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Written by: Abigail Atkins
“Mom, did you buy sugar? Have you been washing my clothes in Tide like I asked? You need to buy some more Lucky Charms. I think something’s wrong with this milk you bought. Mom. Mom! MOM!!!”
It’s no wonder God was frustrated with the Israelites. I can’t even gracefully deal with 4 complaining people. How on Earth did God handle thousands of ungrateful Israelites?? And, when I think of how much of a handful I can be all on my own….whew! Thank you, Lord for your grace! So, I kind of “cast my cares” upon the Lord, and the word I received in my spirit this week was, “Get over yourself.”
*Insert jaw-dropping shock and awe*
You see, it only takes a little thing, a little complaint, a bit of frustration, a moment of weakness, to send your thoughts spiraling in a negative whirlwind of chaos. I have seen in myself, that the times of my most frustration are the times when I am focused on what I want. I feel like I have a checklist programmed into my brain. Every day, I’ve got to check off the laundry, the dishes, the work responsibilities, the homework, the cooking, the bills, the grocery shopping, etc., so forth, and so on. And, at the end of each of those checklists is a goal, that precious time for myself. I enjoy writing, so every day, I have all intentions set to find some time to study my Bible and write. As I go through my day checking off the things on my list, it becomes obvious that I’m not going to get everything done so that I can check off that “me time” box. And, that’s where my frustration begins. I’ve tried the whole “waking up earlier” thing, and that doesn’t work out for me either. I have a whole new checklist to throw me off in the morning.
There was another chick like me. Her name was Martha. I’m sure you know the story:
Luke 10:38-42, “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 few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Sounds like Martha may have gotten a little tough love, like I did this week. I think the message I received was, “Get over yourself. And, it’s not all about you.” Jesus was telling her to put her focus and attention on the right things. Don’t make your to-do lists more important than the people that you are doing those things for.
That’s not to say that we don’t have responsibilities. God has given us all work to do. So, what are some of the most important things that we need to focus on?
- The most important thing, as we see in the following verse, is to love God with all your heart, and to love others. Once you get into the habit of spending time with God every day, you will realize how important it is to keep Him as a priority in your life. Matthew 22:36-40 says, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
- It’s not all about you. In fact, it’s not even a little bit about you. You have to daily deny yourself and make following Christ your life. Don’t run away now! I know I’m dishing out the tough love today, but I promise I’m preaching to MYSELF way more than I am to any of you! Luke 9:23, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
- Get over yourself. You are not here to be pampered and served. You are here to sacrifice of yourself and serve others. I think of a mindset us women are guilty of falling into. We love romance, and when I think of romance, I think of my husband serving me. That may be a picture of him taking me out to dinner or running me a candlelit bubble bath, or of him sending me roses. When we focus on things we want like that, we end up disappointed a lot. But, I’ve learned that when you make your focus more on how you can serve your spouse, you find a lot more fulfillment. For example, this past week, my husband had been working a lot of overtime, including weekends. While I was off work, I had my little to-do list scanning through my brain, and planting my watermelon patch was among the priorities on my list. Well, in order to do that, I needed to first mow, which meant that I would have to teach myself how to operate the new zero-turn mower we had. I hated that mower, but I jumped on board and got to work. Before I got started on my watermelon patch area, I decided to mow the back yard first. I knew my husband would come home exhausted from working all day, and I didn’t want him to have to mow the yard too. I thought I would serve him by taking that chore off him today. Surprisingly, he came home early, and since I had mowed most of the back yard, he helped me with my watermelon patch. It was a great team effort on our parts to serve each other. And, that made for the best day. I helped him with his to-do list, he helped me with mine, and that freed us both up to have some time to enjoy our evening together. Ask yourself not, “What can you do for me?”, but “What can I do for you?” Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- John 21:15-17, “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
In our first point, we see that our most important command is to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts. And, in this final point I’m getting to today, we see that Jesus is saying, if you want to show me how much you love me, feed my sheep.
Like I said before, I am preaching more to myself than anyone else. My husband has really put some things into the right perspective this week. His mantra has been to find the blessings. The blessings are everywhere, in all of the little things. The challenge is, training your brain not to focus on the annoyances of life. The hard part is not to worry about the to-do list, but about the people you do the things on the to-do list for. Focus on the blessings. Enjoy the moments. Love God. Love one another.
At the end of my life, would my kids say, “My mom lived a life that led me to Christ.” Or, would they say, “Mama was always mad over a jug of milk.”
Would my husband say, ” My wife loved me like I’d never been loved before, and that’s the reason I decided I wanted to live like that, and I got saved.” Or, would he say, “I couldn’t do anything right for that woman.”
Would your boss say, “That employee worked harder for me than anyone else. There was something different about her.” Or would they say, “I wouldn’t hire her again.”
This is why it’s not all about me. This is why I must daily deny myself and pick up my cross. This is why I must try harder to put away the to-do list, and choose the more important things.