October 25, 2004
Encouragement for Today
The Killing Fields
Rebecca Ingram Powell, Speaker Team member, author
As a teenager, I went to see the movie, The Killing Fields. It was an Academy Award winner, and my English teacher insisted that we see it. She even offered extra credit for a ticket stub and a one-page synopsis. A friend and I decided to take her up on it.
When we arrived at the cinema, the place was packed. It was a gorgeous Saturday, but the awards show had just been broadcast that week, and now everyone wanted to see this film. Nearly every seat was filled, and people were still filing in. After the trailers, as the film was starting, a woman turned in to my row to claim the empty seat beside me. At that moment, the power went off in the theater. The film cut off abruptly, along with the aisle lights. It was pitch black.
The woman, who happened to be somewhat heavy-set, did not pass me and locate the empty seat on my right. She just plopped down right on top of me. Evidently, she thought she had made it to the vacant chair. She had not.
Brought up in a Southern home where good manners were very important (We didn't even hang up on telemarketers!), I was definitely in a quandary. I wanted to be nice about informing this dear woman that the seat beneath her was occupied. I certainly didn't want to make a scene. After all, something like this could happen to anyone.
I tapped the woman's shoulder. "Uh, excuse me. Ma'am? Excuse me," I said. Unfortunately, the lady didn't respond. She didn't hear me. She didn't seem to notice there was another person's body underneath hers. Despite a few more attempts to discreetly notify this woman of my presence, it appeared she was going to stay put. Then I began to feel woozy. In fact, I thought I was going to pass out.
I have a tendency to be just the teeniest bit claustrophobic. I don't like crowds or tight places. In a theater as dark as the depths of a cave and underneath a large and apparently hard-of-hearing person, I can get a little freaky. Abandoning all measure of good taste and Southern courtesy, and summoning what I believed at the time to be my last breath, I shrieked, "Ma'am! There is a person under you!"
Every so often, I feel as though I'm seated once again in that crowded theater. It's a gorgeous day, but I'm about to be another fatality on the killing fields of busyness. My to-do list has crawled up in my lap, and I can't see over it. It's heavy, and I'm uncomfortable. When life gets this crazy, I know it's time to step back and re-examine my priorities.
It's a classic case of the Christian woman's balancing act. It's the tightrope that stretches between Jesus' friends Martha and Mary. Christ accused Martha of being busy with many things, but Mary was lauded as one who had made the right choice: to sit at Jesus' feet. But how does a busy Christian woman find the time - and an empty seat - for sitting down? Mary found time to sit at Jesus' feet because she was able to prioritize. She made wise choices.
I need to spend more time at the feet of the Lord, listening, worshiping, and being still. Jesus said, "Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41). This morning I substituted my name in place of Martha. Christ's words sank deep into my heart. The Amplified Bible explains that Martha was "overly occupied and too busy" and that Mary had "chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage]." Look at your plate. Have you chosen the good portion? Summon your last breath and remind yourself that there is a person underneath the schedule whose spirit needs time to commune with God, escaping the killing fields of busyness. Go to Him now. He has saved you a seat.
My prayer for today:
Lord, it's happened again. I'm too busy. It all looked good as I was coming down the line and filling my plate with activities, plans, and projects. But now it simply looks like too much. Like a child whose eyes were bigger than her stomach, I want to put some of it back. Help me choose only the good portion.
What are your life's roles? List them on a piece of paper.
Are you a wife? A mother? A manager? A friend?
List your jobs in proper order, remembering that "child of God" must be in first place.
Do you feel uncomfortable just being still?
Do you feel you must always be doing something?
Is their any white space on your calendar?
What can you do to access more quality time spent at Jesus' feet?
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
"But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)
A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life - Finding God's Refreshing Priorities for You by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa TerKeurst
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Monday, 25 October 2004.