Read His Words Before Ours!
Last August, I thought that I was being brave.
Looking down the barrel of the next 4 months, I had to admit to myself that I was facing quite a bit. “Yes, it’s a lot,” I told myself, “But these are great things – and God desires for me to attempt great things for His glory, right?”
My husband and I were leading a new community group at church that met weekly. New friends are a good thing – it means new people to invest in spiritually and relationally.
A dear friend was coming to live with us while she completed doctoral clinicals in our area. I was stoked to have a friend around to watch “girly” shows with.
I had signed up for my second half marathon and was beginning training. Getting to know other runners at church was going to make this training experience so fun!
A new chapter had begun professionally with a new job. My dream job! A job that I couldn’t believe I had landed – God had to be in the works here.
I had committed to teaching adjunct at a small local college on Monday evenings after work. I loved teaching in graduate school and knew it would be a great way to invest in students.
So many wonderful ways to serve God’s Kingdom!
Or so I thought.
One week into October, I was exhausted.
My new community group was draining.
I felt like I had to entertain my friend living in my home at the end of long days.
The time commitment of training for a half marathon had become a burden.
My new job was extremely challenging, and I constantly felt behind and incompetent.
I discovered quickly that I wasn’t as qualified as I’d hoped for the class I was teaching and didn’t have nearly enough time to put into lecture preparation.
One Monday evening, I came home after a long day of work and teaching.
I lay on the floor and wept.
I was tired.
I was scrambling through my days, barely keeping up.
I felt like I had nothing left.
I was physically exhausted, mentally drained, and spiritually dehydrated.
All of those good things I was doing for God had become burdens that kept me from pursuing God Himself and the life He had called me to. Following Jesus doesn’t result in anxiety and “stretched-too-thin”. Challenged? Yes. Overwhelmed and defeated? No.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Did you read that?
“But Martha was distracted with much serving, leading her to be anxious and troubled.”
Martha’s “service” flowed from a heart where the pressure to perform overwhelmed her.
Somewhere along the way, she began to see perfection as her only viable gift of service.
We’ve all been there. Striving for the perfect look, the perfect family, the perfect relationship, and when it doesn’t happen, the sense of overwhelming defeat stares us in the face, like it did for me the night I fell to the floor dissolved in tears.
She bravely recognized that at the feet of Jesus was exactly where she needed to be.
It wasn’t that she didn’t care about service.
Or that she spent all her time studying the Torah and praying.
She simply understood that without being filled up with Christ, all of her stuff was just…stuff. She knew that overextending herself without carving out time for the “best thing” was like building a sand castle right next to the shoreline.
Pointless. Unfulfilled. Overwhelming. Frustrating.
I love this quote by John C. Maxwell, “Learn to say “no” to the good, so you can say “yes” to the best.” (Also check out, “The Best Yes”, by Lysa Terkeurst!)
Sometimes we must bravely say “no” to good things so that when something great comes along, we say confidently say “yes!”.
And the very best yes that provides a firm foundation for every other “best yes”?
Time alone. At the feet of the Savior.
Last year, in my effort to serve well, I wasn’t being brave after all.
I was afraid to say no.
Rather than punish me or be angry, the Lord carried me through that season, despite my unwillingness to find sufficiency in Him.
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
Jesus won the battle of busyness on the cross, and has invited us to sit as His feet as He gives us living water and rest. Let the call of Jesus in Matthew 11 reach your heart.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
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