How to Be (in a World of Do)

Art by Scott Erickson

My husband and I went a show last night. It was a show as unique as the artist himself, a kaleidoscope of honesty, imagery, music, laughter, and faith. We’re not late night people, especially on a Thursday, but when you’re in your 40s and that fire of inspiration is a slow burn, you’ll go out on a week night for a kick in the butt from someone willing to be real. If I were to summarize the show in a sentence, it’d be this:

How do I make the most of this painful, joyful, and beautiful miracle of life I’m living?

Not a bad question to ask yourself. Or let me rephrase that, not a bad question to hear your soul asking (because it is, so stop dismissing it). At various points in my life, I’ve gone to great pains trying to quiet that question. I’ve wasted a lot of time misunderstanding the question, too, interpreting it as, “What do I want to do?” rather than, “Who am I made to be?”

Yeah, that’s the question. And there’s a dang good reason we shove that question deep down into our brain folds, our intestinal tract, our arteries, our fill-in-the-blank-with-the-body-system-that-is-most-symptomatic. You can’t answer the question of being without asking all the smaller questions that go with it.

What are my attractions? My patterns?
What am I most afraid of?
What’s the risk I would take if I was guaranteed it would work out?
What have I learned? 
What should I unlearn?
What do I believe about myself, people, God?
What do I believe about myself, people, God that isn’t true?
Who does God say He is?
Do I believe Him?
Do I live like I believe Him?

Now breathe. Roll your shoulders. Unclench every part of your body that tightened while reading that (not exhaustive by any means) list. How do you answer these questions? One at a time. May take a week, a year, a decade, but let the question simmer. Live with it being wide open.

Pray through it – daily.
Observe what’s happening around you.
Love your people.
Trust Jesus.
Try things.
Be patient.
Love the people that are harder to love.
Ask for help.
Say less, or at the least, say something hopeful
Read the book of Ecclesiastes (Job or Psalms, too).
Continue praying.
Trust Jesus a little more.
Trust yourself.
Live like the question may never be answered at all, but maybe, each day, you’re closer to being ok with it.

You’re on the journey and so am I. A little grace goes a long way. One day at a time, friends.

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