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Being and Doing

Psalm 37:1-9

Setting the Stage:

Stephanie's Story

I kiss his downy head, close my eyes and inhale the sweet clean newborn smell. My favorite moments of the day—before either of us are fully awake. Before the alarm goes off and the fear sets in. Before I remember I'm in this alone.

"Mother! Tell her to give me my sweater."

"It's mine!"

"No, it's not! You borrowed it and never gave it back."

"Mother! Make her stop!"

I groan and look at the clock. Overslept. I'll be late again. The clamor stops at my bedroom door. "Mom?"

I hear the fear in my oldest daughter's voice. What if I die too? What would they do then?

The baby whimpers then relaxes into infant dreams. I pull on my terry robe and open the door. "Shh. You'll wake your brother."

"Rebecca, that sweater's filthy. Put it in the laundry hamper. You can borrow my blue one."

"What about me?"

I sigh and ruffle my eight-year-old's untidy curls. "Your red vest is in the closet. It'll match your socks." I hurry toward the kitchen hoping that will end the matter, but rebel-child is right on my heels.

"I don't want to wear that crummy old vest. Why does Becca always get everything?"

I can feel the beginnings of a headache and reach for the coffee pot. Cold.

"Because I'm oldest, that's why. Mom, the baby's crying. Can I pick him up?"

"No, me! It's my turn. I never get to do anything. I hate you! I want my dad!"

Her sobs fade behind a slammed bedroom door. Rebecca walks gingerly into the kitchen. The baby is draped over her shoulder, smiling and drooling down the back of my blue sweater.

"She doesn't mean it, Mom. Not the hate you part, anyway."

My ten-year-old knight, the peacemaker. I hug her, ignore the coffee pot and mix a bottle of formula instead.

"Have you eaten?"

She nods. A horn honks in the driveway. She grabs two sack lunches and heads down the hall. "Come on, Stacy, open up. Car pool's here."

I intercept them at the front door, reach around my nursing son and kiss Stacy's tear streaked cheeks. "I love you." I try a smile. She shrugs and follows her sister to the car. A street urchin with her uncombed hair and wrinkled skirt. Too late, I notice her red vest has one pocket ripped off.

The baby wails. I burp and change him, then lay him in the portable bassinet. He accepts the pacifier I swore none of my children would ever have, and I rush into the shower.

I catch the phone on the sixth ring. "We're okay," I reassure my mother. "The girls had a fight though. Stace is still acting out."

"I know it's normal. Look, Mom, I'm late for work again. If I don't get a move on, Laura's going to let me go."

"Yes, I know. But I need that job. Love you too. Bye."

Add two cereal bowls to the pile of dirty dishes in the sink. Mop up grape juice from the kitchen floor. Fill four bottles with formula. Stuff diapers, socks, three extra sleepers in the diaper bag.

The baby howls. He's wet again. I'd cry too, but I don't have time.

1. Stephanie is clearly overwhelmed with life's demands. In what ways do you relate to her?

How might the moments of being with her infant give Stephanie strength for all she has to do?

God's Word for Us

Read Psalm 37:1-9.

2. Compare Psalm 37:1-2 and Psalm 37:8-9. What are they asking us to let go of?

Why is it important to let go of these things?

3. Psalm 37:3 tells us to "trust in the Lord" and to "do good." Trusting (resting, relying on God) has to do with "being" and doing good, of course, has to do with "doing." How would you describe what it means to trust or to "be"?

How would you describe what it means to "do good"?

4. How would you describe the relationship between trusting and doing good?

Which of these is more difficult for you? Explain.

5. Psalm 37:4-7 continues to ask us to "be." What verbs are used in these verses?

6. Psalm 37:4-6 promises that certain results will come as we allow ourselves to be in relationship to God. What promises are made?

7. What experiences (positive or negative) do you have with the instructions in Psalm 37:4-7?

8. What might you do to restore balance between being and doing in your life?

Now or Later

Ideas to close your group meeting or personal study or for continued daily reflection.

Make a list of the activities of "doing" you participated in last week. Make a list of the activities of "being" you participated in last week.

Doing

Being

Evaluate your lists. How do the lists compare? What, if anything, might you change (add or subtract) this coming week?

Review the verbs that you listed in response to question 5. Spend time each day this week being with God in these ways. Keep a record of your experiences.

Read and reflect on Matthew 6:25-34.