Feeling the Tension Between Doing and Being

Feeling the Tension Between Doing and Being - Grace Fox

Noah and Enoch knew how to be followers of God, how to be in right relationship with Him, how to be blameless before Him.

The tendency toward “doing”

As a task-oriented person, I’m tempted to start the New Year by writing a long list of goals I’d like to accomplish in 2010. It would start with basic stuff like….

  • Lose another 10 pounds.
  • Keep my office tidier by filing papers immediately rather than letting them pile up.
  • Figure out how to connect Facebook with Twitter.
  • Learn to use my new iPod.
  • Read one book per week.
  • Spend less on groceries.

It would graduate to tougher things such as…

  • Develop a half dozen new speaking topics.
  • Begin teaching “Weekend to Remember” marriage conferences with Gene.
  • Reevaluate my schedule to make time for researching and writing another book.
  • Be intentional about developing a friendship with one particular lady in my townhouse complex.

I find that writing goals is a good exercise for me. It forces me to think about what I hope to achieve, and helps me determine concrete steps necessary to get the job done. Yet, because I’m so task-driven, it’s easy for me to get hung up on doing, doing, doing.

The importance of “being”

In my eagerness to accomplish much, I sometimes neglect to simply “be.” As a career missionary, I find it a constant struggle not to let my work consume me, but rather, to focus on my relationship with Jesus and let ministry flow from that.

I bought myself a new copy of The One Year Bible (after four years of being marked up and underlined, the old copy needed to be replaced) and have started reading from the beginning again. Wouldn’t you know it? Early in Genesis, I find a reminder to keep the right perspective on doing versus being.

Tucked into a long list of who begat who, we find these words:

“Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God” (Genesis 5:22-24).

Skip to Genesis 6:8-9 and read these words:

“Noah found favor with the Lord…Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.”

These passages don’t elaborate about what Enoch and Noah did with their time, the goals they set, and the things they accomplished (Noah’s ark story comes later), but they do tell us what God deemed important.

These guys knew how to “be”

They knew how to be followers of God, how to be in right relationship with Him, how to be blameless before Him. That’s what I want to be, too.

How about you?

Do you feel the same tension as I do between doing and being?

What are your thoughts?

Know you are loved,


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  1. Grace, I struggle with the same thing. I know being is more important than doing, but the doing is so… distracting? consuming?

    Yet the being with God is what brings us life. I keep remembering how Jesus defended Mary as having chosen the best part by choosing to sit at His feet. Someday, by God’s grace, I will learn…

  2. Funny, after reading this post my next stop was the InScribe blog, and Marcia Lee Laycock’s post also speaks of the bustle of doing and of finding rest as a better way. The link is http://inscribewritersonline.blogspot.com/2010/01/future-tense-marcia-lee-laycock.html if you’re interested.

    Two consecutive posts about being still with God, being with and knowing Him and letting the doing come from this instead of being driven by it… I’m listening, Lord!

  3. Thanks for being faithful to post regularly Grace……..your comments are nourishing and thought provoking……always.
    I’m in a spot healthwise wherein I can’t be “doing” much and it has opened my eyes to the greater “Just Being” not only with God, but being who he has made me to be. It’s a lot simpler and when he brings someone along either to receive from or to give to, it is most wonderful. Not too late to have this eye-opener, so I want to make the best use of my time.

    1. Hi Karelyn:
      Everyone’s situation is different and brings its own set of challenges. Blessings on you, my friend, as you continue being who God made you to be.

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