“Mom! I need you to put pigtails in my hair!”
My four year old was waiting in the hall for me when I got up yesterday morning. My eyes were barely open, my body was still shaking off the shell of sleep. I needed a minute.
“Okay just let me brush my teeth. Did you look outside?”
“No,” she said, running to the front window.
I could hear her shrieks of joy from the bathroom.
“IT SNOWED! HEY GUYS! IT SNOWED!” she shared the good news with her big sisters.
I see an obstacle; she sees an opportunity.
It’s late March and perfectly normal weather in our city at this time of the year, but these overnight snow dumps still seem to catch me by surprise. Just the day before, we were enjoying the brilliant sunshine as the kids played at the park near our house. Our neighbourhood was buzzing with dog walkers and kids on bikes.
After the snow, all is quiet.
I stepped outside to drop something in the garbage bin and my ears perked up at the sound of birds in the trees. They seemed unfazed by the shallow blanket of white. It’s moisture that our dry ground needs, bringing the hope of a good growing season.
What appears to be a setback may, in fact, turn out to be the very thing that propels us forward.
Let me say that again: what we perceive to be holding us back may actually be the catalyst for the deeper, lasting change we desperately need.
Can we make room for it? Are we brave enough to let ourselves be interrupted by what is better?
If our pace is so harried that even one small deviation from our plan causes us to come unglued, maybe that is exactly what we need – to be unglued from our throne.
I was reading the story of Mary and Martha yesterday (Luke 10:38-42 NIV) —
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
“Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Martha had a heart to serve the guest of honour in her home with great care and attention to detail, but all the preparations had become a distraction to her. She became so frustrated that by Mary that she actually asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her! Can you even imagine?
And yet, something about that sounds so familiar to me.
My heart is full of distractions that bring frustration when someone isn’t going along with my plans. My prayers are full of requests for God to change other people to make my path easier.
Jesus had something important to share with Martha. He knew her heart. He knew she was worried and upset – she didn’t even have to tell Him that part. He reminded her that only one thing was truly necessary – to sit at His feet and listen to what He said. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen what is better, and He wasn’t about to tell her to be more productive.
Hmm. Could it be that there’s a game changer in there for me today?
Lord, search my heart. In the middle of all my grand plans, teach me to understand and choose what is better. Show me what it means to just sit at Your feet and listen to what You say.