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.
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.
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?