"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Friday, September 9, 2011

Who We Are vs What We Do

Our society values productivity and accomplishment. These expectations produce an atmoshpere of constant activity as people scurry around trying to do more and more. There is no free time because if any accidently appears, more stuff is quickly crammed into it.

These observations are not ground breaking. Many before me have taken not of the culture of relentless activity. The truth is it produces little more than exhasuted, worn-out, burnt-out people. It leads to a disconnect with families and nonexistent self care.

So my questions is, why do we do it?

I beleive the answer lies in the idea that we are nothing more than our accomplishments. We convince ourselves we have no personhood outside of what we do. Take away those trappings and we would cease to exist. More frightening to many, we would cease to be considered important by others. Since so few people truly have a strong, independent sense of self, this could easily be a tragedy.

I do not believe it has to be this way. More to the point, I do not believe it should be this way. There is much better if you have the courage to take it.

I truly believe that each person has intrinsic value and is worthwhile in and of themselves. I believe that within each heart, God has planted the seeds of greatness. By greatness, I do not mean the defination normally employed by society. I do not believe it entails a socially powerful, flashy, or notorious life where "everyone" knows you or worse, fears you. In fact with those extra pressures weighing heavily, I wonder if it is not harder to achieve ture joy and peace if you are that kind of "great" person.

No, the greatness I speak of is living a life of relational fullness. A life listening to the voice of God t guide you on a path that will quietly benefit you and those in your sphere of influence. A life filled with soft moments of true contentment and peace. Knowing each day you intentionally choose to live as many moments as possible intentionally and to their fullest potential.

That life may not look like much from the outside but on the inside, it is a life containing far more moments soaring with the eagles rahter than wallowing with the pigs.

Another aspect is how we view othe people. Often we are ignorant of the acts of kindess and charity the people around us commit and live out each day. How many people secretly slip the pastor a hundred dollars for the family who just lost their income? How many go about their lives helping neighbors, visitng the sick, and caring for those struggling? They quietly give aid, not looking for recognition. Instead they choose to preserve the dignity of those they help and are not looking to raise their own worth in the public eye.

How many times do we judge peole harshly when we cannot begin to fathom or understand their true story?

The bible tells us to live quiet lives of righteousness (please note this isn't self-righteousness) and to do good secretly and not seek public recognition. Christ also taught in the Sermon on the Mount that we should not judge others. I think these are both important ideas to keep in mind. Perhaps it will help us assign positive intent.

Many will argue that what we do is a testament to who we are and I agree, and disagree. It is a component and it does tell part of your story. But it is such a small part of you that it cannot be considered reliably indicative of your true self in enough instances. .

In the end, you are valuable and truly mean something just because you are you.

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