December 15, 2008
Sitting in the Middle of My Mess
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.” Luke 10:38-39 (NIV)
I tend to consider myself a "Martha" type personality. And I don't mean Martha Stewart. By this time in December, that Martha probably has her hand-made cards mailed out, 10 batches of candy made and gift-wrapped, and her entire home decorated.
No, I'm nothing like Martha Stewart. In fact, last year I didn’t even manage to decorate the tree. It got put up and because it was pre-lit, it had lights. I managed to put a few gifts under it before Christmas. That only happened because my dear children kept looking at me with those big hopeful eyes, asking when I was going to wrap SOMETHING. But that was it.
Last Christmas ended one of the most stressful years of my life. I'm thankful nothing devastating happened to my family. But the demands on my time exceeded my available time. When that happens, I get behind ... on everything. So I spend lots of time just trying to keep my head above water.
Back to being a Martha. If you know the Luke chapter 10 story of Martha and her sister Mary, that's the Martha I'm talking about. And it's not a flattering comparison. That Martha had the privilege of hostessing Jesus. Jesus actually came to her house. Instead of sitting at His feet like her sister Mary did, Martha worked and actually complained to Jesus that Mary wasn't helping her enough.
Jesus gently chided Martha, and affirmed Mary's choice to sit and spend time with Him in the middle of all the work that had to be done. I remember the day clearly last December when I decided to follow Mary’s example and sit in the middle of my mess to spend time with Jesus.
Normally, I feel as if everything has to be clean before I can "treat" myself to some down time. I believe I have to have the dishes clean, counters cleared, urgent emails addressed, laundry going, home-based business checked for orders, etc. Normally, by the time I've done all that, something else has demanded my attention, and my time with Jesus is neglected - much like what happened to Martha.
But not that day. That day I sat at the kitchen table and looked at my mess. It was big. There were papers strewn over every surface, a lunch box left on the counter from the day before, breakfast dishes everywhere, jackets from yesterday, blankets that had been left on the couch, dog fur forming balls, and the list went on. I had to fight my instinct to get up. And I won.
I sat in the middle of my mess, and spent time with Jesus. I pictured Him sitting across the table from me. It was pure pleasure ... and the mess amazingly faded from my view. My stress melted away, and I felt renewed.
This Christmas, whether you've gotten your house decorated or not, whether you've mailed out cards or not ... Jesus has come to your house for a visit. I had such a good time sitting in the middle of my mess with Jesus last year, I’m planning on doing it again. Will you join us?
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for sending Jesus to be a companion during my hectic days. Help me to remember that peace can only be found when I choose to set aside the pressing demands of my life, and quiet myself with You. Teach me to look for Jesus’ presence in the middle of my mess. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Can Martha Have a Mary Christmas? by Brenda Poinsett
Homespun Memories for the Heart by Karen Ehman, Kelly Hovermale and Trish Smith
Visit Glynnis’s blog
Identify 30 minutes sometime this week when you normally would be working – then commit to spending that time with Jesus.
What are some of the hurdles you face when trying to find a quiet time with God?
This month, what practices can you implement to recognize Jesus’ presence in your home?
Psalm 37:7a, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him …” (NIV)
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (NIV)
© 2008 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 15 December 2008.