You Can Stop Doing That

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I love asking children this question because they always have great answers. When my brother was little, his answer was that he wanted to be a fire truck. I recently asked a four-year-old friend of mine and her response was, “Bee?! Do I want to be a bee??”

Somewhere along the way our childhood dreams of being a ballerina or a teacher or a doctor (or a truck or a bee) fade into the distance. The focus shifts from being to doing, from who you are to what you accomplish.

“What are you going to do after high school?”
“What are you going to do after college?”
“What are you going to do after graduation?”

You’ve likely already been pelted with these questions. There’s pressure to decide what you want to do so that you can pick the right school, the right major, the right internship, the right . . . you get the idea.

While these are legitimate things to consider, if we aren’t careful, we can get caught up with the doing and miss out on being.

Human Beings vs. Human Doings

This is what happened to Martha. Her story (found in Luke 10:38–42) is a familiar one. Martha invited Jesus and His friends to her house for dinner. The account tells us that Martha was the one who welcomed Jesus into her home, but she was also the one “distracted with much serving.” Unlike her sister, Mary, she was too busy taking care of all that needed to be done to enjoy being with Jesus.

Don’t we all face the temptation to work instead of worship? (I know I do!) One commentator says that when we take good things, such as serving and hosting, and make them our main focus, we’ve missed the gospel.

Before the gospel is a call to doing, it [the gospel] is an invitation to the presence of the Lord. To follow Jesus as a disciple means to be with him and listen to him.

Is your focus out of kilter? Have you allowed good things like serving in your church, being there for a friend, or maintaining a 4.0 grade average to steal away your time and attention to Jesus?

I’ve heard it said that God made us human beings not human doings. Which are you?

Nothing Left to Do

Jesus’ last words on the cross were, “It is finished.” Those three words pack a powerful punch! All that Jesus came to this earth to do was, in that moment, accomplished. Jesus left nothing undone.

Do you know what that means for you and me? There is nothing left for us to do to add to His works or to improve our standing before God. Nothing! It is a done deal, and it’s all because of Jesus. He lived the perfect life you never could, died the criminal’s death you deserved, and came back to life to offer you an eternity with Him.

When the Bible says there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1), it really means there is no condemnation. Despite your past sins. Despite your current, daily struggles. The finished work of Jesus is why we can rest.

As you spend time with Jesus, His love for you and His Spirit in you empowers you to then go out and do things for His glory. Being with Jesus leads to doing good works, not the other way around.

Less Doing, More Being

It’s time for less doing and more being. To not become “distracted with much serving,” but to lean on Jesus, talking to Him throughout the day and learning to love Him more and more. In every season of life our goal is to be with Him and to be like Him.

As the author of a well-known devotional once wrote, “Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him.”

Have you allowed your life to be all about working hard, doing this or that, serving here and there, and piling up your list of accomplishments? Is your focus on doing things for Jesus instead of being with Jesus?

About Author

Leanna Shepard

Leanna began serving on staff with Revive Our Hearts in the summer of 2014. Though originally from Arkansas and now residing in Michigan, her citizenship is in heaven, having been adopted as daughter of the King at age ten. She loves a cup of hot tea with a good book, experimenting in the kitchen with a new recipe, and cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals.

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  • Jemima

    Wow this was truly amazing thank you

    • Leanna Shepard

      Thank you, Jemima!

  • Hosaena Collins

    Great blog Leanna!! Thank you!!

    • Leanna Shepard

      Thank you, Hosaena!

  • Morgan

    Dohhh, this is tough to live out! Our culture today is so concerned with accomplishments, which isn’t bad necessarily, that people don’t even know how to just be, or so it seems to me. I know that’s how I feel. I’ve just started a college class (yep, in May) and I’m on the road to being a nurse, so I’m so concerned with making it that I find it hard to not be doing something when there’s always something to be done. I’ve felt like this even before college. Needless to say, I consequently find it difficult to connect with God. I feel like I gotta do something special in order to spend time with Him. The fact that I don’t have to always be doing something and can just be is hard for my mind to compute lol. I always think, funny enough, “What do I do to stop having to always be doing something?” Anyone relate? And seriously, what should I do about it? 😆

    • Leanna Shepard

      You know, Morgan, I think the difference here is that “being” isn’t about shirking duty or being lazy; it’s knowing that whatever you do, you’re doing it for the Lord, and you’re not doing it to maintain a right standing in His eyes or in anyone else’s. It’s good and right for you to study and work hard on your classes. As you do, rest in Jesus’s saving work for you. 🙂

  • Jenn D

    WOW. “It is finished” – I never thought about it from this perspective, thank you SO much for sharing!

    • Leanna Shepard

      Yes, I was so encouraged the first time I heard that taught from this perspective. Glad you were too!

  • Hannah

    Thanks for this I’m about to start high school and have been thinkin about all of those questions and have found some answers but others are stressing me out so this is awesome thanks.😀

    • Leanna Shepard

      Hannah, I love that you are already thinking this way as you begin high school. God will increase your love for him as you continue to seek him. Grace and peace!