Learn to Just Be and Not Do

Too Busy to Read This? Well, then You REALLY Need It!

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered,

“you are worried and upset about many things,

but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:41-42

Simon and Garfunkel’s song that everyone of you has hummed at some point in your life says, “Slow Down, You Move Too Fast” from the 1966 hit, “Feelin’ Groovy.”

Our culture has a problem with idle time if you appear to be “nonproductive.” We are more impressed with the dazzling display of the whirring hamster wheel. The busier…the better. But,

Life is what happens to you while you’re

busy making other plans.

–John Lennon

So, many of us who are on the fast track to success get caught up in a relentless pace and are never ready to use our gifts when needed most. We over-commit because we fear failure or because we can’t figure out how to have meaning without busy-ness.

Running in high gear keeps us from being contemplative. And it keeps us from connecting. It keeps us from thoughts and feelings we want to avoid. Being busy gives us license to slip out early or be absent altogether. But the greatest sin of busyness is how it disrupts our relationship with each other and with God.

Few things corrode our relationships more than busyness. In a prior marriage I was a classic overachiever, desired to avoid conflict and unpleasantness. My solution was to:

  • Teach at a university
  • Be on the staff of the largest church in town
  • Play tennis 2 days per week with a man on the governor’s staff
  • Play softball 2 nites per week in another town 30 miles away
  • Work with the Sheriff’s department on drug interdiction in three counties
  • Write a doctoral dissertation for my PhD.

I didn’t want to go home in those days because of the discomfort I experienced there. It took a divorce, wise counsel and a conscious decision for me to change the crazy behavior. I have learned to sometime just “be” and not “do”.

One of the things Barb and I like best about living in Celina is our front porch and a pair of vintage wicker rocking chairs. The ceiling fan in summer, the propane heater in winter, a little bug spray and a glass of something cold gives us a chance to just let the world go by…wave at our neighbors, observe our landscaping, listen to the mockingbirds. Porch time recharges our batteries. Today’s real estate with its high fences, no front porches, automatic garage doors, quickly to the TV, and we don’t make time to stop, listen to the birds sing, smell the roses or just talk to one another.

Just being is worth doing. Find a time and place and you’ll be glad you did.

One Final Note

New year…new traditions for sharing your life together. What are yours? Here’s some of ours:

  • We sit on the front porch.
  • We hold hands in church.
  • We have lunch after church on Sundays and focus on each other exclusively without distractions.
  • We have a date regularly…and it’s not just going to a movie where we don’t talk to each other.
  • We sit together and plan calendars at least monthly.
  • We plan 1-5 “getaways” every year, based on of course time and money.

If you don’t make a plan to do this kind of stuff, you won’t do it. Be intentional and if you get an “aha“, let us know.

Remember the cartoon about an elderly woman asking her husband as he sat on the porch with another old man, “What are you doing?” His answer, “Nothing.” Her retort was, “You said that yesterday.” His, “I know, but I wasn’t through yet.”