It’s a new year, friends! Happy 2012! I have to say 2011 was probably one of the most challenging years I can remember ever living through – but wow, God taught me a lot. That’s usually the way it goes, right? We don’t get a workout just sitting there – we have to actually go run – or jog – or walk. But we start. Our muscles get stretched, and pushed, and often tired. But we see results on the other side.
Since the book came out this past fall, it has been a thrill and a humbling privilege to hear from many of you who have read it and identified with my experiment. Just yesterday I got a note from a reader that made me smile and go “aww.” Reba wrote that as a working mom, a mom of four – including two adopted children from another country – she has often felt criticism for being a Christian and for working. She sees her job as a teacher as a ministry, and neither she or her husband feel like she’s supposed to step away from that. She knows she does good for her husband and her family… but she said she also goes to bed many times “feeling defeated.”
But after reading the book, she said that she feels “better. I feel encouraged. I feel challenged. I feel understood.”
Thank you so much, Reba, for sharing that. I am so glad God used the book to encourage you in your own journey as a wife and mom. He is certainly still teaching me! Every day seems to offer a new lesson, and sometimes I get it – and sometimes He has to put me in the remedial class.
Just yesterday I was having a mini-panic attack as I was looking at the “master” to-do list I thought would be a good idea to start of everything I “need” to do. The problem with my to-do lists is I don’t just write down things like “go get groceries for the week,” or “get the oil changed in the car.” No, I also write down things like “plan out the new Bible study” and “redo website.” And then kick myself because it’s been a week and I haven’t gotten it done. Yeah. Really need to get that overachievement growth removed sometime. (And please, before the emails start – yes, I know about breaking down projects and taking them little steps at a time. I just don’t do that very well.)
But then I was reminded this morning of where my focus needs to start. And it’s not on the to-do list. See if this situation sounds familiar to you.
While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Sometimes I can so identify with Martha. Jesus may not be physically sitting in my house, but often I am still rushing around just like He is, wanting to “do” and complete all of these plans to honor Him. But how often are those plans His? How often are they, maybe, just maybe, just little ole’ mine? And He has a much different idea for me?
So… I know many of you are looking forward to the P31 challenges this year – I am too! – but before we jump in, and before we even start the first one I’d planned to announce this week – we’re going to take a little detour and for our first challenge, remind ourselves where our focus needs to start.
Because whatever you desire to do this year – whether it’s get a little better in your cooking, or your organization or your parenting – our focus as wives and moms starts with God and His plans for our year.
My greatest need – my greatest task, if you will – is to know God better. Yes, I can be a doer. And yes, like Mary, Martha’s sister, I can be a thinker, and focus on the thoughts of God. But the bottom line is knowing Him. Period.
So this week, YOUR CHALLENGE IS to spend a little time with Him each day. Put Him first before everything else.
Something new I’m going to do for these challenges in 2012 is just have you respond to this original post (instead of doing another one on Fridays). I’d love to hear how the challenge goes for you. Some of you like the accountability of that. Or, in the immortal words of Nike, just do it. And don’t feel like you have to post. But seek God and ask Him to change your life. He will!
Here are some additional readings this week that may be helpful in reminding you more about where our focus should be. I pray this first challenge is your best!
Monday – Luke 10:39-42
Tuesday – Psalm 46:10-11
Wednesday – Matthew 6:25-34
Thursday – Matthew 11:28-30
Friday – Philippians 4:6-7