Saturday, November 23, 2013

Martha Martha and how I choose JOY


 “Martha Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” – Luke 10:41-42
 

I feel like this post has been brewing, so to speak, for quite some time. I have spewed bits and pieces of it in passing and hopefully lived some of it out, but in the past few days I have felt the desire to work it into a cohesive thought. As I sit at my computer I’m not yet sure its ready to be written, but if you’re reading this then I suppose the Spirit must have worked his magic {grin}.

stress  /strƐs/
noun

    1.       a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from (adverse or) demanding  circumstances.

verb
    3.       to cause mental or emotional strain or tension in.
·         informal : become tense or anxious; worry


My name is Amanda. I am twenty five years old. I am married and my husband and I have a 4 year old son, a 2 year old daughter, and a 2 month old daughter. We are blessed to be more involved in our church and serving than we ever have before in our lives (in fact we are excited to get more involved as opportunities present themselves) and I have never been LESS stressed.

That being said I would like to make two big BOLD disclaimers here.

1.     I do NOT have this perfected. Genetically (thanks Mom and Dad {wink}) I am a stress case waiting to happen. I have said before that I am a recovering OCD-perfectionist-control freak (how’s that for a mouthful), and by recovering I mean “still in recovery”.

2.     I am not in any way boasting in my ability to live stress free. I am not more “enlightened” than you. I don’t wake up at 5 in the morning every day and spend 2 hours reading my Bible before my kids wake up. I have a 2 month old for goodness sake. If she is still sleeping at 5 am you better believe I am too.

A while ago I posted to Facebook a great quote by Francis Chan:

“Worry implies that we don’t quiet trust God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives. Stress says the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control. Basically, these two behaviours communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because somehow the stuff in my life is exceptional.”

Bold words, offensive words (?), definitely counter-cultural words, but more importantly Biblically sound words. In Luke 12:22 Jesus says to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry” Jesus doesn’t command much of us, so when he says DO NOT, I feel like our ears should perk up. Then later in Philippians 4:6 Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, exorts the church in Philippi saying “Do not be anxious about anything” So why is this so hard to live by? How has being busy and burnt-out become a badge of honour? How has not being stressed out become equated with laziness? When did it become acceptable in “Christian” circles to be worried and stressed as long as we are worried and stressed because we are serving the Lord? The Bible is pretty clear: DO NOT WORRY.             



 but SURELY this doesn’t apply to stressing about my job

..."Martha Martha," the Lord answered.
  
but my children, I HAVE to worry about my children

..."Martha Martha," the Lord answered.

                   but this is a GOOD ministry,  an IMPORTANT ministry!                                                             
.."Martha Martha," the Lord answered. 



I picked up a book a couple weeks ago called “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” by Joanna Weaver. I actually picked it up quite by accident. Not because I had read good reviews or because it had been recommended to me; it was in a large box of books I’d been given by my grandparents and the title and the description of “finding intimacy with God in the busyness of life” jumped out at me. In her book the author writes this:

“ “We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important,” Hummel writes. “The problem is that the important task rarely must be done today or even this week. Extra hours of prayer and Bible study can wait. But the urgent tasks call for instant action – endless demands pressure every hour and day.” Does that sound familiar? It does to me. So where do we find the time to follow Mary to the feet of Jesus? Where do we find the energy to serve him? How do we choose the Better Part and still get done what really has to get done?

Jesus is our supreme example. He was never in a hurry. He knew who he was and where he was going. He wasn’t held hostage to the world’s demands or even its desperate needs. “I only do what the Father tells me to do,” Jesus told his disciples. Someone has said that Jesus went from place of prayer to place of prayer and did miracles in between. How incredible to be so in tune with God that not one action is wasted, not one word falls to the ground!

This is the intimacy that Jesus invites us to share. He invites us to know him, to see him so clearly that when we look upon him, we see the face of God as well.

Just as he welcomed Mary to sit at his feet in the living room, just as he invited Martha to leave the kitchen for a while and share in the Better Part, Jesus bids us to come.

In obedience to his invitation, we find the key to our longings, the secret to living beyond the daily pressures that would otherwise tear us apart. For as we learn what it means to choose the Better Part of intimacy with Christ, we begin to be changed.

When we put work before worship, we put the cart before the horse. The cart is important; so is the horse. But the horse must come first, or we end up pulling the cart ourselves. Frustrated and weary, we can nearly break under the pressure of service, for there is always something that needs to be done.

When we first spend time in his presence- when we take time to hear his voice – God provides the horsepower we need to pull the heaviest load. He saddles up Grace and invites us to take a ride. “


Martha Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried
and upset about many things, but ONLY ONE THING IS NEEDED.
Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”

I don’t know what the Spirit will do with the words that I am sharing today. Are you like me and have a tendency to put the cart before the horse? If you are serving, I am not saying to stop serving... and I am certainly not saying that serving should always be easy, or that the things you are involved in should make you happy. But if where you are serving is not bringing LIFE, is not bringing JOY, perhaps it is time to take a step back. And if stepping back is in order, my challenge to you is simply this: what are you going to fill the empty space with? Will you fill the space with more of Jesus or will a cleaner house satisfy your soul? Will time to watch your favourite TV show draw you closer to the Giver of Life or will you choose to walk in obedience to the invitation you are extended in Christ? C.S. Lewis, in his book The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses says this:

It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I am praying for chains to be broken, I am praying that as you read these words the Spirit will whisper to your thirsty soul. And if he does if God whispers listen! Don’t wait, don’t say “tomorrow” listen (and obey!). In my battle against stress and worry, and discontent God, in his great grace, granted me ears to hear that He alone has what I need to walk in victory and not only in victory, but in JOY. Galations 6:7 says this: “Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” I am choosing daily to answer the invitation, and somewhere between morning devos with my kiddos, daily VINE readings, a Bible in my bathroom, Charles Spurgeon on my coffee table, and Matt Chandler on my Ipad by my rocking chair, I’ve began to reap what I’ve sown and my life is changing.


In Joy and For His glory always,
          Amanda

3 comments:

  1. I am encouraged to read of ALL the places you have resources so you can daily answer His invitation! :)

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  2. Hi Amanda! I'm Heather and I was wondering if you would be willing to answer a quick question about your blog! If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com that would be great!

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