Girlfriends in God - Feb. 9, 2012


February 9, 2012
A Balanced Life Part 2
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
She (Martha) had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying (Luke 10:39).

Friend to Friend
A balanced life is focused on right things. Focus is always found at the feet of Jesus. Mary lived out this truth.  In fact, Mary, more than any other person in the New Testament is associated with sitting at the feet of Jesus.

What does it mean to “sit at the feet of Jesus”?  We must first stop. Now that is a novel idea for most women. Mary stopped what she was doing - helping Martha in the kitchen - and came to sit at the feet of Jesus. Of course, Martha immediately began complaining that she had been left to do all the work while her sister wasted time sitting at the feet of Jesus.  I have discovered there will always be someone who will misunderstand or complain when you choose to do what Jesus told Martha was “the better part.”

Luke 10: 40-42 “But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’"

Mary made a choice and so must we. Choosing to sit at the feet of Jesus requires decisive planning, purposeful scheduling and a willful determination. Every day, God wants relationship building time with us, which means that time at His feet, in His presence must be our highest priority. Jesus gently rebuked Martha because she had forgotten what was really important.

It is amazing to me how I can squander away the best part of my day, leaving Him with the leftover scraps of time and then have the audacity to complain that my life is void of power and purpose. Distractions come from every side. Some of those distractions are good and wonderful things, but they are all still wrong things if they keep us from stopping to spend time with God. 

Every day, we choose where to invest our time. We plan everything from committee meetings and church activities to lunch appointments and choir practice - but fail to schedule the most important activity of all, spending time with God. Are you desperate for the peace and balance only He can bring? Then it’s time to stop, take inventory of the demands upon your time and begin investing the best part of everyday sitting at His feet. Being wrapped up in God’s work can easily become a shabby substitute for being wrapped up in His presence. And we can only be wrapped up in God’s presence when we learn to wait on Him. 

I absolutely hate to wait, on anyone or for anything. Waiting robs me of control and forces me to face the unknown. But waiting on God brings priorities into a right focus and releases the catalyst that may very well change my life course. Waiting is not a passive use of time.  Waiting is active spiritual obedience.  In each waiting room of life, He is at work preparing me for the circumstance and the circumstance for me. Psalm 5:3 (NLT) “Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” From those still, quiet moments of waiting and seeking comes a balance and focus that takes root and grows. It is through the choice to wait on God that the seeking heart – the expectant heart finds every need met.

We not only must stop and be still in order to sit at the feet of Jesus, we must learn to listen. Time spent seeking God and listening for His voice is vital. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV) “Now choose life…listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”

Countless voices clamor for our attention. The key to a balanced life is training our hearts toward God and teaching our spiritual ears to listen for His voice above all others. I taught third grade for several years while my husband attended seminary.  My class was one of seven third grade classes, which meant that the first few days of school were chaotic. The PE teacher was a welcome sight when she appeared at my door to take the students outside. It was the responsibility of each teacher to pick up her students when PE was over. Seven teachers trying to get the attention of over two hundred students was especially interesting on the first or second day of school when the teachers didn’t know their students and the third graders didn’t know their teacher. However, after only a few days, an amazing thing happened every year.  When the teachers lined up, it took only a word or two for the students to come running. They quickly learned to recognize the voice of their new teacher above all the rest because they listened to her voice all day long.       

The voice of God comes to us in many ways but every voice must be held up and measured against His main voice, the Word of God. To sit at the feet of Jesus, we must learn to stop, be still, and listen for His voice and then rest. Rest will not come until we have heard His truth.  However, when we have learned and applied the truth of God we can then rest in Him and our world falls into perfect balance.  Resting in Him requires trust.

When our son, Jered, was seven years old, he fell while skateboarding, cut his chin and needed stitches. We raced to the nearest emergency clinic where we met a young doctor, who at first glance, seemed friendly enough. Jered, however, took one look at the strange doctor and panicked. It was his first experience with stitches. After several attempts to gain Jered’s trust and cooperation, the doctor grew impatient and said, “Son, this won’t hurt.  If you cannot be still we will have to put you in restraints.” Now I had two major problems with those statements.  First of all, there were not going to be any restraints placed on my son. And secondly, of course it would hurt. Glaring at the doctor I explained, “If you will just tell Jered the truth and explain what you are doing he will be still for you.” The doctor looked at me as if I had just arrived from another planet and said, “Right!”  Before I could rip off his head, Dan told the doctor we had a plan. I knew what my plan was but thought it wise to consider Dan’s. Holding Jered’s head still, Dan softly explained what the doctor would do and told him to fix his eyes on me while I told a story. It worked. Jered calmed down and the stitches were done in a matter of minutes. Even though he did not fully understand or trust the process, Jered did fully understand and trust us.

Truth is always the basis for trust and trust is always the basis for rest. We rarely take time to stop, be still and listen, allowing His truth to soak into our hearts and minds where trust and faith grow strong on a steady diet of truth. As a result, our faith is weak and rest is hard to find. When we learn to sit at the feet of Jesus, we will know Him better, trust Him more and find the rest we so desperately crave. Clarity of purpose and a right focus will come.  And that, my friend, is the cornerstone in a life of balance.

Now It’s Your Turn
Oswald Chambers writes, “We can choke God’s Word with a yawn; we can hinder the time that should be spent with God by remembering we have other things to do. ‘I haven’t time!’ Of course you have time! Take time, strangle some other interests, and make time to realize that the center of power in your life is the Lord Jesus Christ.” What is the main focus of your life? For the real answer, take a long, hard look at where you spend your time, money and energy. What changes do you need to make to bring your life into a right balance with God?

More from the Girlfriends   

Is your life balanced?If you are like me, you need all the help you can get in maintaining a balanced life. My E-Bible Study, Time: Friend or Foe,offers three important steps you can take in learning how to balance your time and your life.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3son Mary’s website.Need help getting the Word of God into your life?Check out Mary’s Weekly Online Bible Study, When I Am Afraid, to learn how to face, deal with and surrender your fears to God.

Are you ready to begin a new faith adventure?Get a copy of our new book, Trusting God

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Originally published Thursday, 09 February 2012.