The day I stopped trying to keep a perfect house (and perfectly dressed children, perfectly coiffed hair, etc. etc. etc.) is the day I found sweet freedom. Freedom from the overwhelming busyness that kept me from noticing God’s most amazing gifts. I’ve always known that its impossible to be perfect but somewhere deep inside I had this nagging need…it was as if I thought that I could lasso the entire world around me and hold everything in control nice and tidy. I laugh just thinking about this notion…the idea that we can keep a lid on all the chaos the world can throw at us. And there we stand ferociously dodging the mud balls of life and saying “aha” each time we think we’ve come out “clean.”
Maybe we even think we’ve found “the way” to be all and do all. There sure are plenty of blogs by women telling us how to organize our homes, children, and lives and how it will make us happier and healthier in doing so. Hogwash! I think I need to start a blog on how to stop all the strife!
I’m sure God must find us very entertaining at times, all our scurrying and hurrying about trying to outdo ourselves and sacrificing our health, peace, and sanity in the process!
There have been times in my life that I felt like God was very far away. When I look back, I remember that those were also times of striving and extreme busyness. Oh, I could very well sit here and blame all the busyness on my children, church, my family etc. But, we all know that when it comes down to it, we are the ones that make our schedule for the most part. I know some people have jobs that flat out drain every ounce of time from their days. But, with God’s guidance there is always time for rest and reflection…it just might mean giving up a few things we feel tied down to and maybe saying “no” or “later” to something or someone.
In Luke 10:38-42 Jesus had stopped to visit at the home of Martha and Mary. Martha was scurrying around and “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” Mary, on the other hand, was sitting at the feet of Jesus enjoying his company and listening to Him. Martha, in her indignant frustration, asks Jesus if he cares that her sister has left her to do all the work that needed done that day and pleads that Jesus tell Mary to help her. This is what Jesus said in return to Martha’s aggravated question:
“Martha, Martha, “the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42 NIV)
Martha is so much like many of us- frantically going about “doing”– pedal to the metal. We might even feel resentful that others aren’t “doing” enough to satisfy us or to our specifications. Eventually an attitude of superiority might even take over causing us to revel in our own accomplishments. But, how in these times can we truly find the moments to listen to God? We won’t. Jesus tells Martha that she is “worried and upset about many things” yet she’s missed the most important thing…to spend time with our Lord. Now hear me out on this, I truly don’t believe Jesus was saying that taking care of the household necessities was not to be done. I believe He wanted us to know that those things are never more important than our time with Him and when they are so paramount in our lives it will be what we spend the most time “doing” and “fretting” over. If what gives us satisfaction in this life is a perfect house, etc. we have not chosen correctly.
I want to be more like Mary…and lately I have. Which means my house isn’t perfect. My laundry will never be completely caught up. I let my kids choose their own clothes on most days…which means they don’t look picture perfect on normal days. And guess what? I’m HAPPIER! And I hear from God more because ……… I. Am. Listening.
I played paparazzi to this little humming bird the other day during my morning coffee and devotion time. Had I been running about trying to embody the Martha personality, I’d have missed him. I’ve seen so many beautiful things since I’ve “slowed down.” God’s most perfect gifts are the ones we’ll most likely miss in our striving to do too much.
I’ve found more time to read, truly enjoy my babies and to just plain rest and reflect. It seems our country values a very fast paced “pack it all in” lifestyle leaving very little time for what really matters. But, the Bible tells us we are to live differently.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)
So, this is Saturday, which used to be a catch up day for me. I would try to pack in so much work that I began to find I hated the weekend….even dreaded it. No more. I’ve made my list, prayed over it that God would help me decide what was most needed and spent time reflecting on His word. He has shown me so many wonderful things lately because of my slowing down! His gifts are innumerable!
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)
It looks perfect. I enjoyed it and I have dropped a few “to dos” of my today’s list because of it.