Unquestionably, my life is full of continuous, often exasperating battles between doing and being.
Culture tells us that we are valuable because of what we do. It speaks to our senses, every moment of every day, telling us we need to do more. Our worth is based on what we accomplish, how we achieve, the number of hours we put in at the office, how much we make and how much we spend, and what we cross off our life’s to-do lists.
God tells us we are valuable because of who we are. He whispers in our hearts, every moment of every day, that He loves us because we are His. We are valuable because we are man, created in His image. Our worth is based on who we become—how conformed we can be to His will and the person He created us to be, the time we spend just being with Him in prayer, how we love, what we cross off our life’s to-be list.
In the many battles between doing and being that I stare in the face every day, week, month, and year, I regrettably lose to doing quite often. But my goal is to win the war. To be a saint, you have to win this war.
The saints became saints not by what they accomplished, but through who they became. In growing up, they managed to conform to the Gospel’s exhortations to become meek and humble of heart, to become like little children. Of course, the saints did tremendous works and deeds. They were often masters at doing. But that wasn’t their focus; it was the by-product of their being, of their living well.
I too often worry about what I am supposed to be doing to serve God. I should be much more concerned about who I am supposed to be to serve God. When I become that person, it will be so much clearer to me what He is calling me to do. St. Teresa of Calcutta, before she founded the well-known and loved Missionaries of Charity, who did so much for the poor in India, first became a person of deep prayer, a person of unbridled love for Her Savior, a “little pencil” in the hand of God. God chose her for who she was, not for anything she had done—and then He did great things through her.
Of course, Our Blessed Mother is the most perfect example of God’s preference for being over doing. The Lord was with Mary, not because of any work she had accomplished, but because she was His pure young handmaiden, a person full of grace.
Where is your focus? On doing or on being?
St. Catherine of Siena didn’t say, “If you do as much as you can, you will set the world on fire.” She famously and beautifully stated, “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze.”
First, just be. Be His.