Luke 10:41-42 – The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”
I wish that I could be “that person” who always appears calm. Cool as a cucumber. Collected and focused. With the confidence that I can manage whatever comes my way today.
But I am not.
Oh, there are times when I can be that person. Maybe on the outside. Maybe with a group of people. Yet, on the inside, I feel distracted. Unfocused. Thinking three steps ahead of what is happening right now, which prevents me from being fully present in the moment.
I LOVE the story of Martha and Mary. Actually, I adore it. I have written about it many, many times and actually wrote a whole book about my Martha-like tendencies and my desire to have a touch more Mary-ness in my life. When I finished this book, I was so optimistic that I would prioritize more calmness in my life. I have just written a book about it. It would be possible, right?
Wrong. Well, at least not all the time.
Yes, I have moments and seasons of more calmness. Times when I challenge myself to simply be present. To listen. To hug. Extend myself grace. Yearn for peace and remember that I am the one who will determine if peace is possible in my daily life.
But then, there is real life. Things that happen far out of my control which may or may not affect my daily well-being. Yes, it is always my choice, as it is your choice as well. But let’s be real. Unless you live on an island all by yourself with no connection to the rest of the world, being calm all the time probably is only an illusion. It’s not reality. It sounds great but nearly impossible to achieve.
So, how do we hack it in the real world and remain some sense of calmness and sanity along the way? How do we keep our hearts and minds a bit calmer when our lives and possibly the rest of the world is in constant overdrive?
By returning to Jesus’ feet. Day after day. For even brief moments of calm and quiet. To remember that it’s not about being perfect but simply showing up at Jesus’ feet for encouragement, a minute of contentment and the possibility and hope that our craziness is still loved by God.
Since writing The Mary Experiment: When DOING and BEING Collide, I am often asked if I have achieved what I had hoped when I wrote the book. Have I let the doing and the being collide and accept that this is OK? Where have I found more contentment and calm in my world?
Truth? It’s still very much a daily struggle for me. I continue to be a huge work-in-progress. I hear the words, “Dianne, Dianne,” and know Jesus is speaking directly to me. I have let way too many distractions come into my life and hijack it. I fail to see the beauty of celebrating those moments of calmness that I can create and latch onto for my life. Every day, only I will determine what is good and beautiful and if this is more important to me than the things that will constantly be trying to pull me away from sitting at Jesus’ feet.
Too often, we think that calm and contentment are running away from us. But here’s the deal: maybe WE are the ones running away. Maybe I allow too much to distract me. How often do I procrastinate and choose things that feed my soul in a less helpful way? I love to make up tons of excuses. When will I stop doing so and sit at Jesus’ feet and discover what Jesus yearns for me to really focus on and make as the priorities of my daily living?
If you struggle with some of these things as well, here are just a few thoughts about how you might find even a few Mary moments in your daily life:
- Bookend your day with prayer. Share just a few thoughts with God before your feet hit the ground, while you are still laying in bed. At the very end of the day when my head hits the pillow, I say the Lord’s Prayer every single night. This is how I begin and end my day with God. The rest of the day maybe a crap shoot, but at least I want to spend these few moments with Jesus.
- Take a few minutes in the morning to get things aligned with God. Journal your thoughts with God. Ingest a few verses of scripture. Read something that inspires and encourages you. This can take as little or as much time as you desire. This morning time for me has become almost a non-negotiable in my life. I DEPEND upon it daily.
- Express gratitude daily. Yep, daily. This is part of my morning time. I write down three things I am grateful for that happened in the last 24 hours. It shifts my thoughts from what didn’t happen right to what I can celebrate. Huge shift, my friends. Try it.
- Give yourself permission to not be perfect. Progress is more important than perfection. This is one of the mantras I am trying to embrace every day. Grace is abundantly available to us. We choose whether or not to accept it.
- Calmness is best found in the simple, not the complicated. Great plans and expectations can be helpful. But when we put too much pressure on ourselves to get everything “right,” we stop from doing anything. The more simple I keep things, the more calmness and Mary moments I can find. Every day. And this, my friends, has become another important mantra in my life.
Something will most likely happen today that will challenge you. Distract you. Pull you away from your plan for the day and try to hijack your thoughts and intentions. You will choose whether this does or not. Some days, those distractions warrant your time and energy and space. Other days? You will choose.
Today, you will have 1,440 minutes that are given to you as a gift. Tomorrow, you will have another 1,440 minutes. It will be impossible to have 1,440 minutes of calm in your life. And this is OK. I am not sure it is necessary to set a number of calm minutes to aspire for. This may not be very calming in your life!
What IS important? Exploring ways that we can let the doing and the being collide and be OK with this. Find moments when we can simply sit at Jesus’ feet. Discover what is helpful for us to do in those moments so they can create some calmness in our lives even when everything else may feel very chaotic. Celebrate the moments that are good and important and let this become our mantra rather than what is challenging and difficult in the moment.
Friends – we already have extraordinary lives. Lives filled with so much goodness and greatness. When we embrace this, then I think a bit of calm will quickly slide into our lives as well. We don’t have to run away from something or towards something to find calmness. It’s already here. We simply just have to convince ourselves it is ours for the embracing.
For the calmness that I can embrace daily, I am very grateful.
Loving God – even when today feels full and overwhelming and a bit too much, may I come to You if only for a minute and embrace the calmness that comes directly from You. May I yearn for this calmness. Seek it out. Not run towards something else but embrace Your great calming Spirit. Amen.
If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.
For more blogs focusing on Calm, please go to:
Calm in the Midst of a Storm by Sharla Hallett
How to Calm Anxiety When Overwhelmed by Lisa Crowder
Shift from Stressed to Calm by Ashley Olivine