You ARE So Beautiful

August 26, 2010 at 3:06 pm (Devotional, Life Propelling Forward) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I am a task-oriented person. Give me something do. If I have nothing on my agenda, I feel useless. If I have free time, you may be assured that I have also gained a deep sense of guilt. Time has always been a precious commodity and I am acutely aware of that fact.

Never have I felt more pressure to be productive with my time than now. Recently graduated from college, all the realities I observed with detachment from the towers of academia are now mine to own. The world seems larger and more daunting than before. With every job advertisement, my prospects seem to grow increasingly dismal. I have begun to devote an ever-increasing amount of time to that all-important question: what do I want to do with my years?

As I turned the question over in my mind and looked at it from every conceivable angle, my stress level began to skyrocket as I thought about all I needed to accomplish if I wanted to be a success in life. Yet despite my storm of constant, conflicting thoughts, there was another persistent thought, so subtle that as I tried to make a plan on how to get a good job, I could almost drown it out – but not quite.

The thought was simply phrased as: this is wrong.

Deep down, I knew it was. Allowing myself to get caught up in the combined excitement and anxiety of graduating, I was simply walking in my proclivity to define myself by what I DO, by how I spend the minutes of my day. I am prone, like much of America, to base answers to questions like: “How are you?” on how efficiently each moment of my day was spent. I know this weakness, yet I regularly participate in the recounting of my minutes with others as some sort of bizarre contest of pride.

Defining oneself by what one does is so common that it is scarcely noticed in current culture. Often it is even encouraged. It doesn’t matter much what one does, as long as they are occupying their life doing something.

In its purest element, work is a good thing. God created humans with a desire to work, to be productive. However it is most unfortunate that this desire to work is not in its purest element amongst fallen humanity. It’s an old story, but what was created as good and intended to be done to the glory of God, fallen individuals have taken, called it best, and done it for their own glory. It is the propensity of my heart to do that very thing: to not only allow, but to want my work to define me, to give me value and validation in the sight of others. If I don’t have anything to offer the world, then what value do I truly have?

Despite this argument, which is very cunning and seemingly sensible, the thought returned again and again: this is wrong.
I was pondering this as I drove about town, playing the radio in a vain attempt to distract my mind. I thought about Jesus and was reminded that He says I have value without doing anything to earn it. I keenly sensed that this recurring thought pressing in on my mind was planted there by the Lord. So I did what everyone does when confronted with an incomprehensible divine truth: I argued with God.

I told Him that He created work, that I was somewhat different in my goals because I didn’t want to work to make money; I wanted to work to make a difference. I told Him I know He accepts me, but that doesn’t mean the world will. I told Him that while He gives me grace, the working world would not. That’s why I needed to work to prove my value as a person.

I sensed God was telling me that He accepted me and loved me, without me EVER making a move. Even if I wasted all the precious minutes He’s given me – His love is perfected for me. I simply couldn’t wrap my mind around that. I just shook my head and sighed in my spirit.

At that moment, as if to call check and mate, a familiar song came on the radio. As the lyrics hit my ears, my eyes involuntarily filled and ran over with tears. I had a profound moment of stillness and a residing peace as I heard the words “You are so beautiful to me…”

Wiping my eyes a bit, I laughed. Only God would use my chosen instrument of self-distraction to speak to me the words I needed to hear. Of all the words in that song by Joe Cocker, one word in particular stood out to me; are.

In a world compelled by that philosophical spider web word “do,” with all of its implications we love to avoid, God cries out to His children that they are beautiful, He loves them, accepts them, forgives them and will lead them all the days of their lives, not because of anything good they have done, but simply because they are His. Are. That word has depth and is explicit in its definition as a state of being. We do not work to be; we simply are.

Why is it then that in life, many find it easier to do than to be? Uncomfortable with the reflective implications that silence has, humans in general have a profound tendency to “do.” Yet God is always calling us to come be with Him. Perhaps we run from being with God because it means there will be a separating and casting aside of our will and our plans and taking up God’s. In short, being with God causes a power shift in the center of our lives from us to Him.

Give up the power. It is only an illusion anyhow. Stop striving to get away from that Voice you know. Stop doing. Stop working and running around, leaving no stone unturned in your search for a new task. Enter into His presence that waits for you to grow weary of the race in which no one is a winner. Only when we cease our heart’s constant stream of activity and submit ourselves to the God who loves us as we are, can we enter into the fullness of His glory and accomplish life with a renewed sense of being, instead of a worn out, frenzied, repetitive act of empty doing.

Amen.

Advertisements

3 Comments

  1. Marjorie Lasko said,

    Good Morning Amanda!

    I signed on to Facebook and saw your comment about your blog on our inherent worth. It was just what I needed to see! Apparently God knew this so it was He who directed me there! Over the past few years, I’ve had many, many, many…….moments of feeling worthless since becoming unemployed 4 years ago! And the funny thing is, I have spent most my days doing exactly as you described, looking for work! And with each day, becoming more and more disillusioned with life, but mostly with myself, feeling as if I’m of no value. When I read your comment on how you sensed God was telling you that He accepted you just as you are, without doing a thing, I literally stopped dead in my tracks! Like most of us from time to time, I too fall short, and start following the things of this world! It is than that I feel God’s presence reminding me to be still, that He is with me. Or as in today’s case, He leads me somewhere. I’m so glad that I took the time to listen, or my day would have been disastrous!

    Love you……praying for you and for God’s peace to be with you always…..

    Marjorie
    A Sinner Saved By Grace

  2. jenny freeman (murphy) said,

    well done old friend.

  3. willeymac said,

    We are saved by grace through faith; why on earth do we then believe that we have to go the rest of the way by works? Thanks for the post, Amanda, we are all beautiful clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: