As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NLT
Believe me when I say that I understand busy. I have six children. My oldest goes to a college preparatory middle school, so she has three hours of homework almost every night. Which means I have homework every night. My next four are home-schooled. I don’t think I need to qualify that; suffice to say I do a lot of stuff during the day. And I have an 18 month old, so my house is regularly torn apart by a two-foot tall tyrant.
My husband is a pastor, which means that he only gets one day off per week and we can’t afford to hire help.
For years I envisioned myself becoming a disciple of Jesus. My visions were generally of me, early in the morning, before anyone else was awake, sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee, swaddled in a warm blanket, enjoying the peace and quiet of a clean house, reading my bible and taking notes. Or when everyone was napping or reading, the afternoon sun pouring in through the windows, in a clean, quiet house, with my cup of coffee at the dining room table.
The problem was, I thought the clean, quiet house was the precursor to my time with Jesus. I thought I had to do things in the right order – first get myself organized and calm and then dive in to Jesus. First do the work, then relax with the word. This is backwards! I can have my coffee, thanks to Keurig, but expecting to achieve a Pottery Barn photo shoot in my living room as a predicate to following Christ is ridiculous. I think this comes from a childhood of having ‘work first, play later’ drilled into my brain. What I had forgotten was that studying God’s word is not play. It’s not optional. It’s not the icing. It’s foundational to everything else that will happen in my life.
Expecting to achieve a Pottery Barn photo shoot in my living room as a predicate to following Christ is ridiculous.
The disciples of Jesus’ day didn’t have it all together. They lived on the road, staying with whomever would have them, moving on at a moment’s notice. Jesus would say, “Let’s go across the lake,” or “Today we’re going to Bethlehem,” and off they went. They were dusty and footsore and had no plan for next year, or even next month. (I honestly wonder if this is why His closest disciples were men. All the women I know would go crazy with a lifestyle like that.)
Their chaotic and unpredictable life didn’t stop them from sitting at the feet of Jesus. They drew near to hear His voice in the midst of their busy, crazy lives.
My quiet time may not be Instagram-ready, (you really, really want to click that link) but that’s not the point. The point is time with Jesus. Learning, listening, growing, building toward the future He has for me. Becoming the person He designed me to be. Figuring out what the heck I’m doing by allowing myself to be guided by the Holy Spirit. In the middle of the mess, in the middle of the chaos, in the middle of life.
So today I’m putting my priorities in order. I’m ignoring the laundry that needs to be folded and the random stuff all over the living room floor and I’m spending some time nourishing myself first. I’m remembering that me and my soul are more important than anything else in this beautiful life. It feels awkward. And a little indulgent, I’m not going to lie. But I’m doing it anyway.
So should you.