Don’t you just love it when God deals with you? I mean, it doesn’t always feel good. In fact, it’s often actually really hard and sometimes very painful, because it requires self-examination and change. But it’s always for our own good!
Recently, God has been working hard to teach me to “be still” in spite of a busy mind and a lot of big goals! I’m an over-thinker and it often causes me to feel anxious or distracted. It also paralyzes me from moving forward, because I’m so busy thinking about everything and looking at all of the angles that I forget to just start taking steps. Sound at all familiar?
The other night I was flipping through my Bible and stumbled across the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus went to their house and this is what happened:
“While Jesus and his followers were traveling, Jesus went into a town. A woman named Martha let Jesus stay at her house. Martha had a sister named Mary, who was sitting at Jesus feet and listening to him teach. But Martha was busy with all the work to be done. She went in and said ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing and it will never be taken away from her.‘” Luke 10:38-42
Wow! Talk about a reality check. I think we can all relate to Martha! There’s a lot of work to be done and often not enough hours to get it all in…and it all seems really important! But Jesus still says that Mary, in her decision to sit and be with Jesus, chose the right thing. She chose to prioritize being fully present in her moment with God over all of the work that could have otherwise kept her busy. I can just see Jesus looking at Martha, with eyes full of love and understanding, as he reprimanded her for getting caught up in secondary priorities. In fact, I’m pretty sure He looks at me that way quite often as He reminds me of the very same thing.
The funny thing is that I had actually highlighted this story in my Bible the last time I read it and put a sticky note on the page for quick review. Apparently, I knew I needed it, but it hadn’t really sunk in. I needed that message then and I still need it now! Living a Spirit filled life – one in which we feel at peace and connected to God – requires that we stop living in “busy” mode and take time to pause and simply “be still” with God. God doesn’t operate it chaos. He speaks to us and renews our spirits when we take time to be with Him and to listen. Being “with God” is being at peace.
My busy mind is an asset when put to good use. It has allowed me to avoid all sorts of stumbling blocks and helped me to make a lot of good decisions. But I have to remember to keep it reined in and to keep my priorities in order. If we want to live in peace, we have to make time for meditation, reflection, and time with God. That’s how we replenish our souls and stay connected to the Spirit of God that lives within us. That’s how we learn to feel connected to His Spirit all day. You may think you can’t afford to take time for peace, but you can’t afford to live without it! In fact, living without it is living without one of Gods most important gifts to us. When Jesus left the earth to join His Father in heaven, he said “I leave you my peace.” Yet so many of us are still clinging to our craziness for fear of losing control.
As Jesus tells Mary and Martha, that connection and time can never be taken from us. The benefits of choosing the path of peace produce more positive in our lives than a whole lot of busy work or busy thoughts ever will. It’s not just a “30 minutes in the morning” kind of thing. It’s an “all day, in every decision and in every thought” sort of thing. It’s a way of living. I’m not saying hard work and careful analysis aren’t important, because they absolutely are. We just need to get our priorities straight and learn not to lose sight of priority number one while in pursuit of priority number two.
Now, I want to hear from you! What keeps you from living in peace and feeling connected to God? Have you figured out a way to overcome it? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!