I sometimes struggle with having an adequate balance of busyness and quiet time. Does anyone else deal with that? Surely I’m not the only one. Why is it so hard to unwind and simply “be”?
The sermon on Sunday brought this to the forefront. Travis, the pastor, was talking about rest. More specifically, where or who do we go to for our rest? One of the scriptures referenced was about Mary and Martha.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, allow me to paraphrase: Mary and Martha were sisters who lived in Jesus’ time. Jesus and several others were at their house for a meal. They were all talking and enjoying themselves, but Martha was so preoccupied with getting things ready that she couldn’t sit and enjoy His company. Instead, she stewed and simmered about the fact that she was stuck in the kitchen while her sister sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him. Eventually, she reached her limit and walked out to Jesus, saying to him, “Lord – don’t you care that I’m doing all of this work while my sister just sits there?”
I can picture it. How embarrassing! For Martha, for making such a public display of bad manners. For Mary, for being called out like that. For the guests, who were probably studying their toes quite intently and coughing awkwardly. And for Jesus, for being put in the position to say who was right and who was in the wrong.
At first glance, it’s easy to see why you might think that Martha was justified. After all, how fair is it that she was doing the work while Mary just sat around. Don’t get me wrong – there’s a time and a place for work. But Mary had her priorities right – her focus was first and foremost on God. Still, there’s a big part of me that sympathizes with Martha and that wants her to be right. I’ve had times when I was trying to organize something but stuff wasn’t coming together the way that I wanted. I’ve had moments where I’ve grumped and harrumphed at Chris for spending too much time socializing while I’m stuck in the kitchen, sighing like a bellows and blowing my bangs out of my red, frustrated face. Who enjoys being around that? Certainly not me! I get unattractive and waspish and… eugh.
It’s an easy attitude to fall into, and once you’ve got it, it’s only a matter of time before it spills over to other areas of my life. Today, for example. I was so rushed about getting out with Joe that I wasn’t enjoying the morning. Running around, trying to get ready so that we could “have fun” made me more stressed than if I’d just had a quiet morning at home with him, playing on the carpet. I ended up snapping at Chris over the phone. I felt icky and ugly inside for having such a rotten attitude when so many things in my life were going well. Thankfully, I came to my senses soon after and called Chris to apologize. I cut my workout short by about 15 minutes so that I could just sit, relax, and recharge. I needed to take time to chat with God while giving myself a few moments of peace and quiet. I was rested and we ended up having a wonderful time at the pool with a friend.
So, where do I find my rest? Is it in other people? In activities? Is it in having a well-kept home? Is it in looking good myself? Or do I find my rest in God? I should. To put it nicely, I shouldn’t be spending so much time in the kitchen that I end up missing out on the fact that God’s in my living room, ready and waiting for me to spend time with Him.
I realize that not everyone who reads this blog believes in God. Regardless, I encourage you to take a few moments to turn off the TV, shut down the computer, and turn off the iPod so that you can listen quietly to yourself while appreciating the good things in your life 🙂