Why not to offer doing the dishes

I’ve been reading a book on busyness, my friend tells me. I lean in to hear her words over a Johnny Cash song played loudly through the restaurant’s speakers. (Too loud in my opinion. Just moments before my girlfriend and I lamented how eating establishments and retail stores just seem to play music so much louder these days, however it could be our age too, admittedly. But I digress).

“God’s been working with me though.” She continues her story, her struggle so prevalent in our world where success can be defined by how much we do, rather than who we are. “I start to focus in on Him and then my mind wanders and I get distracted and anxious. And then focus back at Him but then become frustrated with myself that I was angry and anxious at myself for getting distracted and then loose focus again!”

Ah, the crazy cycle, I conclude with her. And the tough thing too, is that often those things, those activities that can draw us away from joining in our relationship with Him can be good things–like serving in our communities, or taking another study, or saying yes to that volunteer position even in a schedule already full.

Those things, those activities that are to show the world who Christ is, and for us to do to learn about Christ to become more like Christ.

But I wonder if sometimes in our doing we turn it all upside down, and turn away from fellowship with Him instead of toward?

I’m reminded of a girls night I hosted several months ago. I had a special evening at my home celebrating my relationships with a dozen other sisters in Christ. We shared a meal as well as our hearts through laughter and tears, and I remember looking around my living room and being oh so grateful for the fellowship. I felt loved, honoured, and blessed.

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And then I heard the clattering of dishes from the kitchen.

You don’t have to do the dishes! I said to the couple of beautiful ladies that stood by a sink filling with water and a counter piled with plates and pans. I can get them done later. Please relax and just be with us.

Oh no, they replied. We like doing the dishes. Let us do them for you!

Well, if they like doing the dishes, who am I to rob them of that joy? I thought to myself as I settled back down with the others who were also stirring now in their seats, some even cleaning up the cups, plates and paper wrappings from an activity we had enjoyed together earlier.

No, no, I found myself saying. Please just relax!

Oh, no, they replied. You gave us such a wonderful gift, we want to help you now.

And again, who was I to rob them of that joy of cleaning up for me?

But friends, can I be frank?

All I wanted at that moment was to be connected with these sisters in Christ. All I wanted was for them to be with me fully, not doing, but BEING. A being, centered place where we were focused on each other and in that being centered place of focused attention would our relationships grow deeper, in intimacy and connection.

I did so appreciate their help! But a part of me was saddened too. And I know I have also been guilty many times of doing when my presence was really all that was wanted.

And I wonder if we rob ourselves of the joy of His presence, of getting to know Him when we jump up to do the next ‘good’ activity?

Maybe, just maybe, He just wants us to sit with Him, and grow deeper in relationship from not doing sometimes.

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And maybe, just maybe, when your friend asks you to please just leave the dishes, she’s saying she wants to grow deeper in intimacy and connection with you.

Will you rob her of the joy of you?

Will you accept His endless invitation to be with Him today?

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all preparation that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered,” you are worried and upset about 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 10:38-42

Will you choose to be like  Martha or  Mary to your friends, family and Him today?

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32 thoughts on “Why not to offer doing the dishes

  1. Lynn,
    Oh I can relate! I often do a busy little job when in a group to make myself feel less conspicuous and busily occupied so I don’t have to think harder about connecting. I’ve been guilty of what your willing helpful friends were doing when all you wanted was to enjoy their presence! So what are we missing of God, too, when we offer him our busy little tasks instead of our hearts? Lovely honest words to ponder today . . .

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    1. You bring up a great point Valerie! We can get busily occupied to avoid connecting deeper. I’ve done the same, and wonder, why am I avoiding? What am I feeling fearful of that keeps me disconnected and then separated? Why am I not trusting? Great points for me to ponder today too! Thank you! May your heart be connected fully in His love for you today just ’cause your you.

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  2. Thank you for this reminder. I forget that doing things for others can rob us of the time just being together. It’s sad enough to think of this with friends and family, but to realize I’m doing the same with God is unacceptable.

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  3. Yup… you’ve described one of my favorite ways of hiding. In the past I’ve been convicted by the Holy Spirit as well as confronted by some of my own children of preferring to “do” as an escape or excuse to not be fully present. Thankfully, Jesus is able to forgive, redeem, and heal the parts of my heart that caused this pattern of behavior to be my norm.

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  4. I’ve been convicted of this before! I’m definitely a “busy bee” and I need to make myself sit and spend time with God. I’ve even noticed I seem to get a hundred things more done if I make sure to give Him the first bit of my day!

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  5. Lynn! I just love your new site … and that picture of you is fabulous! What a lovely home re-do … and a beautiful post to go alongside. And then I took a peak at your 30 Day Journal .. and that, too, looks sensational.

    Keep up the good work, my friend. It’s so good to do life with you …

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement Linda. I still feel I could do so much better—up the quality so to speak. Bloggers like you inspire me to be my best but I have a ways to go. Yet, also want to live out my motto of one step at a time, which is what it takes!

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  6. Oh yes! Just a few weeks ago I had a friend and her daughter over and spent so much time trying to make her and her daughter comfortable that I failed to commune with her. God impressed on my heart thereafter the importance of stopping and listening (yet again). I find I often have to force myself to go away somewhere like the forest to still before God. That’s also why I love to run. My head gets way too noisy and distracted..so easily. Thanks for this important reminder, Lynn.

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  7. Love this, Lynn! Yes, it is good to just sit sometimes- with our friends, and with God. It is so easy to focus on activity instead. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂 Kathy

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  8. I know I am the first to offer helping out when at a friend’s home. Reading this I wonder now if I am just insecure of them enjoying all of me, after all, so much of me is insecure. Sometimes it’s just easier to do the dishes! You got me really thinking, cause I never want others to help me. I want them to just relax. Hmm. Thanks for posting this. Just sit at Jesus feet and let Him enjoy me!

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  9. Love this beautiful writing and the sacted intimacy with your friends..that yearning to draw close as sisters in Christ..you brought me right there with you..reminding me of how I swing between being a Mary and Martha! How we long to be at the feet of Jesus…beautiful!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, we do tend to swing between the two-Mary and Martha. May you have day where His presence is prevalent in all the things you choose to do, and with all those in your presence!

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  10. Thank you for these reminders Lynn. I feel the same way when family is here. We jump up and do the dishes and I just want to sit and visit and do the dishes later. I also know I’m so busy sometimes doing good things that He is yearning for me to sit at His feet and spend time with Him.

    Beautiful post.

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    1. Yes, I understand you Debbie! As I get older (wiser) I realize my mom was right when she advised regarding where to spend my time; ‘the housework will always be there.’ In other words, people will not. May you have know you are precious for others by just being with them today.

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  11. This is a deep, reflective piece Lynn. I never thought of it this way.

    I know life is a constant motion and we die when we stop moving. I thought that accomplishing a lot of things would render me successful. But one thing I’ve done that changed my human experience is to simplify my life so I can focus on things that really matter to Him – worship and fellowship.

    I love being here in your blog and savoring your words. You always make stay longer and reflect.

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    1. That’s inspiring, Jayson, that you have transformed in simplifying your life. It’s a journey for all of us, the Spirit nudging us toward peace as God always intended for us. Always lovely to see your words here. Thank you!

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  12. Hi Lynn! I can so relate to your dilemma about the dish-washing ladies. I think as women, we are so used to ‘doing’ that we forget about ‘being’. This is a good lesson in being a good guest. As God provides and asks for nothing but our love, so are we are hosts!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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  13. I love this! I desire nothing more than to “be” with others. I crave relational community and know that this works when you choose to be present with others. Your words were just what I needed to read this evening. Thank you and have a great week!

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  14. I’m definitely late to the party, but I’m so glad I got to read your beautiful post, Lynn. You’re right. It’s so easy to do. We “do” for different reasons. And yes, we bless others in the doing, but sometimes we take from them too. I so appreciate your perspective that sometimes, we just need to BE with our heart-friends.

    I struggle with this sometimes. I have a close group of friends, and they are amazing ladies. They are masters at getting things done. I feel lazy when I’m with them. I try not to compare myself and my perceived “lack” of keeping up with them. Doing can be a good thing, but God does call us to Be. With Him. With others. Thanks for reminding me of the beauty of being.

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    1. Never too late to the party, Jeanne! Thanks for your words, and comparison is something I know I can fall into too. Really understanding we are absolutely enough is something I know God wants for all of us I believe, and then in that, our steps are Spirit directed in peace. May you experience His peace today!

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