By: Nancy Backues
You would think after a 16-month battle with cancer, I would learn the importance of “stopping to smell the roses” and “not sweating the small stuff.” However, you can drop the girl smack-dab into a life-altering health crisis, but you cannot take the deeply-rooted type-A bend out of said girl, apparently.
After the fantastic whirlwind that was the holidays, I landed smack into the middle of January, empty and exhausted. That’s when it dawned on me that the rest of the world had already returned to their regularly-scheduled routines. What’s a go-getter to do? Get up and go.
I hit the ground running–school, basketball, cheer, church commitments, laundry, groceries, play dates, meals, chores, etc., etc., etc., You know the drill. You’ve done it. You do it. You live it.
Finally, at the end of yet another exhausting day, I collapsed into bed with the crushing realization that I was, indeed, coming down with…something. I wasn’t sure what, but something for sure. Something that made my muscles ache and my throat raw.
NOOOOOO! Who has time to be sick?!?!
That’s it. I just can’t do it all, I declared emphatically toward the heavens as if God needed to be informed.
There it was. In all its ugly glory…the end of my rope. Now what was He going to do with it?
Ahem, I continued in my internal my monologue, I want to do everything You’ve asked of me. But I just can’t.
If I had been a toddler, I would have stomped my foot and crossed my arms for effect. Just tell me what You want me to do and what I need to let go of… That was my ultimatum as I secretly hoped laundry and groceries would somehow fall into the latter category.
I paused for dramatic effect. Nothing.
I waited some more. Then came His simple, sweet response (aren’t they always?)…
I never asked you to DO anything.
I never asked you to DO anything. I just want you to BE.
BE with Me.
BE the woman I’ve called you to BE.
BE the wife I’ve called you to BE.
BE the mother I’ve called you to BE.
BE the friend, neighbor, sister, volunteer, etc. I’ve called you to BE.
I certainly thought that’s what I had been doing…trying to BE all those things. Then I realized what I had just said…”that’s what I’ve been DOing….TRYing to…” Even as a “word” person, it took a minute to figure it out: Both DO and TRY require effort; they drain you of energy and strength.
You don’t have to DO anything, came His response. It’s all been done for you.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
I have to be honest, I’ve often struggled with that passage. It just didn’t seem to line up with all that I thought God expected of me. How could He require so much of me, and then tell me His burden is light?!
Suddenly I realized God’s goal is not that I do things for Him. He simply wants to BE with me, and BEing isn’t burdensome at all.
But wait. It gets better…
While God desires to BE with me, He’s not content to leave me like He found me. So it’s in the moments of BEing with Him that I’m transformed into all that He’s created me to BE. How? It happens when I’m intentional in two ways:
- BE STILL
In the overbearingly noisy world we live in, BEing still requires effort. I have to make conscious choices in my schedule to give time to Jesus. Yes, He’s with me always, but let’s be honest, I’m not always focused on Him. I need to create moments where I deliberately resist the urge to pick up my phone, turn on some music, or flip on the TV and just BE with Him. No noise. No agenda, just me and Jesus.
2. KNOW GOD
The stillness is more than a striving for “space” or silence. It’s a concentrated effort to pursue knowledge of God by reading and meditating on His Word. It’s a focused pursuit of a deeper relationship with God by conversing with Him in prayer. It’s a disciplined practice of resisting the “noise” (audible and otherwise) that begs for my attention daily and tuning into the stillness where God is waiting for me.
When you find yourself overwhelmed by the things you have to DO, let it serve as a reminder to stop DOing so much. Stop, and JUST BE.
Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)
Nancy is an author, speaker, wife, mother, and two-time cancer overcomer. She lives in Missouri where she relies on God’s grace and good coffee to live out authentic faith in the midst of a mostly messy life. She blogs about faith, family, and finding grace at ThereIsGrace.com. You can read the rest of her story in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm and connect with her on social media.