – and twist it just slightly, turn it into an indication of value. I must leave my mark, make a difference, do, do, do, do, do. For what good am I otherwise? And so I run after each new thing, each new publication, each new opportunity. I run after them not because I enjoy the work, not because it is my calling, but because I think this time, I will be fulfilled. This time, I will derive meaning from them. This time, I will be enough.
The God of all creation whispers to me, exhorting me to know Him, to accept my adoption into His family, to trust His love. He tells me that He has completed the work of redemption, that He will complete the good work in me, that His grace is sufficient for me. He asks me to be still. And I? I chase after the wind.