Tonight I lie on my living room floor by my fire place as dusk falls outside and I think about becoming versus producing.
I’ve been rather hooked on producing lately, if I’m honest. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to not rocking the boat and acting whatever part I need to play (as long as that falls within the bounds of my conscience) to keep everyone happy.
Sometimes that means that instead of doing what is healthiest for me and the others involved, I burn myself out on running this rat race of production— trying but always feeling like I’m failing.
I guess you could call it an obsession. Producing constant support to my kids even when it would be healthier for me to take the time apart that I need. Producing the put together appearance that I want everyone to believe is the real me.
It can be genuine. But it can also turn into a facade of going through the motions just enough to seem like nothing is wrong on the outside, while the inside is actually decaying.
I know I’m not the only one. Producing is far more popular than becoming. We evaluate ourselves and each other by how much we are producing. We’re successful if we’re earning well and have the model family.
It creeps into our relationship with God too. We think we’re good christians if we can keep all the rules, attend all the church programs, and engage in a lot of ministry opportunities.
But we forget about who we are becoming.
We get so lost in our race to output that we forget about what we are inputting to our souls. We spend so much time trying to do, that we forget to be. We live for our efforts that can be seen and considered as successful and neglect the heart work that would actually give us the fire to really be successful.
Because what if the reality of what we can produce is determined by who we become?
What if the good we can actually do in the world is not something that can be feverishly cranked out even when we’re way past the limits of our physical and mental energy but something that is developed in the quiet moments where we take time to grow and heal?
And I admit that I’ve been living the opposite to that lately. Sometimes we think that brute determination will be the key when in reality we’re putting all our effort into the wrong things and making everything worse. That’s been me.
I tend to have a habit of slapping bandaid after bandaid on my own wounds that I should be taking to the Healer and then gritting my teeth to deal with the pain. And then I complain that I’m worn out with my efforts and I’m not getting anywhere.
Yeah. Kind of obvious when I put it like that.
But I wonder how often we all do that?
After all, it’s a whole lot easier to put grunt effort into working towards our own solution instead of abandoning ourselves to whatever Jesus knows will really make us become whole.
I can’t tell you how many conversations God and I have that go something like this…
“But God, I am trying so incredibly hard to fix this. I just keep trying and trying and nothing changes. I don’t get anywhere.”
And you’d think I’d remember that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results. But sometimes I don’t.
There’s something not at all natural to us about being still and letting God work in us to become everything He intended for us. We’d rather go run out there and try and produce something to make us feel better about ourselves.
And yet we sell ourselves short. Every time we rush to produce instead of pausing to become, we take a step backwards in this process of growth.
Sitting by my fire place tonight it all makes a little more sense. The race to produce simply takes us in circles that spin around faster and faster until we are completely disoriented about where we are and who we are.
Because if we’re honest, the reason we want so bad to produce sometimes is because we don’t think we’re good enough. And that somehow we can do something to fix that. It’s something I’ve subconsciously believed my whole life.
But it’s not true.
Nothing we do is what makes us worth the love of the King. Nothing we can produce changes our value. It just fills us with a false confidence that we have some sort of control.
Maybe what we need instead is to learn who we already are. To sit at His feet and discover (or rediscover for the 100th time) what we actually mean to Him.
It’s then we become.
We’re not worried about how much we can accomplish. We don’t have to put on the facade and rush around to try and be enough. No.
Because instead He is writing on our hearts who He is and who we are to Him. He’s healing our wounds from the inside out. He’s changing and transforming. He’s making new.
And He’s so much better at it than we are.
Somewhere in that process as He heals all that is broken inside, He puts a fire in our bones to love Him back and tell the world about the heart work He’s done in our lives and how it has changed us.
Then He sends us out there and we accomplish far more for love than we ever could have done to prove to ourselves what we are worth.
When we really take time to become, He sets us free and produces the very things through us that we fought for so hard before. And it’s not a matter of trying.
Tonight the realization sinks in slow. If I’m spending all my energy trying, I’m doing something wrong. Because He is the One who does the changing. Not me.
He is everything I am not.
He is power that forms the universe by His very breath. He is love that makes life possible by His death. He is purity that cleanses sin by His presence. He is electricity that sets dead hearts burning again when He is inside of them.
He is the one that makes me become. And when He has done that more beautifully than I could ever dream, He produces in me and through me in ways I never could have done even if I had tried.
It’s all about Him. And tonight by fireside, I remember.
Jesus, I need you.
Become inside of me.
Change my heart so that it looks like yours.
Become You inside of me.
because that is what matters most, now.