I had a conversation with a friend of mine last night at church.
We were talking about daily schedules and productivity and trying to get things done. I told him I had printed out a calendar and blocked out every minute of my day from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. There wasn’t one idle minute.
After I finished telling him about it I proudly said, “If I followed this schedule I could get so much done.”
I woke up early this morning because I have to be somewhere at 8 a.m. and it’s going to take me at least an hour to drive there.
Now it’s 5:27 a.m.
But as my alarm went off I had this thought: why am I so hardwired to get things done?
A wise person once said: we are human beings not human doings.
That got me thinking about my high school French class and when Madame Carlson taught us to conjugate verbs. I can still hear her voice: Joseph, Je suis means, “I am.”
So I think “Je suis un homme ” means I am a man.
Apologies Madame Carlson, it’s been twenty years and my Francais is un peu rusty.
I AM not I DO
You may recognize “I am” from the book of Exodus. Except there it was written in all capital letters–I AM. The very name of God was so holy the Jews wouldn’t even say it, much less write it down.
The name of God is I AM not I DO.
Now God is certainly a God of doing. He created the Earth and you and me. He created us to work and take care of his creation. He actively holds all things together. He woos us and pursues us.
But God isn’t solely identified by what he does. He’s known for who he is.
So if I’m a child of God, created in his image, why am I more concerned with being than doing?
Perhaps I should spend more time concerned with who I am rather than what I do.
The Power of the Pause
It may be the curse of the artist. I have an unrelenting desire to craft, build and create things. I have words in my heart and my head that demand to be released. I feel compelled to shape them and leave my testimony on paper for the world to read. I want my life to have meant something and maybe my frantic attempt to do is a byproduct of this desire.
But it seems to me God is less concerned with what I do and more concerned with who I am.
The I AM created me to be.
He wants me to be more like him.
He wants me to be content.
He wants me to be more concerned with what’s in me than what’s outside of me.
He wants me to be a witness.
He wants me to be connected.
So now I’m wondering how my full schedule helps with this. I’m looking at it right now. It’s on my desk color-coded and blocked out.
There are noble things on the calendar, but there isn’t a lot of time to just be.
Society doesn’t encourage sitting still. It’s may be such a foreign concept to you that you feel guilty when you take a few moments for yourself.
It shouldn’t be this way though. Sometimes God wants you to simply be. I’ve never heard God when I’m rushing from task to task. I only hear him when I pause. Perhaps this is why he speaks to you in those times of quiet with a gentle whisper. He knows that if he shouted we would never pause.
Called To Be, Not To Do
Perhaps Madame Carlson was on to something. Just be, Joseph.
I am. I AM.
The clue is right there in the very name of God.
What if today you made a to be list instead of a to do list?
What would your day look like? What items would you cross off your list? What are you chasing today that won’t matter in five years?
Give it a try and you’ll learn the power of the pause.