What On Earth Are We Doing?
Worthiness: Under Construction
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how addicted we are to being busy. If you ask someone how they are doing, nine times out of ten they’re sure to reply:
“I’m good! But I’m busy.”
Always busy. And we think busy is good.
Think about that question we so often ask, “How are you doing?”
I know that when we ask that question, we’re inquiring about the state of that person’s heart, but their answer always entails their busy Christmas shopping, or how much overtime they worked, or how much their sociology group project is taking over their life.
We’re under the impression that its our doings that make us who we are. It’s as if being human means being some kind of bio-machine that is solely designed to perform various tasks. We believe that doing gives us meaning. In fact, we think it’s about what we do that makes us good people, when throughout most of history, it was both what you do and who you are.
So we’re aways doing something.
Running a marathon.
Volunteering for five different church ministries.
Starting a business.
We have this idea that the more of those things we can add to our plate at once, the more content we’ll be. We’ll finally have arrived and proven our worth and justified our existence.
The Restless Doers
I think that endless act of doing more to do more is driving us all nuts. We’re constantly turning the wheels with no end in sight!
I bet if you’re anything like me, you spend every second you can working on something. It might be that essay, or that novel you swear you’ll finish. Maybe it’s that relationship that is almost perfect. Maybe it’s your job. Maybe it’s your hobby. We’re always working on trying to figure out the right things to do. The best next steps to take. The right classes, courses, internships, careers, business decisions, etc.
In my experience, I always feel like there’s a lack of time for all of those things. It’s like time is this ever-decreasing commodity that I never have enough of. It’s always slipping through my fingers. To some degree that is true. Time is precious, and we can’t restock. We can’t just buy extra time from the checkout isle.
But what’s also true, is that I can’t be all things to all people. At some point, we have to stop and realize that there’s more to being human than doing. Some of that precious time we have has to be spent recharging. Resting. Praying. Being.
So how we use that time is incredibly important to our success, but also to our wellbeing. To our emotional health. To our sanity.
That endless doing never gets us what we’re seeking. We think that peace, security, happiness, and fulfillment are right around the corner. If we can finish the tasks at hand, then we will be at ease. Then we will have peace. Then we can rest. Then we can be.
Where Real Peace Comes From
At it’s core, I think this whole issue of busy-addiction, and self-justification we struggle with is an identity issue. We’re trying to find value and meaning for ourselves in a culture that won’t give an answer on if such a thing is possible. We’re trying to do stuff that seems like it matters so we can be someone who matters.
But we’ve forgotten what’s already true about us.
We are already so incredibly significant. According to the book of Genesis, we are all created in the Image of God.  Nothing else in creation holds that title.
We were created to do a few specific things:
1. Be with God
2. Be with each other
3. Work creation
So we were created to resemble the living God. And be in relationship with Him. And to be in community with each other. And to work the earth. To take care of God’s creation with Him, and one another.
We already had incredible meaning! Our meaning doesn’t come from how social we are, or how well we perform in school, or how good of a job we do at work.
Our meaning comes from the significance assigned to us by God who created us. It comes from Him who made us.
In Genesis 3, we see where all that gets messed up, and it explains why we are in the dilemma we are in. We decided to go our own way, and try and find our own meaning. We decided to figure out ethics, right and wrong, meaning, and peace alone in our own way, instead of the way of God, in the way the universe had been designed to work from the beginning.
To find that meaning again, to find that peace, we have to recognize who we are already. We’re image bearers. We’re gardeners. And we’re a community.
All of that is rooted in our relationship to God, which Jesus came to restore. Jesus was the Messiah, or chosen one, who lived perfectly in union with God, and then died a death for our disunion, our sin. He bore the brokenness of us, and forgave us through His own suffering.
His resurrection is the beginning of a new age. God’s doing things His way again on Earth, and that started with Jesus coming back to life, and restoring the order, the peace, or the shalom of God. Reconnecting Us, the image bearers, to him, the True Image. Reconnecting us to each other. And eventually, renewing the rest of creation.
In John chapter 15, Jesus is talking to his disciples, and He says that they are already clean because of His words.  They are cleansed because they’re attached to the true vine.
Because they know Him, they Know God. Knowing Him is Eternal Life . They don’t have to do all these things to show they’re worthy of God’s love. They don’t have to try and fix all these internal issues. They don’t have to worry about having the best résumé.
The peace of God comes in knowing that God loves you more than you could ever imagine, regardless of what you’ve done. It’s in knowing that even though we’ve all done bad things and been bad people, He has compassion to forgive us, and a desire to make us new.
The reality is, you’re incredibly significant by being human.
Just by breathing, you have meaning and worth, prescribed by God as His creation. And if you trust in Jesus. If you love Him and follow Him, and seek Him… If you know Him, then you Know God.
You know the One who made you. The one who made all of this. The one who gave you your mind, your talents, and your parents. The one who gave us birds, and dogs, and coffee.
The one who gave us stars, and nebulas, and the moon.
And each other.
And most significantly, you know the One who gave Himself in order that He could have you back again.
Resting in What’s Already True
So quit trying to find value in the doings. You never will. Once you get where you’re going, you won’t be satisfied. You’ll press on to the next, bigger, better thing. You’ll always feel insignificant. You’ll always be comparing yourself to others (which is the best way to ensure you’re miserable).
Stop searching for value in the things, and realize the value you already have by being who you are created to be. And realize that peace, value, meaning, love, truth, and beauty all come from Jesus. He is behind the curtain of everything good and perfect. He is behind those stars, and that moon. He is the one who created those feelings of wonder you have when listening to good music, and tasting good food.
I think we should really explore what it means for God to be creator, and for us to be created in His image. What does it mean for us to take part in Jesus’ relationship to His father, as ‘adopted sons and daughters’?
I heard this quote, not from a christian source, but I think it’s absolutely true. 
“Ego says: Once everything falls into place, I will find peace.
Spirit says: Find peace and everything will fall into place.”
The quote itself is spot on. We’re concerned with getting all the pieces together, and we think that when that happens we’ll have value, and meaning, and peace.
But the peace our hearts long for, the peace we were created for is only found in the God who created us . If we find His peace, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, then everything else will fall into place.
This isn’t to say things won’t still happen, life will still happen, and life is messy. But, you won’t be frantically trying to construct the perfect life, and search for value in things or people. You will find yourself already valuable, already meaningful, at peace, and loved to a degree beyond comprehension.
We should live in that. We should abide in Jesus, and who He says we are because of who He is and what He has done for us.
That is who we are as followers. Image-bearers. Sons and Daughters of God. Significant. Gifted. Loved. 
Next weeks follow-up post will discuss how to do things that actually matter in light of these truths, instead of the type of endless, purposeless doing we talked about here. Be sure to check back!
- Genesis 1:27 ↩
- I’m getting this idea from the text in Genesis. God created Adam and Eve in His image, and had a relationship with them. It says He walked in the garden with them. He gave Adam and Eve each other. And He gave them a mission: to be fruitful and multiply, and subdue the earth. Genesis 1-2. ↩
- Adam and Eve’s ‘project’ was essentially to tend to the garden of eden and subdue the whole earth. That’s why I call us gardeners here. ↩
- John 15:2 ↩
- John 17:3 ↩
- and all truth is God’s truth. ↩
- I don’t know if the guy who said that quote was going for this idea, though. I’m reclaiming that quote for the kingdom 🙂 ↩
- For further reading on topics of your identity in Christ, and how to live in light of who Jesus is, read The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller, and The Truest Thing About You by David Lomas. Both are fantastic resources that have shaped my faith and my life. ↩