The Tension of Doing & Being

Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it -not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it -they will be blessed is what they do. 

-James 1:22-25

I read this blog post to moms by Anna Joy Lowell the other day. She talked about taking care of our primary needs first. You know, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Food, water, shelter, sleep. So many times we are placing our basic needs aside and focusing on our own “needs”. Because these aren’t truly our first needs, we end up exhausted, hangry and no good for anyone.

I cycle through this process pretty frequently. I’m a doer, I get energized by projects and productivity. And then I had three kids. And now I live in the tension of doing and being. Our pastor just started a new series on James and spoke to this tension. He said most people sway to one end or the other of either being or doing. We either think it’s all about me and Jesus, and we neglect serving, or we think it’s all about serving and end up neglecting or thinking we do not need Jesus.

Like I said, I’m a doer so most times I tend to want to physically help or serve. If I’m honest I think it’s because it’s tangible… there is something that I can see. While I’ve always lived in this tension, I entered it in a whole new way once I was no longer in organized ministry. When I entered the adult world, got married and had kids, getting to know people ( and I mean really know) seemed hard. Fostering deep friendships took way longer. Talking to my toddlers about Jesus seemed much harder than talking to teenagers about Him. And my doing no longer seemed as tangible. And so my being somehow got neglected. I used excuses like it’s too hard with kids around, I’m too tired or, when I get free time I want to get something done. But what ends up happening? I’m a tired, depressed, overwhelmed and hangry mom. I’ve spent myself because I’ve neglected my true needs. I’m like the woman at the well who has to keep coming back to get more water because I’m never going to the true source. Because I haven’t rested in the Lord, I lose sight of an internal perspective and my heart and mind zoom in on the temporal. I fool myself into thinking these temporal things are my needs.

I don’t want to sit on one end of doing or being, I want to be intentional about making time and space to be with our Father and to take care of my primary needs, so that I may gain an eternal focus and serve others without the thought of “my needs”. Because after all, He promises to take care of my needs.

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

-Revelation 2:2-5

‘Mid all the traffic of the ways—
Turmoils without, within—
Make in my heart a quiet place,
And come and dwell therein:

A little shrine of quietness,
All sacred to Thyself,
Where Thou shalt all my soul possess,
And I may find myself;

A little shelter from life’s stress,
Where I may lay me prone,
And bare my soul in loneliness,
And know as I am known;

A little place of mystic grace,
Of self and sin swept bare,
Where I may look upon Thy face.
And talk with Thee in prayer. Amen.

“Make in My Heart a Quiet Place” by John Oxenham

If you love this prayer by John Oxenham feel free to visit my Freebies section and download this print I made of it! As always, please freely share with others but link back to my page! These prints are for personal use only.

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