Busy? Top Your To-Do List with this One Thing
by Jocelyn Green
One day last summer, we told our three-year-old daughter she could go to the library with Daddy when she was done eating. She promptly decided she was done eating and began to slide our of her chair.
“Elsa,” my husband Rob prompted her, “what do you say when you’re finished eating and want to go to the next activity?”
Our desired response (and really, the one we usually get): “May I please get down?”
Elsa’s actual response: “Hurry hurry hurry!”
Woops. Although I don’t think I say that (out loud) very often, I do feel rushed and busy just about every day. Obviously that was enough for Elsa to learn a false sense of urgency.
I admit that I am a pretty task-oriented person. When reading the story of Mary and Martha in Luke, I always identify with Martha:
“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 only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:38-42).
This passage really used to stump me. What’s so wrong about doing what needs to be done? I thought. But lately I’ve been reading Joanna Weaver’s Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, which really helps me “get” it. Weaver points out that Jesus didn’t rebuke Martha for fixing supper, but simply showed her that “the spiritual handicap of busyness left her unable to enjoy the intimacy of his presence.”
The “one thing” Jesus referred to that Martha needed in her life was fellowship with him. The same is true for us: no matter how busy we are, no matter how many responsibilities we have with our kids, especially during deployment, we still desperately need to spend time with the One who made us, the One who really has everything under control.
But what does that look like for the busy military wife? Weaver offers these very do-able, practical tips to help keep our priorities straight during the daily grind:
1. Invite Jesus to rule and reign. Each morning before you get out of bed, invite the Lord to come take the throne of your life, to be your “one thing.” Ask him for wisdom and guidance about the day ahead.
2. Ask God to reveal the next step. As you go through your day, keep asking the Lord, “What is the one thing I need to do next?” Don’t let the big picture overwhelm you. Just take the next step as he reveals it–wash one dish, make one phone call, put on your jogging clothes. Then take the next step . . . and the next.
3. Have faith that what needs to get done will get done. Since you have dedicated your day to the Lord, trust that he’ll show you the one thing or many things that must be done. Do what you can do in the time allotted. Then trust that what wasn’t accomplished was either unnecessary or is being taken care of by God.
4. Be open to the Spirit’s leading. You may find your day interrupted by divine appointments. Instead of resisting the interruptions, flow with the one thing as God brings it across your path. You’ll be amazed at the joy and freedom that comes from surrendering your agenda and cooperating with his (Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, p.58).
I especially love number three in the above list. For the better part of the last year, I had the following quote from author Nancy Leigh DeMoss taped up on my bathroom mirror:
“There is time for me to do everything that is on God’s ‘to do’ list for my day, for my week, and for my life.”
This is something I need to remind myself daily, especially when I am tempted to skip the most important part of my day (time with God) just to get right into accomplishing and checking off tasks.
About the author:
Jocelyn Green is the editor of Wives in Bloom and the award-winning author of Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. Visit her Web site at www.faithdeployed.com.