Friday, February 28, 2014

Human Being or Human Doing?

Well, I just ended my evening sitting around a chimney fire, telling jokes, and knitting with residents. This is my "job," my new life for the next few months. It's crazy to think I've been here only two weeks. The CooperRiis community is so loving and welcoming, I feel like I'm already part of the family here.

My first week was full of life lessons and a growing compassion for people and health. The farm is really beautiful, and I'm on the third floor with a spectacular view of the mountains out my window. With my little chair I face out that direction every morning in solitude and devotion - I am truly grateful.
So I have already experienced many firsts! For the first time the airport lost my baggage, which made for an interesting first few days living off of sample toiletries and clothes from the "free bin." I went snow-tubing for the first time (in Toms y'all, I was not prepared..), learned how to knit (and I'm progressing with less and less "love spots"), and took a shot at archery last weekend (channeled my inner-Katniss of course). There's really no other way to explain my time here so far without using the word "fun." I really am having a blast living here and working alongside residents.
So at the CooperRiis farm, everyone is divided into different crews to take on various responsibilities. There is Kitchen, Garden, Farm, and Campus Crew where workers and residents work side by side throughout the day. For most of my first week I helped out on Campus Crew, a team which helps keep the lodges and facilities clean and tidy. The days flew by and I noticed that much of the daily routine on the farm is focused on "being." While I squeezed oranges alongside a resident who peeled potatoes, scrubbed the shower while a resident wiped the counters, I did so methodically - there was no deadlines, nothing was urgent, there was no ending product that I had to stress about. I was simply being in the moment, building relationships as I worked alongside residents.

One day, as I swept the stairs and mopped it down my mind snapped and I thought "I have a college degree." I realized the work I was doing was comparative to a janitorial position and for a split second the mentality to DO and ACCOMPLISH tried to creep in. We live in a society that SO emphasizes accomplishment and success and money, but I personally desire none of it. I have felt extremely fulfilled the last few days with work that allows me to be fully present in the moment, not caught worrying about the future or the next task. I have been able to be fully engaged in a task that simply needs to be completed, to be fully intentional with the team around me, to be fully embracing every moment. Friends! It has been such a beautiful thing. I think for so long I've been wrapped up in this task-driven mindset that I began to feel less like a human being and more like a human doing. Eventually life had started to feel like a compilation of worthless actions lacking heart or soul or real meaning.

I used to bring this into my faith as well. I want to DO BIG things for God! I want to MOVE MOUNTAINS. I want to ESTABLISH an incredible ministry. But then wait - who have I made it about then? In Matthew, when Jesus talks about the high officials and social hierarchy which aims at authority he tells the disciples that it should not be so with them. INSTEAD, he says

"whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matt 20:26).

Jesus tells us that we are to be the complete opposite of what society tells us. Rather than aiming for power over others, we are to humble ourselves as their servant.

I was scrubbing floors... and having a Jesus moment, feeling grateful that the Lord had brought me to this place where I found authentic joy in being whatever I needed to be in order to love and serve this community in whatever way it needs it. Cause see, there's a difference between forced service and authentic service. Sometimes, when we feel that WE need to be the ones to do, do, do for others... we get burnt out. Yet when we switch our mentality to surrender to the Lord and simply fall in love with Him, we find that we more easily love others. We begin to genuinely desire to love and serve them.

Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me" (Matt 25:40). 

"Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty." (Matt 23:11-12, MSG)

When we serve and love God, the Spirit enables us to serve and love others and see them as made in His very image. As you surrender to the love that God pours into your heart, the outpour of that love will flow to others.

My time here on the farm has been so eye opening! As the Lord works in me, I am reminded of His sovereignty over all my weaknesses and shortcomings. To think He could use me as an outlet for His words and His actions and His love is overwhelming! My desire is that more would come to know the beauty of simply being. I asked myself the other day - if money didn't exist, if society considered all work equally acceptable, if power and success and recognition were completely taken out of the picture...What would I enjoy? How would I use my energy and my time?

Honestly...I don't know. So so much of me has been molded by these things that I have had to stop and reflect on what kind of person God has designed me to be. What talents, skills, traits would I utilize if nothing in society held me back?

The truth is, we can walk in freedom from this world if we choose to. Jesus set us free to have eternal, intimate communion with God, a relationship that unveils our soul's identity and reveals the beautiful design He created within us. I'm still in the process of discovering that design. Sometimes the process hurts and sometimes it's really exciting and rejuvenating. Wherever you are in the process, my prayer is that you won't allow the world and its lies of what you should and shouldn't do stand in the way of discovering genuine freedom to BE, to LIVE fully, and to LOVE every second.

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