Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part four)…

Please join us over at Refreshmoments for more Ruby Tuesdays’ posts. Feel free to write your own and link up. To read parts one – three of my series, click here.

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“She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” (Proverbs 31:15).

Do you get up while it is still dark? I don’t, at least not intentionally. There are some days, though, when I come fairly close.

Like today, when my alarm clock came early. It didn’t “beep” me awake. It “pounded” me to my senses. The culprit behind the pounding? Little feet heralding their arrival to a new day as they made their way down the stairs with all the bright and bushy of an ardent squirrel.

They were “set” on go. I was “set” otherwise … on going nowhere. Nevertheless, I swung my legs over the left side of the bed (not an easy feat for a woman growing ever closer to 43), and quietly whispered the penchant of my weary flesh…

“Jesus, help me.”

Nothing more, nothing less, but, undoubtedly, the best greeting I could give to my day. When my children awoke this morning, they awoke to very little as it pertained to their mother’s early morning preparations. No bacon and eggs frying in a pan. No freshly folded attire laid out for a day’s wearing. No previously packed lunches.

No, when my kids greeted this new day, they did so with a blank slate waiting to be filled and with a momma who wasn’t quite feeling up to the task of participation.

I’m not an early riser. I’m a night owl. I go to bed while it is still dark, but rarely do I intentionally rise before the sun finds her place. Nights are the times of solitude in my home. After beds have been turned and teenagers have found their quiet, I am finally able to drink in some moments of devotional pause with my Father. I go to sleep with Jesus on the brain. He is the last one I think about … the last one I talk with … and the last breath I breathe before I say good-night to my world.

Accordingly, He is almost always the first One I think about when the abrupt of a new day announces its arrival. After the kids have been cared for and shuffled off to school, I often return to the confines of my comfort, grab my Bible and a good devotional read that sits beside. Those moments afford me the luxury of re-aligning my thoughts with God’s thoughts for the day. And while my routine probably wouldn’t make the best seller list for how to “do life” with Jesus, it works for me.

And lest we get “stuck” in our own ideas of how to best orchestrate a devotional life—that somehow we hold the market on the perfect approach to discipleship—we need to be willing to see our lives with Jesus beyond the compartmentalization that so often accompanies our well-structured faith.

Doing life with Jesus is not about when we wake up in the morning. It is not even about what we wake up to do with our day. Being a mighty woman—a woman of noble character and worthy of a ruby’s crown—has nothing to do with our doing. Rather, it has everything to do with our being—what we wake up to be everyday. And what we wake up to be must precede what we wake up to do if our doing is to have any lasting merit.

Cooking breakfast and folding laundry and the accompanying “to dos” that so quickly crowd our 24/7 isn’t the stuff of everlasting significance. Indeed, they are our necessary, but they don’t grow us in our faith. What grows us is our decision to be someone beyond our perfunctory checklists. Prior to our ever doing anything, we must settle on our being but one thing.

God’s.

And once that’s settled, once we’ve arrived at the conclusion that our life’s work revolves around the heart of servant discipleship, then we are more readily able to approach a day’s agenda worth of doing. It matters not the task that falls to us; what matters is the heart behind the task. It is a heart that is prepared to be many things to many people because it has been shaped by the hands of a God whose sole intention is on being all things to all people.

We simply stand in the flesh to be the witness of what He bowed in the flesh to become.

A servant. A foot-washer. A heart-cleanser. A least of these among the least of these in order that the Greatest of these could be seen, could be felt, and could be tasted at the deepest level of a needful grace. What Jesus came into this world to be was decided for Him long before He came into this world to do. And that doing?

Well, it’s everything to us as believers in the sacrificial work of the cross. Without the “doing” of the cross, we are left as is … without the hope and promise of God’s better. But Jesus’ decision to be that sacrifice … to wake up every morning in a posture of submission to the will of His Father … well, without that decision, there would be no cross. No week of remembrance. No rolled away stone, and no Easter celebration.

Doing a day’s work and doing a life’s mission is rooted in a decision to first being God’s servant. And if we’re going to “do” anything of worth for the kingdom, then we must do so from a heart that is convinced about being completely His. Otherwise, our deeds sow temporal and in selfish isolation.

Being God’s is a decision that I make prior to a morning’s arrival, while it is yet dark. It is a choice that goes to sleep with me and that wakes me up with the same. The Truth that slumbers within me is the Truth that walks next to me as I go in and out of my next twenty-four hours of agenda. I don’t want to have to wake up and set that in concrete. I want it cemented in my heart prior to my eye’s awakening.

From the rising of the sun, to the setting down of the same, I want to be God’s girl. Then and only then, am I better equipped to do God’s work.

Being over doing. It is the way of a sacred heart. It is the preceding choice that mandates all others. At least it should. Thus, may our being God’s this day serve as the guiding light that sets our agenda for our doing and that keeps us in a reverent posture as we go.

It’s both the least and the best that we can be for Jesus. As always,

~elaine

Copyright © April 2009 – Elaine Olsen

28 Responses to Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part four)…

  1. Amen and amen. Being over doing. I was a doer for years. It took coming overseas to break me from the performance trap (I didn’t even know I was in it!) and set me free to live out who I am already in Christ. I get excited just thinking about that!

    Thanks for the wonderful thoughts for today, friend.

  2. Yes!! I find Jesus whispering that to my heart more and more lately! “Remain in me, Dwell in me, Just BE in me.” And the doing will get done.

    Beautiful post! Absolutely beautiful.

  3. AMEN ELAINE.WHAT A BEAUTIFUL POST.YOUR BLOG IS ALWAYS A BLESSING TO ME.I CHECK IT EVERYDAY!HAVE A GREAT DAY! BLESSINGS,FAYE

  4. I’ve heard it said that is why we are called “human BEings”, not “human doings”. God intends us to ‘be’.

    I guess it comes down to that famous quote, and the choice is ours. “To be, or not to be” is still the question.

    Being His,
    Joy

  5. Elaine,

    Being and doing, for some reason I thoughty they go hand in hand. Like looking in the mirror but not remembering the next second. I’m thankful that He is the reason behind my being and doing. And actually in this season of my life, He has me doing a lot more being, and a LOT LESS DOING. Love to you, Yolanda

  6. I always look forward to your posts, but I must say Ruby Tuesdays I greatly anticipate. The idea of being vs. doing and the way they are so closely related IF we are a surrendered being is so awesome. Thank you, my dear sister-in-Christ, for sharing these life-giving, vessel-changing words today. I take them much to heart.

    In His Love,

    Andrea

  7. This spoke to my heart today. I so easily get caught up in doing and the list of things to get done instead of just quietly listening to the Lord and spending time with Him.

  8. Such a powerful reminder. It is so easy to get caught up in the doing and skip the being, and count on what we accomplish. God knows the heart, and that is all we need. (Oh, and by the way, I’m DEFINITELY an early riser. Almost always up before the sun)

  9. wifeforthejourney:

    Ever immersed in my doing, I need, and do receive, your encouragement to “be.” How I want to “be” the man God has made me to be and live my identity in Christ over and above the demands of my day.

    You are just what I need today. Thank you for the word you have shared AND your time getting ready for Bible study tonight.

    Love,
    Billy

  10. I thoroughly enjoy the way you mine a scripture. I also loved the picture you posted with the moonlit night sky. I stared long at it.

    Some years ago, when I held a huge job and was just launching kids, I had so little time for devotionals. But I longed for it … and them. So I made myself get up at 4AM, and for the next 90 minutes focused on God's word & ways.

    That was 25+ years ago, and I do it still. Truth be told, I've always been a morning person so it was not completely a sacrifice. For me it was a discipline, and I'm always in want of that.

    I'd also like to stay up past 9PM sometime …

    Hugs & blessings & prayers,
    Kathleen

  11. Amen Elaine!

    What an awesome reminder this afternoon! The woman described in Proverbs 31 really had it together. I’m telling ya, waking up early in the morning is truly a drag for me these days- especially being seven months along. Yet, the Lord is speaking to me about that being our time. I’m going to obey!

    Your post always bring joy and peace for my spirit and my journey!

    Blessings to you,
    Kennisha

  12. Jesus’ decision to be the sacrifice for our sins — for my sins — blows me away. How great the love…

    By the way, Elaine, I’ve become a night owl, too. I think it kind of happens naturally as your kids get older and keep you up later and later 🙂

  13. I like to remember two things that Mother Teresa used to say…

    First, that she considered herself “a pencil in God’s hand”.
    Secondly, “let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier”.

    When we place ourselves into His hands and rest completely there … then “It matters not the task that falls to us; what matters is the heart behind the task.”

    Our being God’s first and foremost, will produce the fruit He desires for the tasks He assigns. Then the people who encounter us would leave our presence better and happier – for they would have enjoyed the fragrance of Christ through us.

    Love the reminder!
    Being
    His!
    Denise

  14. You wrote, “Jesus, help me.

    Sometimes, sister, that’s all we need to pray! And all glory to God that Jesus is at His right hand, even now, interceding for us (reference Romans 8:34). And, praise Him that in our greatest weakness, when we can barely emit a groan, His Spirit also “intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (reference Romans 8:26-27).

    Yes, sister, I remember the time in my life when the Martha in me met the Mary in me … when the “do-er” became the “be-er”. What liberation! What freedom in Christ! (Reference Galatians 5:1).

    Be-ing right with you, my friend. 🙂 Even on those mornings when all I can utter is “Jesus, help me.”

  15. Wow. So much here. I’ve been in Proverbs 31 lots today, and this was perfect timing for me. Trying to make sense of what it means to be a woman of noble character. This is it for me, right here:

    “And what we wake up to be must precede what we wake up to do if our doing is to have any lasting merit.”

    Love this post!

  16. Such encouraging words this morning. I find myself very often so bogged down in doing and not being! Thank you.

  17. Hello, my sweet friend.

    I have found, over the years, that God challenges me to change my devotional times regularly. I have a shameful tendency toward legalism, and changing my routine enables me to guard against this.

    He meets us where we are.

    love you!

    Laura

  18. I’m not sure what mode I’m in today. Just being I think because I have sure not “done” much yet! 🙂

    I do really want to BE what He wants. And in being, maybe I will know what to DO.

    Marilyn

  19. There is a song by Rush of Fools entitled, “Already”…

    I try my best to work for Your love
    I never rest, hoping You’ll want me to

    [Chorus:]
    When it’s already, it’s already, it’s already been done
    When it’s already, it’s already, it’s already been done

    I never stop believing there’s more I can do
    I just can’t resist searching for ways to please You

    [Chorus]

    There’s nothing more there’s never less
    It’s only You and I am blessed

    Well, there’s nothing more there’s never less
    It’s only You and I am blessed

    It reminds me that “being” trumps “doing” everytime.

    And that actually our “doing” is only birthed out of our “being”…

    With Love! 2 days until your birthday!!!

  20. Wonderful post– I sound like a broken record but I truely read every word you write and as I do, I hear God’s truths but I can’t help but admire the way you write and present it to us.

  21. I do get up before the dawn most every day… now… but it wasn’t always that way. All my life I was a lazy [not a morning] person and would sleep in as late as possible until God got a hold of me last summer from Proverbs 31 and the Psalms. He showed me – that for me – sleep was an idol. It took months – but I committed to getting up at 5AM each morning and spending time with Him. It turned into 4 hours of prayer and study time – that lingered throughout the day.

    But then [unfortunately] the 5AM thing became a pride issue [why is it that we go from one issue to the next?] UGH!! Or maybe it’s just me?

    Finally – I came to the place where I asked the Lord to get me up when HE wanted me up and now – most days I am up at 6AM – sometimes earlier and sometimes just a bit later – but He proved to me that even God can teach an ‘old dog’ new tricks!

    Now I love getting up early and on mornings when I sleep til 7AM – I see [later] how much I missed.

    As far as the ‘doing’ and ‘being’ – they do go hand in hand – but the BEING with the LORD comes first – and then the doing automatically follows! I love His process of that!

    The LORD longs to BE with us – and we should long to BE with Him just as much! His Presence is everything to me!

    Looking UPward and Choosing JOY,
    Stephanie
    [In Flight]

  22. yes! my thoughts echo yours written here…being is so much more important. thanks for sharing.

  23. How very easy it is to get caught up in our doing while missing the opportunity to just "be." Although I often feel more like Martha, my heart longs to be more like Mary…simply sitting at His feet and just lingering with Him. Thank you for the challenge to "be" God's girl…may it be so.

    Abundant blessings & Happy Easter!
    Tracy

  24. I don’t think I can say anything Elaine other than AMEN! You go right into the root of something and bring it all to the surface for us through Christ. I am deeply touched by this.

    Love you dear sister and I am so glad to be on this awesome journey with you. May your family have a blessed weekend at the foot of the cross in worship of our LORD.

  25. Much wisdom in this post Elaine. (Of course I resonate with it in part because I am also a night owl; the part of the day I most look forward to is after all the other lights in the house are out!)

    Thank you for all of your lovely Ruby Tuesdays posts; for being a consistent participant as well as a faithful reader and commenter. You bring me much encouragement.

    And I have a little encouragement for you, too. Stop by and take a look!

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