It's Not in What You're Doing

5:00 AMHeather

Yesterday, I talked about the question I began to ask myself--what am I doing?  Today, I want to move us forward to the bigger question.  The question that I am coming to see holds the key for this yearning to learn how to live on the unforced rhythms of grace.

As I repeatedly heard words from the Bible like rest, sit, abide, dwell and remain, I began to see a pattern.  Honestly, this whole journey into a faith deconstruction and rebuilding has often times felt like putting puzzle pieces together without the picture to guide me.  It's led me to repeatedly ask for God given wisdom to understand what he wants to teach me.  That's always an answered prayer.  And He is faithfully guiding me on how to place this pieces and make sense of them.

Here's what I felt was being whispered to my soul: Yes, consider what I have been doing here--in the church, in the world, with God...all these years.  But the truth is, it's not in what I'm doing that is the problem.  It's what I DON'T do that's the problem.  It's these forgotten verbs of the Bible.  Forgotten in light of easier-to-complete verbs like go and do and make and build.  Because I am a do-er by nature.  I am driven and task oriented.  

Yet, the startling fact could not be ignored: I have built a life so far fetched from Sabbath living that I have needed to be shaken up.  Because what I don't do is "be still."

Being still is not my thing.  My value and worth have always been tied to my productivity.  I would rather dig into a how-to have authentic faith in ten easy steps than spend time slowing down.  I think this is true of our culture in general--even or maybe particularly--in our church culture.

We are an on-the-go at breakneck speed society.  We can multitask like nobody's business and all this technology that is supposed to make life easier has actually made life busier.  More complicated.  Full of distractions.  Information flying at us through the speed of the internet.  Calendars and schedules full of activities and tasks and events and such.  Then piled on with the frenzy of social media and keeping up with everyone else's activity in real time. 

I had been asking myself what am I doing?  Meanwhile, God is in the process of undoing me...because He has a much more important question for me.

The best way that I can phrase it comes from a term that I first heard from some New Orleans friends.  When they came to Texas after Hurricane Katrina, they would ask me this question.

Where you stay?

They were asking where I live.  But, I think the question "where you stay" is such a profound one to ponder.

Where does your mind stay?

Where do your emotions stay?

Where do your thoughts stay?

Where does your energy stay?

Indeed, the question of what am I doing evolved into asking myself where am I staying.

Because the answer to that tells us everything we need to know about living on the unforced rhythms of grace.

This blog series is all about diving into this question.  Discovering these forgotten verbs of the Bible like rest and abide and seeing how they connect to Sabbath living. Because Sabbath living is God's design and pattern for all of mankind since the creation of the world.  And if we aren't Sabbath living, then we are missing the rhythm of life that God intended for us.

You see, our undoing actually comes in UNdoing.  In not "doing" but pausing.  Not working but resting.  Not striving but trusting.  

Let's look again at Matthew 11:28-31 from the Message, which we first considered on our first day of this blog series.

Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you'll recover your life.  I'll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.   

Sarah Bessey said she knew that no one needed to tell the women at the IF Gathering to keep striving.

Likewise, none of you needs to have more added to your calendar or tasks.  If there's anything that we crave in our overscheduled, overstimulated culture it's rest.  True rest.  Not just sleep but a refreshment for our souls.

But, if there's anything we don't do well or willingly in our overscheduled and overstimulated culture, it's rest.  We have a co-dependent relationship with the go, go, go.  We hate it, but we can't seem to stop it.  

And so it's filtered down to our church lives where we've lost the rhythm of Sabbath.  This has led to our loss of connection to a Jesus who simply asks us to take on his light burden and his easy yoke.  We've traded staying at the feet of Jesus to being busy trying to earn the freedom that has already been granted us.  

The Casting Crowns song All You've Ever Wanted sums up our modern day Christian angst well:

I was chasing healing when I'd been made well
I was fighting battles when You conquered hell
Living free but from a prison cell
Lord, I lay it down today

Does this sound like you?  Are you working to attain that abundant life, striving hard in hopes of thriving?  Spinning plates and working and straining forward?  Asking yourself what you're doing and what more you need to be doing?  Because you are running like a hamster on a wheel, seeking the elusive peace and rest that your soul was made to enjoy?

Listen, this is me.  This is how I've approached my faith all of my life.

And Jesus is telling me ENOUGH.

He's telling me to quit asking what I'm doing and boil it down to this question.

Where you stay?  

Because if it's not firmly at the feet of Jesus, learning the rhythm of Sabbath life, then I'm on the wrong path.  I'd love for you to be my company along the way.

Blog post #3 in a series on Sabbath Living: the Sacred Practice of Sitting at the Feet of Jesus.

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