I felt the sting of irony, hypocrisy as I read the script. I was sick, at home, body weary and reeling. Another had to take my place, I couldn’t play ‘Mary’ in the Advent skit at church today.
My husband listened as I wept. I’m tired of waking up tired, hitting the pillow each night bone-exhausted, so spent, and feeling nothing of satisfaction for all that? I can’t unwind, settle down to just play or enjoy a moment, my too-long, too-heavy list is on my mind and though I try and try and work till I’m shaky, I never out run it. I am longing for joy and peace but they’re so elusive for my whirring, distracted, worried self.
I’m getting nervous. We have an enemy, this roaring lion and I fear this wintry season and he knows it. Too many sad days in a row. Too many rushed devotions, overslept alarms, too many bitter thoughts of all the things I long to do but just can’t quite get to. And all the while my kids are growing up around me, and my loving husband is here beside me, and the Christmas lights are sparkling and I know the Lord is waiting to speak to me from His word, but I can’t stop the spinning, the working, the if-I-just-do-this-one-more-thing-I-might-get-ahead. I have trouble finding joy in anything. His yoke is easy and his burden is light, so what is this heaviness I am carrying with me? Why am I crushed underneath the weight of my work? Why does my soul feel impoverished and hungry, when He is the feast set before me? It feels as if can’t take time to eat.
We took our much-needed Sabbath. Shabbat. It’s Hebrew – it means stop.
Can I stop?
We stay in jammies till late morning, drink coffee, linger long over sermon podcast, have unhurried breakfast with the kids. I resent the dishes piling in the sink, but resist the urge to clean them. I’m surprised by how many times I have to resist the urge to turn from our rest and work. There are things needing done all around me, but today I just need to stop. To rest. To know that He is enough. And that in Him, I am too.
I’m reading “One Thousand Gifts,” and it’s like I’m 24 years old but just learning how to breathe. We take time to decorate the tree, nap long, listen to Advent passages, open a few presents early. Sweet hubby and I stay up too late, not wanting the day to end.
At days’ end I’m tired, spent, but happier too. Today I stopped.
Then Monday comes, and it’s true – there’s so much to do. I’m refreshed, encouraged, healthier for my day of rest. But today again there’s feeding, bathing, dressing, laundry, teaching, cleaning. All that on a half-night’s sleep, up with a wakeful, hungry baby. The sink needs emptying, the fridge needs refilling. Can I have peace here, in the busy too? Am I distracted by all the preparations that need to be made? Will I work and work to find that I have lost the one thing that mattered? Can I be settled, peaceful, joyful? Savoring Jesus, the I AM who is here, now, present with me?
I am broken, my mind too anxious, too busy. I’m in need of constant re-programming. Less worry, more joy. Less anxiety, more peace. Less striving, more rest. Less empty, more filled.
Work is good. God gives it to us to do heartily, unto Him. But ‘work accomplished’ should not be my idol. Jesus invites me to step off my dizzying pace, to stop the striving – He says “(Jordan, Jordan), you are worried and upset 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)
Let my soul be ever sitting at the Lord’s feet! No slave of racing time or busyness, no prey for devouring lion – but freed child of God, heir of eternity!
Indeed, only one thing matters.