Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Freedom in the the absence of doing

It's mid-morning, and I'm sitting on the sofa drinking coffee, still in my PJ's, staring at debris on the floor that my dogs tracked in over the weekend. I'm not going to sweep it up.

There was a Body Pump class at 10AM, and I seriously contemplated going, thinking about how the handful of other Body Pump classes I've gone to over the summer will really mean nothing at all unless I go consistently enough to actually change my body- whatever that even means. I didn't go.

A load of laundry sits in the dryer- towels and rugs from the bathrooms. It's been in there since about 3PM yesterday. I'm not going to fold it. Not right now, anyway.

Our church is doing Backyard Bible Club this week around the city of Austin, and they needed more drivers to get kids to their clubs. It was announced at church on Sunday, and I got an email about it, as well. I didn't sign up.

I'm tired of doing. Not just physically, but mentally, spiritually and all those other words that end in "-ly." It might just sound like I'm being lazy, and that's fine if it sounds that way to you, I'm also tired of worrying about what other people think of me- because that's another form of doing, and a really exhausting one at that. I'd like to offer that it's a lot more that that, though, that I'm not doing because I'm choosing not to. Not because I'm unwilling, lazy, lethargic or lacking in desire. It's because I'm weary of doing, and weary of all of the mess that comes along with it.

There's a time for doing- doesn't Solomon say something about that in Ecclesiastes?- but for me, now is not the time. I've been consumed by doing for years- and years and years. Now, I'm really tired. No, not tired. Weary. There's a difference. I'm experiencing that difference right now. I don't know how to put it into words, but if you've been there, you probably know what I'm talking about anyway.

I'm not saying that this weariness is a bad thing. In fact, in a way, I'm really excited about it. Again, it's hard to articulate, but I'll try to give you some examples.

Last week, Andy & I were at a party where a gal was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Run, Wendy, run." Wendy being the outspoken Democratic leader who has made national headlines for her die-hard support for women's rights in the abortion debate that has had pro-choice and pro-life Texans in a political fight that reminds me of two male deer with locked antlers. I felt no desire to judge her for her t-shirt or her lifestyle that's "alternative" to mine. Nor did I want to storm the steps of the Capitol alongside her with my own "Wendy" t-shirt. But I was happy to see her at our soccer game on Sunday. We chatted, laughed, and played well together.

Over the weekend, I spent time with a young friend who talked to me about some things going on in her life right now- questions she has, new experiences she's having. I took it in, listening, occasionally commenting. But as we walked together and she talked about her own unique life experiences, I realized, with great relief, that I didn't have any answers for her.

In another situation, Andy & I had a couple over and met their new baby boy. I asked questions of the new mom and dad, and never once did a thought pass through my mind about how I could or would try to do something differently or better than they were doing with their child. I just took it in- their little family- complete in its own uniqueness, living its own little story.

Finally, I learned this weekend about some marriages that are having a hard time. And never once did my mind think- well, if they just read Tim Keller's "The Meaning of Marriage" (though that is a really good book), then all will be well. I knew not to assume that I have any say-so whatsoever into the depths of someone else's marriage. Those waters, deep and private, are not for me to chart, or for me to assume that any other person's map would lead to a way-out. There's a song of the Christian radio right now about broken marriages. I turn it off every time I hear it. It says that if you just turn it over to the Lord, He will restore. For some people that might be true. He is the Restorer. But how He restores, when where and with whom is His own business. I know people who have turned their marriages over to the Lord, and they are divorced. It's just not simple. I don't have an answer. I don't have a song lyric or a book to offer. I just prayed.

This is the freedom of not doing. The relief that comes with meeting each person at the place they are in their journey, not with advice, not with the desire to compete with them or to prove to myself that I can out-do them, or to make sure that they know all of the areas in which they are wrong. I'm weary of that- weary of my own arrogance, my own self-obsession that is so compelled to prove- to whom?- that I am right or better or whatever. I'm not. The relief that comes with the absence of doing is tremendous. It's everything- it's Good News. It's what people in churches have, for a long time, called "The Gospel."

In this freedom, I've also met again with a desire I had a few years ago to write a book. It was a book about identity, and that idea, that theme of identity and the desire to write about it swells within me when I am not completely consumed by my actions. An now, the desire carries with it greater fear- the good kind of fear, I think, the kind that keeps you from getting too big for your britches- than it did three years ago, when I thought that I would be able to just sit down and make it happen. God has a way of putting britches on you that fit your insides, that make your ego shrink down to a size that He can stand to be around. I love him for that. I'm not going to write a book. I don't have time for that, and I don't have the desire to prove myself by seeing my name on a book cover anymore, or the anxiety that went along with that desire. But the message of it was something that I wanted to explore, and something that I needed to put down- so that I could know it in my heart and not just my head, because those places, though they mysteriously somehow inhabit this 5 foot 4 inch piece of real estate that God decided to give to me, seem to be so incredibly far away from one another. Anyway, I thought, that, since I've got some freedom, and I'm in no particular hurry right now to do my laundry or sweep my floor or plan for another year of school (though that time will eventually come) that I might write again- about those verbal snapshots that I tried to take three years ago when my heart was broken and my head was swollen and I didn't know where God was. Things are different now. I don't know all the answers, but I thought I'd take up the journey again, and write a bit as a I go along... until August,  when the doing will probably start once more.

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