it sits ill with me, this word.
i wanted something fiery and ambitious: ablaze. ablaze fit what i wanted from this year and what i’d felt the Lord laying on my heart since the end of summer.
but God, i think, was tired of my trying and doing and decided i needed a word with far less flash and lot more grit, and so He gave me still.
i about had a panic attack.
because being still means, you know, BEING STILL. and i’m not very good at that. i never have been. i love to hear the story my parents frequently tell me of when i was a baby, slamming my walker over and over into the front door.
the thing about that story, though, is i never stopped doing it. at least, on a spiritual level. so i was slamming my walker in the door about all the things i was planning on doing, and it turns out, maybe i was abraham holding the knife over isaac, and this is Him telling me to put the knife down.
see, y’all, still is killing me. i realize we’re a whole two weeks into 2014, but it was killing me already last week. it was the sixth of january when it occurred to me that since the year had started, i’ve been on a whole other level of antsy. and the idea of still is baffling at best.
a friend and i were texting sunday afternoon when she reminded me of the israelites following the Lord through the desert. He led them as a cloud, and where it went, they followed. when it stopped, so did they.
i think it’s really easy for me to espouse the first part of that, and like ruth said to naomi, tell the Lord i will go where He goes.
it’s sincerely more difficult for me to espouse the second part, shut up, and like mary of bethany, just sit at His feet, basking in His presence, enraptured by what He has to say.
mary unnerves me. martha, on the other hand, would be a great friend. i can imagine if she lived in my time we would oft repeat the phrase, “ain’t nobody got time for that,” as we made dinner and cleaned in preparation for company. we’d list tasks meticulously in our personalized planners and think bitterly about how the only alone time we get is when we’re in our cars which is about as relaxing as a traffic jam – because, you know, that’s what metro detroit is.
i imagine Jesus’s eyebrow goes up at all that nonsense and He just smiles as He listens to us go on and on about ALL THE THINGS and can mary JUST GET UP because AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THIS.
(aside: my 2014 project is a translation of the bible into annie. i know you’re excited for this.)
“martha, martha,” He finally says, “mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.“
i wonder if martha saw what He meant or kept pushing her point.
(i think she pushed. anybody else?)
mary has chosen what is better.
you notice mary doesn’t even speak in this whole exchange?
because any other pair of sisters might have fought it out, but mary, she gets it, she shuts up, and the Lord does her fighting for her while she sits still.
i don’t know how to do that.
(maybe that’s obvious?)
and i’ll be honest, i’m not terribly eager to learn. i still want to do and try and be, like martha, because it fuels my sense of accomplishment. actually doing a thing makes me feel like i’m actually doing the good work.
mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
i wonder how many times mary turned over that sweet time at Jesus’s feet in treasuring gratefulness. i wonder how many times she hit a brick wall of circumstance and prayed, imagining she was right back at the feet of Jesus even as the Spirit stirred her soul. and i wonder how she passed that on, ministering to the people she came into contact with, able to use the experience of sitting at the feet of God Himself to speak truth and the gospel into a broken, plaintive heart.
i want mary’s spirit of offering all she had: a heart willing to listen.
and in the words of ruth, may i learn to say to Jesus, as i learn stillness at His feet, “where You go, i will go, and where You stay, i will stay. Your people will be my people and Your God my God.”
and like the cloud leading the israelites, may God lead me beside the still waters and restore my soul.