The definition of stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances”.
How is your week-before-Christmas going? Stressed? Me too.
I have to admit that I have the tendency to stress about all that has to be done and then worry about how much I am failing at it. I know, I need help.
As I sip my coffee this morning in my newly acquired mug from the Staff Christmas White Elephant Exchange, I want to invite you to join me in my devotional time as I ask Jesus for help.
I am drawn to the story in the Scriptures about another woman who was stressed out with preparations for a party. It is when Jesus and his friends were invited to a dinner party at Martha’s house in Luke 10:
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
My simple observations (and my prayers about them):
- Martha welcomed Jesus into her home.
Jesus, you are welcome into my home, my work, my celebrations, my relationships, my all.
- Martha got distracted by what she was doing for Jesus.
It doesn’t take me long to get distracted by what I want to do for you. Remind me that you called me to sit with You not just to work for you.
- Martha got overwhelmed and looked for someone to blame.
When I get overwhelmed, I also look for someone else to blame and it usually lands on my family. Please forgive me and help me take responsibility for my own thoughts, feelings and actions. Help me to clarify my needs, not demand them.
- Martha was honest with Jesus, then told Him what to do.
I am so thankful that I can be honest with You. I am so sorry for so often telling how I think you should fix the situation. You know better than I do what needs to be done and how to do them.
- Mary focused on spending time with Jesus.
Lord, it seems hard to find the time to spend with you with all the added things of this season. Help me to make more time with you when I get busy, not less.
- Mary listened to Jesus.
Help me hear your voice today and listen to what you are saying to me about what is most important. Help me to not worry what others think of me but only what You think of me.
- Mary didn’t get offended when challenged or jump to defend herself.
Jesus, help me to be strong enough to choose the most important thing and secure enough to not get offended when someone else challenges it.
My friend, you will always have a to-do list.
There will always be things to be done but you will not always have time with the people you love. Time is our most precious commodity. Choose time with people over your to-do list. Don’t get so busy doing that you miss being with the people you care about this week.
As I was writing this, my youngest came home from school and sat down in the living room (a rare thing since he is sixteen). I asked if he wanted to watch a movie with me and he said yes. I closed my laptop and watched it with him. That time together, laughing together, seeing his smile is the reason for the season. Spending time with those you love.
Time together is a powerful expression of love.
Jesus would rather have you sit with Him than serve Him.
Why? Because He loves you and you are His beloved daughter.