It cannot be about what I do! It must be about who I am!
This was the beautiful nugget of intimacy Our Lord shared with me some months ago. I am a planner and a do-er. It is a constant chore for me to organize the notes, schedules, plans, calendars, and lists that I create to help me get everything done each day. But, what do I do when it still does not get done?
What about those days that I do not shower until noon? What about the times I get distracted with another task instead of doing what I committed to do? What about sticking to my priorities? Those days, which are many, I feel lost. I am not speaking of days when the children are sick or the power goes out or of other unexpected disasters. Instead, I refer to an inappropriate focus on how I spend my time. My fuzzy brain cannot see until after the fact that I am squandering hours.
A friend sent me an article by Father John A. Hardon, S.J. entitled Gentleness. It was through that article that I began to see that what I do is not nearly as important as who I am in a practical way. I knew, intellectually, that my interior life and the state of my soul was a more important mission than the laundry or the grocery shopping or the math lesson. This article started me on a journey, however, towards the nugget above, a moment of clarity and understanding.
I began to see that no matter what I did, whether it was on my to-do list or was a spontaneous moment, it is how I live those moments that is most important. ”Someone who always stuck to her schedule” is not what I want in my obituary. “A gentle, kind, self-sacrificing soul” would be my goal. And, honestly, most days, I am not living that way. Most days I am either too focused on the lists or too frustrated by ignoring the lists to remember love.
Just like Marie Bellet’s song,“Ay Yi Yi,” my focus all of my life has been my work, my accomplishments, crossing out lines on the lists. The Lord is slowly showing me that while these things are tools to keep order in my life, they really are basically not at all important to the eternal picture. Often, because of striving SO hard to DO things for others, I neglect to BE who God created me to be.
So, take some time this week to reflect on your state in life. Who are you? Who has God created you to be? If we live our daily lives with simple love, carrying out our daily duties will be the most pleasing thing we could offer the Lord. He will smile with us when we cross a task off of our list, but He will glow with joy when we do the work He has given us to do with great love and gentleness.
Thank you, Jesus, for repeatedly reminding me that who I am is infinitely more important than what I do. In this culture where some laugh at that concept and insist that our achievements determine who we are, help me to remember that you created me in your image and likeness and gave me my vocation to do your will. And, I am sorry that you will have to remind me of this time and time again, probably for the rest of my life, but I thank you for your patience and gentleness in showing me this truth again today.