Where do you find time to worship?
I don’t write this as a way of saying that it is impossible to find the time, but instead to question where are you positioned when you make the time to worship.
As a Christian woman who has spent most of my life in church (minus some wayward college years), I’ve heard the Biblical account of Martha and Mary, found in Luke 10:38-42, many times. I have often heard of how Martha was too pre-occupied with her responsibilities, perhaps even consumed with self-importance and self-worth, and her misplaced priorities almost cost her the one thing that was needful. Mary, on the other hand, sat at Jesus’ feet, fully attentive and putting aside the work that needed to be completed. Having focused in on the differences of their activities, I made judgment calls about Martha and Mary. Martha was bad; Mary was good. Too simplistic, I now realize, but as a baby Christian, it helped me appreciate the need to put Christ before everything else.
It’s been fairly recently that I’ve come to deeper revelations about these sweet sisters in Christ. Martha wasn’t “bad.” We never read that she had no heart for God; scripture says that she was the one who originally invited Jesus into their home. She was like me, and perhaps like some of you, with much on her plate and, with love in her heart for Jesus, trying to make it all happen. I’d love to just sit at the feet of Jesus, although in truth, it is not in my nature to sit without busying my hands. However, on any given day, I am challenged with balance. I could do any of the following with the hours given me, and keep in mind that most of these items are big categories with a number of sub-lists underneath:
- Complete work-related activities (grading, more reading/researching, dialoguing online)
- Perform housework
- Blog (including catch-up on blogs of others)
- Write/ improve the curriculum materials for the business
- Work with/ school with/ play with the children
- Work on teaching/ training materials for church
- Write or call friends
- Prepare meals for the family
- Spend time helping/loving my husband
You get the point. And here’s the proverbial “kicker:” none of them are bad things to do; in fact, I could make a case for why any one of them is needful–at least, in my life. Believe it or not, a Mary-ish posture isn’t one to emulate all day, either. As one of our pastor’s wives once observed, sitting all day, for any reason, can usher in a spirit of laziness, and there are things that have to get done. The Bible tells us, in fact, that having faith without works is dead. At some point, we have to do, to operate on what we’ve sat long enough to hear. Sometimes we bite off too much, and try to do everything in the name of serving God and/or family. But learning to say “no” and discovering our purpose are at least two separate posts altogether. So the question becomes, once we’ve pared our activities down to what we know are aligned with our purpose, how do we accomplish what we honestly feel is our purpose, but also give God priority in our lives? How do we internalize the best of both Mary and Martha?
As I said before, to sit would be lovely. But there are some realities of being a work-out-of-my-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling parent:
- I’m rarely alone.
- I fall into the vicious cycle of staying up too late, so I can’t get up as early, so I’m feeling behind all day, so I stay up too late, and so on, and so on.
- There is always something that needs doing.
I can see Martha in me so very clearly. But I’ve also been graced to receive solid teaching in this area from more seasoned moms and saints in Christ about how to place God first and still get things done.
Give God your first thoughts. Christian beauty expert Shelly Ballestero suggests that women spend an additional 10 minutes before arising with their heads elevated against a pillow. According to her, this helps relieve any swelling and puffiness under the eyes. While you’re resting and “putting on your face” in the process, why not tell the Lord you love Him, and that you’re thankful for this day, and that He’s the best thing that ever happened to you? Also keep in mind that first thoughts don’t have to occur at the point of seeing the sun rise. Middle-of-the-night worship can be far more soothing than counting sheep.
Give God your frequent thoughts. Just a few days ago, I was engaged in the sweetest worship. Although I was alone for a moment, it wasn’t in my prayer closet, and I wasn’t at church. I was in our garden.
All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name. Psalm 66:4
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2:12
(Alright, I confess that these pictures are from last year–smile). I was planting tree stakes, and with my MP-4 player in my ears and enjoying the greenery, I felt God’s presence. Worship can occur anywhere. Another place I love to worship is while driving in my car. God can do more to refreshen and reshape my thinking in my 15 minutes to the drug store, or even my 5 minutes around the corner! The point is to acknowledge Him every time you think about Him. And the beauty of our Lord is that there’s such power in His name until, if you don’t have anything else to say, just say Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Oh, how precious is the name of Jesus.
Give God your final thoughts. Data suggests that millions of thoughts go through our heads in a day. What goes through your mind at night? Wouldn’t it be sweet to end our days with a love song to the Father? Thank Him for the day. Thank Him for the weather—wind, rain, sun, and snow all have a purpose—and for allowing you to be safe within it. So many aren’t. Thank Him that whatever He sent your way is for your good, even if you don’t see it right now. Most importantly, just praise Him for being who He is, and for choosing you even before you chose Him.
If you have opportunity to just sit at His feet, that’s wonderful. I don’t mean to belittle that time, because it is critical. But my post is for those who might otherwise fall victim to Satan’s lie that something is wrong with their walk because they don’t have hours to simply sit alone and communicate with the Father. There is no wrong time to worship. And I love that line from recording artist John P. Key’s song that says ‘There’s only two times to praise Him: when I feel like it and when I don’t.’ God is monitoring our hearts, and He will honor our praise and prayer without ceasing just as He will honor those who can lay prostrate for four hours.
Immediately as I wrote this, I thought, I’m missing fervency. Worshipping and
praying with intensity and a determination to get into God’s presence is important, but let’s begin with the commitment to just put some Mary-like posture in our Martha-like world, Amen? God bless you.