Setting priorities can be difficult sometimes. To-do lists scream at us, and our quandary is which task we should tackle first.
I was a Martha with a large dose of perfectionism, but a defective heart valve limited my energy. I wanted everything “just so,” and frequently felt overwhelmed by my to-do list. I really wanted our home to be a place of ministry, but every time it was our turn to host our small Bible Study group, I’d become frantic trying to get everything just perfect. I called it a “house attack.” I’m sure I drove my poor husband and son crazy in my panicked state.
But then one day I came across 2 Timothy 2:4, which says:
No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
I realized I was allowing myself to get entangled in the civilian pursuit of trying to make my house look picture perfect instead of making my home a place where God’s presence was seen and felt. I needed to keep the main thing the main thing, and to let the other stuff take a back seat.
I also realized that our adversary was pushing my buttons to hinder what God wanted to do in my home if I just relaxed. He’d been pointing out every imperfection to me, making even small things seem large. As we say down South, I “got a good mad on,” and determined I wasn’t going to let him stand in my way anymore.
At first, when I had people over and things weren’t perfect, I felt extremely nervous. But I pressed through it, and much to my amazement, I didn’t die. No one criticized me or seemed to even notice the perpetual, large “dust lions” under the hall tree (our cat sheds a lot and hates to be brushed). At some point I came to the point of “love me, love my dust lions.”
One evening, a lady in our small group commented, “Your house feels warm,” and she wasn’t talking about the temperature. She meant warm as in inviting, relaxing, comfortable. To know that someone considered my home a safe place, even though it wasn’t perfect, made my heart sing. That is what I really wanted.
God let me see this truth before my heart began to narrow (again), and I had even less energy. I continued learning to let go of perfection. I learned to look at things through the lens of, “Will this matter in a hundred years?” I confess I still struggle with this issue, but not nearly as much as I used to. God is changing me from the inside out because I’m choosing to let Him make His Word come alive in my heart and mind.
Am I saying to keep a dirty house? Be lazy? Not at all. What I am saying is that we shouldn’t let the mundane things distract us from the path that God has for us.
His opinion is the only one that really counts.
Martha, Jesus’ friend from Bethany, was busy trying to take care of a houseful of people and was frustrated that her sister Mary had left her alone with the job. She asked Jesus to tell Mary to help with the housework.
But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’ (Luke 10:41-42)
It wasn’t wrong for Martha to want to take care of her guests, but there were higher priorities for Martha’s attention. The next time Martha was hosting a crowd (John 12), she appears to be much less stressed. She seems to have changed. I wonder if she sat down beside Mary and enjoyed the fleeting remaining time she had with Jesus before His crucifixion.
God’s Word spoke abundant life, joy, and freedom into me. He’ll meet you as He met me and will do the same for you if you let Him.
A note from (in)courage:
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