I am so blessed and relieved that God had more to say about the season I’m in. During my weekly meeting, not only did God clue us in to what he had been trying to say to us, but he encouraged me to read this book: Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. I had borrowed the book from someone about a month ago, along with many others. I had forgotten about it. I picked it up last night and knew that God was going to teach me something while I read it.
Oh my goodness.
I have read only three chapters so far, and I had to stop. I had to take notes on what I was reading because the words kept jumping off the page at me. I knew that I had to pay attention. I knew that I needed to stop to process all that I had read. One great way for me to do so is to write about what I’ve learned. I can feel in my heart that reading this book will change my life. God will use this author’s words and insight to change me from the inside out.
As I started reading the book, my heart and mind suddenly felt like deserts in desperate need of water. God is using this season to heal me from things that I didn’t even know about. This is going to be an interesting journey as I read this book and learn things about myself, and about God. I do believe that God will not allow for me to move forward into some blessings that he has in store for me until I get this stuff. I can’t tell you how I know that, I just feel it in my heart.
If you have struggle with the busyness of life, this book is for you. If you struggle with trying to live a balanced life, or battle with doubt, worry and anxiety, this book is for you. If you want to know how to stay calm in the midst of storms, or to have a worship attitude like Mary and still get things done, you need to read this book. That being said, I will post just some of the things that I know I’ve needed to hear and I hope that they will bless you as well.
For a balanced life, we’re to look to Jesus for guidance: “Jesus is our supreme example. He was never in a hurry. He knew who he was and where he was going. He wasn’t held hostage to the world’s demands or even its desperate needs.” I think this suggests that we should ask Him what we should do each day, not filling up our entire schedule without consulting Him first and then asking for him to help us accomplish it all. That’s how we run off course, get distracted (and ultimately frustrated) because we might be doing things that He never asked us to do (or doesn’t expect us to do by ourselves).
“Busyness, by itself, breeds distraction . . . We can get caught up in the same performance trap, feeling as though we must prove our love for God by doing great things for him. So we rush past the intimacy . . . to get busy for him . . . all in an effort to spread the good news . . . But in the end, will he know us? Will we know him?” I realized that I’m guilty of this because as soon as He healed me from my past, I ran right toward sharing the good news to publishing a book to getting involved in ministry and I did not slow down. Well, not until He took things away from me so that I would slow down. I figured that since He healed me and all, I knew enough to do all of these things. God’s not saying that my intentions or passions or activities are wrong. I just forgot that I’d still need to spend just as much time getting know Him. I had forgotten how to be wholly dependent upon him. I need to put spending time in His presence above to trying to accomplish anything, and I thought I had been doing that, but I wasn’t growing much.
I started to have “Martha Overload/Servant burnout.” Some examples are falsely (and probably innocently) believing things like: “There should not be any limits to what I can do,” and “I have the capacity to help everyone.”
Why is worship/intimacy/quiet time with Jesus so important? People commonly say that it gets our eyes off of ourselves and our circumstances and back to God. Why is that? Because we have an enemy: “. . . Satan has resorted to [distraction, discouragement, doubt] to bring down God’s best and brightest . . . Get people’s eyes off of God and on their circumstances.” “He also knows if we’re overly worried and bogged down by duties, chances are good our hearts will not hear the Savior’s call to come.” That’s why I haven’t heard God’s voice lately or felt like he wasn’t answering my prayers. I had been wasting so much time worrying and trying to solve all my problems that I literally was unable to hear God.
“Doubting God’s love doesn’t require tragedy . . . It happens when our will is crossed, when our needs are ignored, or when we, like Martha, are stuck doing the dirty work while everyone else is having fun.” Be careful if you feel this way. “For doubt, left unchecked, can fester into unbelief.” Did you know that “unbelief brought down Judas”?
Often times when I feel discouraged or frustrated, I try to take matters into my own hands. Thankfully, not all of my efforts work out because when they do, I end up making mistakes, just like others in the Bible who got in trouble for taking matters into their own hands. And that is exactly what the enemy wants us to do. “The fact is, until we stop doubting God’s goodness, we can’t experience God’s love.” and “You’ll forever be faced with . . . temptation to take matters into your own hands.”
Did you know that it says “Fear not” in the Bible, some 350 times? The Bible also tells us to not worry or be anxious. Yet we constantly do that. Did you know that “researchers have established connections between chronic worry and weakened immune systems, cardiovascular disease, neurological imbalances, clinical depression, and other physical and psychological dysfunctions . . .”
“We face legitimate concerns every day . . . but . . . instead of worrying, we need to focus on discerning what we can do (with God’s help) and what should be left entirely up to God.”
If you don’t know Philippians 4:6-7, please take a moment to look it up. I never knew/realized this but: “Paul had all kinds of reasons to worry as he sat in a Roman prison awaiting a possible death sentence.” He WROTE Philippians while in prison. He had PEACE in prison. He understood that worrying does nothing for us.
Which is better, worry or peace? Peace does not have any negative side effects. You can have peace in the midst of chaos. Peace does not mean that you aren’t being responsible or being lazy or are ignorant. It means that you are choosing to trust God, that you’re turning to him to take care of the problems that you cannot fix. It means that you are being wise, that you recognize your own limitations. God won’t honor our worrying.
In conclusion for today, I’ve known for a long time that I am guilty of worrying. I’ve also battled with anxiety and fear. I’ve learned that doing those things do not solve my problems, they do not bring deliverance, and they certainly don’t bring quicker answers from God. I’ve come a long way in dealing with those things, and I believe that God wants to pull me out from their traps. For good. People around me, and including myself, may believe that this season is a bad one for me (for my career and my finances, not the pregnancy). Yet, God is intending it for good. He has a lot that he wants to teach me because he loves me. One day, I will look back and be relieved and joyful that I surrendered to this now. I don’t want to keep finding myself in similar situations. I’m not here because God has forgotten about me! I’m here because God wants me to pay attention. He wants to free and deliver my heart from worry, distraction, discouragement, and anxiety. He wants to teach me more about His peace, more about His faithfulness, more about His love, more about His goodness, more about His provision, more about His plans for me.