In case you were wondering where I’ve been, I flew to lovely Asheville, North Carolina a couple of weeks ago.
I was nearly giddy. Packed up, dressed up, all by myself, and feeling like a big girl.
I happened to sit next to an old friend on my first flight. We were catching up on the years past, and he inquired about where I was headed.
(I had been hoping he would ask.)
Though practically trembling with excitement I tried to appear calm and professional, “I’m going to a writer’s conference.”
His face was blank, but I think he might have actually shuddered a little.
“Ewww…Well, I’m going to Key West!”
I congratulated him on his superior plans, and mentally reminded myself that not everyone was going to share my enthusiasm at attending practicums, and workshops and keynote speeches all catered to introverted wordy-types like myself.
Poor guy was missing out.
A day back from said conference, and a week composed of little sleep + overfull brain was clinging to me hard.
It had been an amazing experience, but I was every-which-way exhausted.
Unfortunately neither real life nor my kids give a hoot about how tired you are when they come calling.
So they woke me extra early, just to say welcome home.
I shuffled to the kitchen table to pour mini-wheats and nearly fell asleep in my chair.
“You look tired, Mom.”
“Uh huh.” (It was all I could manage.)
She thought a moment.
“Momma,” her voice was nearly scolding. “You should have slept in!”
Some rest would be nice.
The trouble is, just back from a writer’s conference, all inspired to be the best writer I can be, to do all I can to please God’s heart, and I am frantic.
My mind whirs with new information. I was encouraged. I was critiqued. I made new friends. I even won a blog contest.
But now I am anxious. Scrambling. Trying to keep control but worried about the future.
Because just back from a writer’s conference means it’s time to get serious now.
I’ve had my training. Had my week away to “refresh.”
Now it’s time to get to writing and make the plane ticket and meal plan and hotel room all worth it.
It’s time to serve God with all that I have.
It’s time to use my gifts to bring Him glory.
It’s time to make the most of it.
It’s time to get to work.
Who can rest with all this pressure?
I’m thinking of Martha this week.
Here she was, just trying to serve up a decent dinner for Jesus, and she goes down in history as the crabby-pants sister of sweet, sitting-at-the-feet-of-Jesus Mary.
The ol’ gal gets a bad rap, I think.
She probably didn’t start out cranky, after all. She was the one who invited Jesus over in the first place. She was likely just as excited as Mary to get to spend some time with him.
She was probably eager to serve him too. She knew she had a knack for hospitality and could put on a killer dinner party. She was going to pull out all the stops for Jesus.
She was going to use her gifts to bring him glory.
But then she (and I) went wrong.
Because the gift became more important than its recipient.
She forgot that the God of the universe was sitting in her presence.
She forgot that God cares more about her heart than anything else.
She forgot that God wants her far more than He wants what she can do.
God made me a writer, yes, but being a writer isn’t His end-all purpose for me on this earth.
He wants far more and far better than that.
As way-over-my-head-brilliant John Piper puts it, the goal of our lives should be to “be glad in God and make others glad in Him as well.”
God doesn’t want me to be a writer.
God wants me to be glad.
To enjoy Him. To sit at His feet in awe. In rest.
To stop scrambling, stop climbing, stop letting “working” for Him distract me from Him.
Ready even to lay down my gifts, my future plans, my ambitions if it means that I enjoy and rejoice in Him more.
Because when I enjoy Him first, then I’m ready to use my gifts to help others enjoy Him.
Then I’ve got my life in the proper order.
Honestly, I used to find the story of Mary and Martha a little cliché.
But this week I find it refreshing.
Martha had a good heart, and she wanted to serve. She had just gotten things a tad out of order, that’s all.
She had let the good things get in the way of the best thing: Enjoying God.
I have been scrambling, friends.
It’s time to rest.
It’s time to enjoy Him again.