Not again. You’ve just made dinner, after rushing to run errands after work and still get home by a decent hour. You had a busy day at work, which lengthened not because of the hours of work, but the hours BEFORE work you had due to waking up early and not being able to fall back to sleep.
And you STILL have so much to do this evening…a busier schedule than your workday’s itinerary.
And now the kids want to play. The pets want to cuddle. And you have people calling and texting and emailing.
On a good day, or maybe even a normal day, this might be the usual, and with no problems. But today, it’s just too much. You need rest. You need pause, from life, just for a while.
Martha, Martha, you have been worried over so many things…
You’re a servant. You’re a giver. You naturally, even often mindlessly take on the servant roles. You’re more comfortable with the background, with a to-do list to accomplish, with things within your grasp that you can control and care for the way you know how. Whether by circumstances or personal desire, or a little both, you have been one to be the caretaker, the helper, the upkeeper, the guardian, the one responsible for making sure needs are met.
And you’ve so often been going at it all alone. Either by counterparts who were irresponsible, lazy or abandoning. Or by inordinate circumstances. Or by the fact that you have assumed this role in such a way that others have gotten used to you doing it, and they backed off a little naturally and let you without taking extra initiative to reach in.
So now I want you to stop. Just for the moment. Pause, and breathe.
It’s important to recognize that you are going to have to learn to receive grace from God, and help from others, on a level that you haven’t done before. Let’s make sure you are on your way with the receiving of God’s grace first: train your heart to open and your eyes to see and your passion to long for His love, His beauty, His face. Daily. This is the core of the definition of seeking Him.
And as you seek Him, make yourself see yourself as you truly are: forgiven, clean, pure, beautiful…all because of His sacrifice. Not defining yourself by your past, but rather His past. 2000 years ago, for you. THAT is who you truly are.
Secondly–and this will be just as awkward to do–embrace the fact that you have been living as a one-man army, and let others, someone in this part of your world. Now, it would be wonderful if you have someone to lean on during days like today, to keep things from boiling over where you begin to lose control of what you’re doing and saying to people. And if you have someone, come to them and talk about your need of their assistance when you are overwhelmed. And give in to it when those days come. Don’t be afraid of having frustrating days. Just know your boundaries, your limitations, and your resources.
But, furthermore, reaching the core of this, allow yourself to be served regularly, balanced to your service, during the times you DON’T need help, the days you AREN’T overrun, the moments you CAN do it all yourself.
The foundation of relationship and community is fellowship, and the art of fellowship is not just meeting one another’s needs. It’s sharing life together out of places of pouring all together and drawing from that pool freely and willfully. It’s about desire, want-to…abiding with your loved ones in a place without misplaced internal walls.
Many have grown up in strict environments, whether religious or not. Several who had Christian themes in their upbringing may have had some very good things taught them, but they were not brought up in a way that emphasized grace as the foundation and fuel and atmosphere of seeking God and living right. And their parents’ parents were likely the same way to them, maybe even more so. Several have had broken homes or single parent households, or trauma without proper support and healing aftercare.
So you’ve been trained by life to survive, to work. There are strong benefits to this, as God can turn anything inordinate into a blessing. BUT, in all your getting, be sure to get understanding. In this case, understand the balance of life. Understand that life is ALWAYS a balance. Be balanced in your strengths, your successes, your mode of operation.
I want to encourage you to retrain your mind to learn to receive grace and help. Practice the art of asking for help, even when you don’t need it. ESPECIALLY when you don’t need it. THIS is a key turning point.
Teach your children to serve and assist and to look for signs in people that they need help or are burdened. Talk to your significant, your family and friends, and invite them to pitch in, or welcome them if they already do offer. You can still take the bulk of the load at first, if you really want to or need to. But take a few steps. Let someone in.
Keep the Sabbath…
Allow yourself to put off an errand or three, or intensive cooking and cleaning, if you are overwhelmed, too tired, or otherwise too occupied. Life is too short to drive ourselves crazy. There are enough things externally trying to do that already without us contributing towards it. (Go ahead, smile at that.)
Sabbath rest is a daily practice, an art interwoven into the fabric of life by God Himself. The One who needed no rest for He never tires or slumbers. And even He took a spell to do so. One third of our day is spent sleeping. Well, ideally…that is the requirement of our body to be alert and healthy, at least.
And the evening and the morning was the first day…
According to the original calibration of a day, the beginning started at dusk: the time of going to sleep. The ancient Jews followed this, as did other ancient civilizations. Adam and Eve began their life on a day of rest.
We were made to approach life by coming from a place of rest to approach our day and life. And when that is disrupted, we must take pause to attend to it.
So–it’s okay, you are going to be alright. I know some of you have far less options than others, but lean into Him on this. And do yourself a few favors. Don’t run yourself into the ground. Don’t compare yourself to where others seem to be and think you have to match what they have or do, either. Just breathe. Take time to stop. Budget downtime in your day, and if you get overwhelmed, move your schedule around to create extra time. You won’t be any good to getting anything done well or at all anyway, if you are incapacitated mentally, emotionally or physically.
Take time. You are worth it, life is too short, and the One who calls Himself the Lover of your soul has more for you than you’ve experienced on the inside.
[Now, for those of you who are the opposite…the slacking ones…don’t you go and take this as a license to sloppihood! You need to hear the opposite of this message!] Smile.