Ever feel that way? You’ve got just too much to do and God has given you too many tasks to handle? How can one person ever finish all that God has planned for them? I mean really, does God expect me to be able to do my job, run the household, get the kids to and from school and their extracurricular activities, do the shopping, pay the bills, be a responsible citizen, and love my enemy, use the gifts He has given me to bring Him glory, go to church, serve on the Church Council, teach Sunday School, fold bulletins, sing in the choir, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, pray, worship, study … how on earth can I do all these things?
The simple answer is you can’t. God doesn’t expect you to! But he does expect us to make time to have a close relationship with Him.
I can remember a time when I just didn’t have enough “time for God.” I was busy working full time, raising two children, being a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, all while trying to complete my college degree. I mean I really didn’t have time for God. Going to church on Sunday morning meant giving up a couple of precious hours that I could use to “get things done”. Every moment counted. There just wasn’t time or energy left for God. While my husband and children went off to church and Sunday school, I either slept in, did some studying, went grocery shopping or completed some other task that needed my attention.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was working hard to fulfill unrealistic expectations placed on me by society and myself. I was trying to live up to the ideal standard of Super Mom. People were impressed at how much I got done. I moved up in my company, got mostly “A”s in my classes, and had well-behaved, well-adjusted children. What people didn’t realize was that I was exhausted and felt empty inside. Something was missing. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t fill the void I felt inside. That’s when God whispered: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NRSV)
God opened my eyes to the reality that the more time you make for Him, the easier life becomes. I know, I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but the closer we are to Him, the more important He becomes, and the other stuff that keeps us busy becomes less so. The stress we have placed upon ourselves to be perfect, to do everything, lightens. When we learn from Jesus, we truly find rest for our souls, the strength to accomplish the tasks ahead, and the ability to prioritize. I found that the more time I made for God, the more energy I had. The emptiness I felt inside was filled with the grace, mercy, love, and peace of the one who created me with a God-sized hole in my heart. I was learning to choose the better part:
“Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 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’.” (Luke 10:38-42, NRSV)
Making more time to cultivate a deeper relationship with Jesus is not about earning His love, grace and mercy. Those gifts are already ours in Christ Jesus. As we move closer to Him, the world and its measure of success fade into the background and we discover what God truly wants us to accomplish on this side of heaven.
Father in heaven, grant us strength to choose the better part and let the demands of the world fade to the background. Grant us vision to see your purpose for us and to let go of those things that weigh us down. Grant that we may find rest in your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Continuing to learn to choose the better part,