Internal stillness takes practice. It is the fruit of hiddenness — a life that’s lived looking at God, a life of wonder in Him — and it needs to be cultivated. Sara Hagerty, Unseen
Do you ever feel tempted to make your relationship with God about appearances or productivity?
It can sometimes happen unknowingly, and the mindset shift can be stealthy. It sometimes happens under the guise of church activity or mentorship, even bible study and service.
God continues to bring the story of Mary and Martha in Luke to my mind.
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Martha, perhaps busying herself with tasks she had deemed more important than gazing at Jesus. She might have even had that internal warring going on many of us can relate to: so many people in my home, it needs to be clean…. I need to appear productive and making things happen…. I wonder what that person is thinking about me… These things need to be done first, then I’ll listen to Jesus.
Can you relate?
The tendency to believe the lie that work done for God is more important than my friendship with and love for Him.
But I think a greater truth is that our unseen time with Him is what makes all the difference.
The other night was a women’s ministry event complete with good food, laughter, and creativity. The speaker’s bread and butter was the ministry of relationships.
Her recent book is all about listening well, loving those in front of you, and relationships. She told of her new favorite practice, listening for heart drops.
The definition of a heart drop is (in Karen’s words): When a person, either directly or in a subtle way, gives you a peek into their heart. It may be through actual words, or you may pick up on a feeling, perhaps sadness or loneliness. It could even be a simple preference or “like” of theirs, such as their most-loved high-maintenance coffee drink or a favorite sports team.
I sat next to a only-known-for-a-year-but-love-dearly friend and told her in between dinner courses how overwhelmed I have been feeling lately.
A few days later, I opened up to the girls in my small group, friends (and they families) I have come to admire, trust, and love. I was honest about where I’m struggling and my raw emotions about my current situation.
They pointed me to Jesus and Scripture, but also were bummed with me.
They reminded me that they love me, and committed to pray for me.
I can be an overtalker. An anxious rambler. I sometimes fear awkward silences, and I can hardly let an uncomfortable situation sit.
There’s a frantic urgency to overreach with my words, to extent an apology or clarifying statement or burst of emotion.
I’ve known this to be true throughout my life, but lately it’s been flashing bright like Vegas Neon. And truthfully, I’m bothered by it.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21
I’m disturbed by my fear of discomfort in a conversation. I’m weary from my need to explain myself completely and entirely, to cover all my bases, to fix a situation immediately.
I wonder about pride, and how it could be a root issue here: the need to be sure I’m understood, the desire to make sure I’m not seen as wrong or confused or behind the curve.
Once I get going, words like a garden hose rush from my lips. Usually resulting in regret or self-doubt or disappointment, sometimes condemnation before Holy Spirit catches me.