We live in a non-stop culture. We work longer hours than ever yet cram countless activities into our schedule – essays keep us working right through the night, coffee dates are squeezed around board meetings, kids need to be ferried back and forth between their own activities (because we teach them early on that hectic is just the way life is), the to-do list is never completed before new tasks are added. But Jesus calls us to stop doing. He calls us to simply be.
“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31
Right at the beginning of his Theology of the Body, Saint John Paul II points out that in Genesis the value of creation is associated with its mere existence. After the final stage of Creation – Man – God looks at everything he has made, and without demanding or requiring anything in return he is pleased with it. He saw it, and it was good. He didn’t see it getting a pay rise, signing up for yet another activity, or coming top of the class. He simply saw his creation being the way He had created it.
‘“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”’ Luke 10:41-42
Someone recently asked me whether I thought I was a Mary or a Martha. My honest answer was that in the past I’ve tended to be more of a Martha – I know I’m impatient, I hate not being in control of my life and I have an incessant need to help people constantly to the extent that I burn out (ironically helping no-one!).
But I’m trying to be a Mary. I’m learning that God knows best. I’m slowly allowing myself more and more to be moulded by God’s grace. To some extent we all need to slow down the pace of our lives for two reasons: 1) God doesn’t care how much we achieve by the world’s standards, and 2) rushing through life merely deprives us of time spent basking in His presence.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Be still. One solitary request. Know that He is God. Let Him do the rest. It’s so easy to feel helpless or useless when we find ourselves with nothing to do and desperately try to keep ourselves busy, but the truth is that we don’t have to constantly be doing something in order for our lives to be a ‘success’. We’re called to simply trust in His sovereignty and take the time to listen to His voice.
God doesn’t ask us to trek the earth to gain His attention. He doesn’t ask where we placed in our graduation class, how many deals we’ve signed for the company or how many Facebook friends we’ve acquired. He doesn’t ask, because the things we do are not important in comparison to the people we are. He loves you, because He made you, and He is pleased with His work. You don’t have to achieve that love, you already have it endlessly.
He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you. It’s as simple as that.