Quieting the Calendar

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. Literally. A rotation of insomniac kids that interrupted nearly every REM cycle ended with me on the farthermost edges of my own bed, hanging on for dear life in a sea of uninvited little limbs. Needless to say, I greeted Monday morning in foggy, frantic and frazzled state. The chain of events which occurred before 8 am went something like this. Grumpy momma, edgy ride to school, guilty momma, near break down. A less-than-cheery start to a new week.

As if that were not enough, I decided to look ahead to the upcoming month. Turning the pages to my agenda (yes, I still have a paper calendar; no, I am not ashamed; they are basically retro), it was as if the endless demands, events, and needs of a new month were all jumping off the page, screaming at me and throwing jabs at the vestiges of peace left in an already beat-up heart.

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I tried sweating it out at the gym but to no avail. The Lord had me cornered, so I sat down to pour out my heart to Him. Fears, concerns, commitments and all their cousins started to leak out all over the pages of my journal. It took twenty minutes and two pages before the demanding calendar and my fearful heart began to quiet down.

It felt as if Jesus grabbed my by the hand and walked with me over the cacophonous calendar through each day of the upcoming month. One by one, He spoke to each screaming demand or fear, rational or irrational, telling them to lay back down quietly. We continued in this vein until we had walked through the whole month; only then could I began to hear His voice again.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man well-acquainted with the demands and needs of a large community, wrote the following.

“For Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day’s work. At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and his wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him.”

Bonhoeffer’s sweet image of the Lord standing at the doorway of each new day, each new month, each new and daunting life season comes to me often when the calendar and commitments, most of them right and good, start stealing my peace and focus.

As a family we are committed to living intentionally with God and for others. This often looks like having couples or students over for meals in the evening, getting coffee with hurting friends, mentoring younger believers and being mentored ourselves. So many places to be, meals to host, children to nurture and develop. All good things, all things God has invited us into with Him. Yet, the good is the biggest enemy of the best.

I live in a hurried society and a heart that hurries to busyness lives within me. I am such a Martha, buzzing with frenetic energy like a neon light, I am quick to run to everything but the One thing needful. Yet, there is only one thing needful, and it is not a thing. It is not an urgent demand, but a patient person. The One thing I need is to come to Him. I need him to teach my heart to keep pace with His, rather than straining to keep up with the pace of the world all around or the lies deep within me.

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.

She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 

But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You  not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things: but only One thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

When I have sat with the Best, the good won’t have to be coaxed or conjured up; it will flow out of my union with Him. And union with Him is incredibly portable. He goes with me into PTA meetings and retreats; He goes with us to soccer practice; He is the main attraction of our hospitality, not my mediocre meals.

Manna. Daily bread. As thy days so shall thy strength be. His whispers of presence and provision for each moment in the moment.

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