“What did you do today?”
It’s an innocent question. One I usually like to answer. One I often use to get a conversation going.
It’s even a question I often ask myself.
I’m a doer. You too? We doers like to accomplish things. We make massive to-do lists and find glee in placing little check marks next to completed jobs. (Sometimes we even write down tasks we’ve finished that weren’t on the list just so we can make that satisfying check mark.)
But this week while I was reading and meditating on the psalms, God spoke to me about all my “doing.”
In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.
And the Holy Spirit highlighted the phrase “setting me free.” The phrase unsettled my soul. But I couldn’t figure out why.
The phrase conjured up images of chains falling off swollen wrists. Of bursting out of a dark dungeon into blinding sunshine. Of running through a swaying field of flowers.
I asked God why my heart needed to hear that particular phrase.
And the answer was that I have been bound to the chains of “doing.” Being a doer is not a bad thing. But it can get in the way of being a child of God if I am basing my value on my accomplishments. If I’m focusing on what I can do. If I view myself as worthless when my efforts don’t get the results I would like.
In that simple little phrase, “setting me free,” the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: What if instead of focusing on what you have done, instead of staring at what you haven’t done (ahem where I’ve failed), you began to concentrate on what God has done?
Later in Psalm 118 there is another phrase that grabbed my heart: “proclaim what the Lord has done” (verse 17).
In fact, Psalm 118 is full of things the Lord has done: He has
- loved me forever (verse 1)
- set me free (verse 5)
- helped me (verse 7)
- protected me (verse 8)
- done mighty things (verse 16)
And when I look back on the past few weeks of my life, I see that He has:
- given my husband a good health report–no cancer!
- helped me recover from a bad cold
- given me time with my daughter and her family
- granted me a new book contract
When I focus on “what the Lord has done” the chains of doing and the pressure of accomplishing fall away.
I am set free.
Next step: What has the Lord done for you this week? Make a list. And as you focus on what God has done, feel the pressure of accomplishment fall away.