the questions, observations, laments, psalms, classic anecdotes, prayers, & stories of jeremiah aja. enjoy it like a sweaty plastic cup filled with strawberry lemonade & crushed ice.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

doing and being

Within moments of the "first impression" conversation we stumble into familiar territory and ask "So, what do you do?" Happens all the time. That or a comment on the weather in the past week or maybe what you've heard it's going to be like.
As discussed in my Ethics class yesterday, here's something worth mentioning- If you are a full time student and also put in about 30 hours a week over at the Wal-Mart and someone asks you, "Hey, so whattya do?" What's the answer every time?
Right. "I'm a student." Why? Quite frankly, because you don't want to say "I'm a Wal Mart worker."
But why? Because it's embarrassing to say one over the other? Because one is *seemingly* higher on the socioeconomic ladder of prestige? Because you don't want someone to think less of who "you are" because you think what you DO is who you are?
(Bingo in the sense of yep, that's it, but at the same time - EEGGHH! -Family Feud style.)

What you do is not who you are.

Your identity is not completely wrapped up in what you do. It is a horrific trap to think you have to DO in order to BE.

The Scriptures read multiple times "Be holy, for I am holy." The word we focus on in that command is what? Holy. And because we think we get to "holy" by simply DOING a bunch of stuff, we get all wrapped up and tangled in a holiness treadmill headed nowhere at 7.5 mph. We get worn out, complain that being holy is impossible, and wonder why God would call us to something like that. And it's painfully flawed from the very beginning. One definition of holy is "being set apart." Notice there is no verbs of action there. Just one huge stative one- BE.

Don't focus on HOLY. Focus on BE.

Be loved and be loving.
That's it. Those are the commands. Everything in the Law and Prophets hangs on them, as Jesus said in the greatest sermon of all time.
Everything else flows out of these two realities, being loved by God and being loving towards Him and others. Focus on being and live. Focus on doing and die. Allow your being to drive your doing and not the other way around. Don't believe one of the biggest deceptions - "do in order to be."
Believe that you ARE because of what Jesus DID.

from wilmore, with Love.


John David Walt said...

I like the way you have said this Jeremiah. Nice work. a similar way I think about this: if vocation flows from identity then our vocation will reinforce our identity. the crucial FIRST THING is identity. who do you be?

on the other hand, i am trying to steer clear of the being-doing dichotomy. here's where i am leaning-- beholding and becoming. note the use of "be" there. help me think about that. jd

jeremiah said...

easy one- I think you have said it before: you become what you behold.

crucial identity: I am HIS. First, foremost, and nothing will change that. Out of this reality births vocation, financial decisions, the way I drive, and at what age bella will wear lipstick.

KellyLawson22 said...

First of all, you're tearing up this blog lately! Love it.

Second of all, well said. Love it. Love the challenge.


Sarah said...

Refreshing truth. Thanks J.