Monday, October 09, 2006


Last week we walked through our greatest needs together. As we continue to ponder what those might be, we want to share a very candid "conversation" from a sister traveler. Today, may we be confident, in the words of Thomas Merton, that our desire to please God does indeed please God.

Sister Traveler:
". . . sometimes I question my own life….think that I should have more 'goals and objectives', more '5 or 10 year plans'. How I wish I could tell you what the specific outcomes will be . . . over the next year.
All I can say is this: God has called me to a ministry that is not clearly defined or scripted, but from which God is speaking. Truly what I experience is that as I 'Be', God does the 'Doing'. It’s not comfortable or secure. I second-guess myself all the time, berate myself for not “Doing” enough. But then God speaks into my insecurity with words which remind me (for about the 1000th time) that my identity is not in what I can 'Do' for God but is simply knowing that God loves me because God created me. God is not going to love me more or less because of what I 'Do'. God’s love is unconditional. As I grow in that knowledge . . . , I experience so much freedom, and an ever increasing ability to hear God’s voice in my heart, leading and guiding me to 'Go' and to 'Do' things that I had never imagined I could or would. To take some real risks. And a big learning and growing curve for me is then letting those things go, not second-guessing or labeling them a success or failure: letting them go, and knowing that the outcome is in God’s hands, and will be God’s work."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that what I do does not make God love me more or less, but how, seriously, how do you 'be' and not 'do' in reality? What does that look like everyday?

8:59 PM  
Blogger sparkfly said...

For me, it is a daily conversation with myself that reminds me that it is, in the words of Elaine Storkey, "who I am, not what I do" that matters most. I can't claim to speak for our Sister Traveler from yesterday, but I think she would agree that it is a process and mind set. Most of us will not be called to live monastically in silence with minimal "doing". We are called to be the body of Christ in this world which often requires doing something.

I liked how she said, and I paraphrase, remembering it is not about constant doing frees her up to do what God has called her to. It is a process - a circle or sorts.

As someone who has recently entered a non-traditional ministry plan, I am very aware of how "doing" focused our culture is. We ask people what they do when making small talk. No one ever asks, "So, who are you?" Because, to our culture - who you are is what you do. What if we all promised that our first question when meeting someone would not be, "What do you do," and instead we found out who they really were.

Someone else have a thought? This is a great question.


2:35 AM  
Blogger the hero formerly known as super said...

Let's face it--in our culture, we're encouraged to be the "doing" Marthas far more than the "being" Marys. And while nobody would ever eat without the Marthas of the world, Marys help us realize that God created us as relationship-driven rather than task-driven beings.

In her book, Walking on Water, Madeleine L'Engle dedicates a chapter to keeping your spiritual clock wound. "Being," she says, is the key to this. You can run about "doing" all day, but the "being" time is as important, if not more important, for it is "being" that inspires us to "do". It helps us realize who we are in Christ, and in turn, what we can "do" for the world around us.

Setting aside time to commune with God and with the world around us is important to discovering who we are and how we relate to God and to the world. L'Engle encourages us to lose ourselves "in awe at all the people around us, their lives full of glory and tragedy, and suddenly we will have the beginnings of a painting, a story, a song," and I add, a way of identifying with people in order to better serve.

This might sound like wasting time to Martha, but to Mary, it's choosing the one essential thing.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone once gave me the nicest compliment by saying I had the hands of Martha, but the heart of Mary. To me that means, we do what is needed and what God puts in our path, but go about praising, praying, etc. the whole time. It also includes having a "servant" heart which is hard for us all, especially when the service is something we don't want to do.

9:57 PM  

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