How do you actively move towards being the beloved rather than working hard to prove your worth?
What practices do you recommend for people who are trying to resist the economy of success and productivity?
What does it look like to live in a world of achievement and measurement with a desire for blessing and trust?
On Tuesday night, I had a chance to read from To Be Made Well at Yale Divinity School alongside poet Christine Lincoln. One participant asked us some version of the questions I listed above. Christine had a more radical response than I did. She explained how she has committed to doing nothing. No more hustle. No more grind. Just receiving and responding to grace. Saying yes to the invitations that come her way. Trusting the Spirit to bring what she needs.
I answered with two different possibilities:
One, an interior practice of being rather than doing.
This can take the form of setting a 5-minute timer while sitting in the presence of Love and receiving the grace God has for each of us. It can take the form of a 24-hour intentional Sabbath period. It can take the form of taking a walk in the woods. But the point is to move intentionally and regularly inward with the Spirit of God in order to receive love.
Two, an exterior practice of regular proximity to people who are not living by the values of metrics and achievement.
Regular proximity to people who would recognize themselves in the Beatitudes (those who know themselves as poor in spirit, meek, mourning, etc.). This could take the form of a weekly visit to an elderly neighbor, or playing a game with a child, or eating a meal with a person with an intellectual disability.
Regularly resting in the presence of God’s love. And regularly engaging with the ones who don’t conform to the measures of success. If we can inhabit that practice and find those people, we will be far more likely to believe our own belovedness and live out of that love.
More with Amy Julia:
- S6 E5 | The Healing Work of Rest with Ruth Haley Barton
- And You Will Be Blessed
- S6 E4 | The Beauty of Life Together with Willie James Jennings
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