Things that make you go hmm . . .


Shanell T. SmithSaying ‘no’ to say ‘yes’
A poem about all the things the world tells us we “should” be doing

by Shanell T. Smith

Any ministry is good.
If it’s what God is calling you to do.
But if that’s not the case,
It’s simply busy-work, my dude.
God calls us to rest,
Isn’t that what the Psalmist said?
Psalm 23:2
Yep, that’s what I read.
Lying in green pastures
Should make me pause
To revel in God’s wonder
But instead I get lost
In a laundry list of shoulds
Need-to-dos, and woulds
Despite the fact that God
Helps me to do these goods.
I need to slow down
But the pressure is upon me
To perform, keep up, excel,
Keep from drowning!
Don’t let up, don’t show fatigue
Must. Keep. Going.
To stay in the league . . .

On my own.
That’s what it boils down to.
The responsibility of my temple
Of my body that’s just a rental
Is on me.
I must resist the constant need
To produce, to outpour more
And just be!
Be who God has called me to be.
Just me!
Like the leaves on the trees
Just be.
To rest. To breathe.
To look at the beauty of God
All around me

To stop the world
And the messages it’s sending
It can be unrelenting
No. No more.
I’m. I’m worth more!
Saying “no” means saying “yes!”
To something else
And today it means saying “yes”
To myself!

Shanell T. Smith is a teaching elder in the PC(USA) and assistant professor of New Testament and Christian origins at Hartford Seminary.