I have come to expect the unexpected to come out of my toddler's mouth, but the other day she said something that literally stopped me in my tracks. Out of the blue, she said, “Mommy, what you doing in this world?” I was stunned. How very existential of my two year old! It took me a second to realize that she must have heard someone say, “What in the world are you doing?” and this was her translation. Nevertheless, the question, so central to humanity, so blunt and straightforward, had me stop and ask myself- what am I doing in this world? I was suddenly glad that she wasn’t actually trying to ask that question, because I was at a loss of how to answer.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
There are a lot of things we can do in the world, but in the end, all that matters is love. It is not the what, but the why, the motivation behind it, that will remain. So the real question is not “what are you doing in this world?” but rather, “why are you doing it?” There are many reasons why we do the things that we do- to gain power, to earn love, to feel worthy, to achieve prestige, to cover a hurt, to calm a fear, or to redeem a wrong. If we want the true motivation for our actions to be to love others, then we must have something else taking care of all of the needs listed above. The only way that we can act in love is to embrace the Father’s love for us, allowing it to fill us up, heal us, care for us, and restore us. When our fulfillment is complete in His love, we have all the resources we need to love others wholly and completely, and we can focus on being rather than doing.
Father, show me how to love others today. Show me any areas where I am doing the right things for the wrong reasons, and give me the discernment to know when I have allowed the action I’m taking to become more important than the reason that I am taking it. Thank you for your love which fulfills all my needs.
In what ways am I focused on what I am doing rather than who I am being?