OK, before you freak out, allow me to explain.
I’ve always measured my success as a Christian on what I “do for God.” Meaning, I didn’t just want to be a hearer of the Word, I wanted to be a doer. I did, did, did for God until my skin broke out in psoriasis, until I was depressed, burnt-out and so desperate for relief that given the opportunity, I would have self-medicated with alcohol or maybe an affair.
I pretty much never had the opportunity—which fact I directly credit to the unmerited grace of God in my life. I know the depths of my neediness and how easily, easily, OH SO EASILY I could self-medicate with sex.
Instead, I self-medicate by doing MORE good things! I volunteer MORE. I write MORE. I clean MORE. I manage and over-control my children MORE.
But what if all this DOING is not what God wants for me? What if being a doer of the Word means just being?
I’m not very good at allowing myself to just be.
For one thing, people seem to confuse laziness with the fine art of being. Everyone wants a completed to-do list. We measure success by how much we’ve done with our lives. You can turn a profit by DOING things. You can point to your church attendance as evidence of your piety.
I am not the woman who knows how to organize a weekly meal plan for a sick neighbor, but I am the woman who will enter your pain and feel it with you. I am the woman who listens to your stories, cherishes your confidence and will love you with a heart wide open.
I am the woman who will go to the difficult places, who will not look away from your suffering, who will love you unconditionally just because you are.
I am not, however, the woman who will organize the yearly church potluck.
I have found that my skills are not….um….in high demand. At least, not in the modern church context. I’m no good at small group Bible studies–I end up panicking and fleeing to the bathroom. I am frustrated by systematic theology and the never-ending debates.
I am interested in people and their stories. I am interested in soup and sitting down at a cozy table to talk. I am interested in laughter and making you feel comfortable. I am interested in smiles and hugs, handwritten letters, “intercessory baking” (as my friend, Preston Yancey calls it) and holding hands. I am interested in love and unity.
My name is Elizabeth Esther and I will probably never do big things for God. But I will be and be and be my heart out for Him.