A Simple Revolution

10:09 AMHeather

You know how you can hear the same story for the billionth time and suddenly be impacted in a way as never before?  Or you see the same movie, read the same book--and suddenly there is an epiphany about the plot or meaning?  It fascinates me--this ability to reach beyond the familiar to notice something so new that you marvel how you ever missed it to begin with?

This is me.  With Mary and Martha.  I can even remember doing a Bible study some twenty years ago called Being a Mary in a Martha World. It had me at the title alone.  Because I am Martha.  (For those of you--like me--who are often confused by which sister is which--I remember Martha because Martha Stewart is also always busy with preparations.  That's a bonus lesson here on the blog today). I'm not saying I'm Martha Stewart per se.  I am saying I am a doer.  I am a perfectionist.  I am task driven.  If I had a dime for every time my husband asked how my day was, and I answer with defeat--"Just okay.  I wasn't very productive."  In a quick survey of which sister you are--I'd rank rather high on the Martha scale.

Obviously, I am well aware of this chink in my armor.  So, I've tried hard over the years to unwind it.  To change it.  To put on a Mary persona.  To be like Mary.  Just chilling.  There with Jesus.  Not stressing over the long to-do list.  Except that it's like a little girl playing dress up in her mother's clothes.  It just hasn't fit correctly.  For all my striving, I've never gotten there.  I've just attempted to wear an ill fitting identity.  Trying to be someone that I'm not.

Fast forward to December 2013.  My month of mandatory rest.  My job was to recover.  Just lie around and heal from back surgery.  I felt like a caged animal at first.  But, gradually, I was surprised by how I settled in and came to enjoy it.  For perhaps the first time ever, allowing myself to be freed from my OWN expectations.  I saw for the first time how I put the expectations on myself--it's really not that I'm trying to live up to other's expectations.  The reality is that I'm actually not that far up on the radar of those around me, to be honest.  We are all so busy in our own little worlds.  

I took some of this time to contemplate my word for 2014.  It was obvious from the beginning--I almost felt I need not ask the Lord in prayer about it or ponder it for a millisecond.  Love.  Of course, 2013 was a year of contemplating how God's heartbeat is a love for the poor and oppressed and the needs of others.  And how much I've misconstrued His love for me.  Making it a complicated mess, as I try to fit it into the paradigm of my relationship with others.  

It's all in the timing, isn't it?

Decided.  Love is the word for 2014.

Enter the first sermon of the year by our interim pastor, JR Vassar.  Yep. Our familiar heroine and busy body, Mary and Martha.  I'm learning never to assume I've heard it all before.  BAM!  It hit me all over.  What I'd always been missing in my futile attempts to be Mary instead of Martha.  

I'd overcomplicated it.  Instead of trying to BE like Mary, I realized what I'd missed.  I needed to just do what Mary did.  Sit at Jesus' feet.  Instead of trying to be someone I'm not, all God is asking for is for me to adjust my task list.  Just to remember that my assignment is to sit at His feet.  To choose the one thing.  Think of nothing else.  Nothing else matters.  My task is not to be like Mary.  My job--plain and simple--is to sit at Jesus' feet.  

Just as I managed in the month prior to take on the task of resting physically.  That alone.  When distractions came and I felt the guilt inching in, I fought myself back to the simple command--"Your doctor said to rest.  That's your job.  He said it.  Now do it."

Boom.  A simple revolution.  The Great Physician said to rest.  That's my job.  He said it.  Now do it.  Sit at His feet. 

Instead of responding to Jesus by doing--or trying to quit being a doer, here's what I am do.  Here's the sum of my task list.  Sit at Jesus' feet.  

Here's what that does not mean.  It does not mean that I ignore the rest of the world and all tasks and housework and activities because I'm just in some weird zen mode of sitting criss cross applesauce all the live long day. 

Nope.  Here's what this does mean.  I do not neglect my time with Him.  I make it a habit and the most critical part of my day to sit with Him. Preferably early in the day to get this train on the rails from the get go.  I sit with my prayer journal.  I dive into the Word.  I keep doing it.  I miss a day, I move on.  And get back at it.  And trust that God's word is not returning void.  Even when I don't feel some mountain top experience, I'm sowing seeds.  

And, I try to keep my mind on Him.  All day.  This is how this translates for me.  My mind begins crowding with tasks or schedules.  I take a deep breath, close my eyes, picture myself reclining at His feet.  I ask Him to help me stay at His feet.  I ask Him to keep my heart in this posture, even when my day is busy and crazy.  I ask Him to handle all the things in the kitchen.  All the preparations.  I ask Him to help me surrender it all to Him and help me to just stay at His feet.  When I feel frenzied, I'm learning to exhale and pray and come back to the freeing and simple truths of His call in Luke 10:38-42--to choose the ONLY THING that is needed.  I might go back and read the Scripture.  I might turn on some praise music, or the Steven Curtis Chapman song The Feet of Jesus. 

Here's what I'm learning.  This is a spiritual discipline.  This is the work of the sacred life of leaning into my Savior.  It's a minute by minute wrestling match mentally.  Physically.  Spiritually.  To train myself to keep my heart and soul centered on resting at His feet.  To realize THIS is what Matthew 6:33 means when it tells me to seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  THIS is what John 15:5 means when it tells me to remain in the Vine as I am the branch.  THIS is the what John 15:9-10 means when it tells me to abide in His love.  THIS is what Matthew 11:29 means when it tells me to take His yoke upon me.  This is what 1 Peter 5:7 means when it tells me to cast my cares upon Him.

How I've complicated it by making it all about my doing.  All about my activity.  When all the while, God was asking me to just rest.  Just sit.  Just be with Him.  With my time.  With my mind.  With my spirit.  To stay focused on Him, minute by minute.  Learning to let Him handle the preparations in the kitchen.  While I just rest at His feet.  Asking Him all day long to help me to just rest at His feet.  To tell myself the freeing command for this year.  Sit at His feet.  That's my job.  Plain and simple.

Here's how I summed it up in a text thread with my cousin, Megan, the other day.  

We must work hard to detangle the complications we make of God's simple freeing truth.  I'm living here this year...At His feet...Quietly.  Marinating in the simplicity of the gospel.  He loves me.  He demonstrated in all that He did for me.  And all that He asks of me is to sit at His feet.  All day long.  As I go and do.  To ever learn the spiritual discipline of abiding in His love.  

I looked that word up--abide--in an English to Greek dictionary.  It means to continue, to endure, to adhere to.

A simple revolution indeed.  To continually adhere to His love.  To endure in the continual seeking of resting at His feet, surrendering all else to Him.  

As the new Casting Crowns song says, all He's ever wanted is my heart.  

For this blog post, I googled an image of "woman at rest." Here's what I found and fell in love with instantly.





It's a woman in Peru.  Going about her day.  With a heavy burden on her back.  Stopping at the cross.  

Love.

As I go about my day.  With heavy burdens on my back.  Stopping at the cross.  To remember how He loves me.  To meditate on that miracle.  

And lest I misrepresent what this is all about, let me clarify.  This is not the simple revolution of all of us just sitting around the feet of Jesus in some happy trance of gratitude and peace and love.  

Not at all.  It's all about the rhythm of the gospel, so eloquently articulated by JR Vassar.

We sit at the feet of Jesus so that we might become the feet of Jesus.

This spiritual discipline, this sacred practice of sitting at His feet is not self-serving.  It's about resting at His feet so that we might become His feet to the world around us.  I could already tell you story after story of how this has played out in the first three weeks of 2014.  And I do intend to share with you, bloggy friends.  For now, let me just say.  

When you begin to practice sitting at His feet, you will be amazed at how He intersects your day with opportunities to see and meet the needs around you that might otherwise go unnoticed.  

So I will lay down my struggles
I will lay down my shame
All the fear I drag around through this life
like a ball and chain
(All my questions and confusion)
I will sing Hallelujah to the One who sets me free
And you will find me at the feet of Jesus.

                        Steven Curtis Chapman

So if you're looking for me, you know where to find me.

At the feet of Jesus.  Learning anew how to be the feet of Jesus.

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