I just seem to be restless…not simply restless in my body but restless in my spirit. My whole body aches for rest and yet my heart is heavy and my mind is full. There are days that I am positive this is just a season of life and then there are other times when frankly I think it is a way of life.
And when I have that thought, that this is a way of life… I am immediately convicted. Because I know that isn’t the life Jesus called me to live. My word for the year was margin…and I think it is a dumb word…but nonetheless it is mine…all mine. 🙂 The scripture I picked is a story of two sisters…both loved Jesus.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38 -42
Martha became distracted. Jesus’ reply…you are worried about all the wrong stuff…you are missing on what is needed, and what is better… Ouch! How many of us become distracted by all the stuff that screams for our attention? Laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, long lists of to-do’s for work, and on and on it goes…which before too long leads to being restless… living with no margins because we think somehow that we can do it all and maintain our sanity. We somehow buy into the lie that we can have it all with perfection.
I have spent the last couple of years in a constant state of restlessness and wondering when the season would end. Sure I had moments of rest and relief from the seemingly constant strand of chaos but it always seemed to return. I began to ask myself some really tough questions… like is there something about this I enjoy? Is this really the life I want to lead? Is this the legacy I want to leave behind for my kids? I didn’t like the answers. I didn’t like the reality.
Which led me to margin…it isn’t the word I wanted God to give me for this year. I am at a new church where there are a lot of great things happening and a lot that needs done. Margin seemed like brakes not forward movement. Margin seemed like a cruel joke until I found my scripture… then I understood… If I don’t create this margin in my life that I have so longed for, I will never be all that God has called me to be. I will never walk fully in the calling he has placed on me, because I will live a distracted life and I will miss opportunities to be at the feet of Jesus.
So how does a full time lead pastor, mom of four, wife to one, follower of Christ create margin in her life… that is a question I am asking everyday before the Lord, with a humbled heart, and a broken spirit. I don’t always like what I see when I ask the question because sometimes what I see is pride, jealously, greed, the myth of superwoman, a quest to be enough…For.EVERY.One… all really ugly things.
Some things I realize I have held on to for a really long time. Which means they will not go away overnight. They will only go away by retraining my thoughts, my words and my habits (disciplines). I have preached this whole month on these things and all week long God was speaking to me on them.
The last month has been full, and when I say full I really mean overflowing…finding margin has been impossible. And yet I read a quote today from the book The Grave Robber by Mark Batterson “If you follow Jesus long enough and far enough, you’ll eventually trespass into the impossible.” Margin on my own is impossible; margin with Jesus is absolutely possible.
All afternoon the restlessness robbed me…there were tears, there were harsh words, there was confusion and there were questions. I could almost feel my soul exploding. All the while, I kept hearing that still small voice, “Margin…you have to have it.” The Lord reminding me, his daughter, that I have to trust him with everything…my children (and there are days I don’t even think I can breathe in fear of what could or might or is happening)…my home (the budget, the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking)… my church (the people, the Valley to reach, the staff, the finances).
And that is when I stop and read my scripture again…she was distracted and missed out on the moment with Jesus…and I realize I need a moment with Jesus without distraction, without the humming of activity. I simply need to sit at the feet of the One who knows me inside out, my flaws, my struggles, my victories and loves. I can’t miss these moments. I can’t hurry past the sacred. I can’t let the urgent press out the important. I.MUST.CREATE.MARGIN. or my heart and soul will suffer.
So, now the wind is blowing wildly outside my window. I pause to see the beauty of the patterns it leaves in the snow. I stop, I sip a cup of hot tea and soak in the words of Jesus. I go to dinner and listen to the laughs of my children. I pause and pray over one of my children and seek wisdom. I let words fill the screen and finally a bit of margin is showing itself.
The journey of margin (rest, trust, obedience, discipline) continues…