Do you struggle between being a Mary and a Martha? I do. My natural bent is that I am a doer, always thinking about or working on the next thing, and then the next and the next. Deep down I really want to be a Mary. I would like to spend hours sitting at the Master’s feet, growing fat with His words of wisdom and feeling His all en-compassing embrace. But there is the part of me that thinks, ‘a woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do’ and nothing is going to get done without someone (me) doing it.
And since I like getting things done as quickly as I can, creating order out of chaos, I completely get Martha.
Sorting out dinner for a houseful of unexpected guests is something I would have totally become engrossed in. After all once it’s done, then I could sit at Jesus’ feet and not have this niggling thought at the back of my head ‘so who’s going to sort dinner out?’
I am grateful for a loving Father who is always trying to teach me how to be the best me I can be. While I was praying one day I heard this phrase on the inside, ‘fully present in His Presence’. It sounded kind of cool and I remember thinking, what a great concept! Then I realised it wasn’t just a concept to admire, or even a phrase that rolled easily off one’s lips. It was a goal to pursue. Probably for the rest of my life.
Because if I am really honest, even though I love being in the presence of Father God, there are so many times when I am not fully present. My mind wanders. I think of my to do list. Ideas for projects I am working on float unrestricted into my mind when I am praying or reading my Bible. And no, I do not always win the battle against these distractions.
Holy Spirit never brings condemnation – that’s down to the enemy, others or ourselves. But He will bring correction and if we have any sense in our heads, we will listen to Him because somehow, He is always right. Bottom line is that we really need to learn how to be fully present in His Presence.
It is going to look different for each of us – how we work this out. One thing is for sure, though, this is one situation where multi-tasking is not an option. Women possess this gift of multi-tasking to varying degrees. Sure, it has its place. But you won’t be needing this gift if being fully present when you are engaging with God, is your goal.
An impossible feat? I think not.
God would not expect it if it was not possible. He is not that kind of Father. Unless we are fully present we are likely to miss the gentle whispers of Holy Spirit, or the gentle nudges that are sometimes His way of getting our attention. Other times it is a tap on the shoulder; this requires stillness if you are to recognise the Hand as His. How can one rest in green pastures if their mind is racing at speeds that even their body cannot keep up with?
Besides all that, surely a God who is so mighty and awesome deserves the full attention of His children when they are engaging with Him? Is that not what honouring Him as Lord involves?
So I am learning to be still.
To labour to enter His rest as we are encouraged to do in Hebrews 4:11. For me that rest is mostly for my mind. For you it may be rest for your body as well.
I am learning to keep a notebook beside me where I can jot down things that come to my mind when I am praying or reading my Bible so that they don’t become a distraction. I am learning not to go down that rabbit trail that leads to all sorts of places when I am supposed to be engrossed in a bible study or similar research. Learning to shut out thoughts that can really wait until I am ready to attend to them. And answering the phone or reading a text message is a definite no-no.
It’s hard but I am learning.
Because like you I want to hear the Father’s voice clearly when He speaks. I want to be all that He has created me to be. It starts with being fully present.
Please leave a comment and share how you are doing with this. Perhaps we can learn from each other.