THE ONE THING
July 27, 2013
Howdy from the depths of density. I had a perfectly good idea for a Doodle about a week ago. I think I was driving through town when it came to me, but I’m not sure. And by the time I made it to a place where I could write down my brilliant thought, I evidently forgot all about it, because I did not write it down. I’m sure you can guess the next part of the story. Today when I sat down to write this month’s Doodle, my mind was totally blank. Well, not totally. I remembered I had had a good idea and I tried to dredge it up, but alas–nothing. Many of you are possibly thinking, “Debbie, join the 21st century and get a phone that lets you speak notes to yourself, or at least some kind of recording device! Then you won’t have to wait until you can write it down and none of your blinding brilliance will be lost!” That’s just so like some of you who are with it. I, however, prefer to be at one in sisterhood with Jane Austen, who never had such a device and wrote perfectly brilliant novels. But then, I doubt that she did much driving.
So we will pursue another avenue of thought this month, one which has been ongoing this entire year so far. Let me share with you one last exciting little nugget of wisdom I gleaned from the study we recently finished up in Sunday School on the book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. This study has meshed so well with my one word, POEM, and learning to discern the “good works which He has prepared for me to do” as stated in Ephesians 2:10. I’ve struggled for decades with feelings of inferiority and trying to DO more in order to FEEL better about myself, rather than seeing myself as someone God created to BE how He made me. So these words of Claire Cloninger that Joanna quotes from her book, When God Shines Through, hit me right between the eyes:
For me, one of the greatest frustrations of walking through the “dailiness” of my life as a Christian is that I don’t always get to see how the bits and pieces of who I am fit into the big picture of God’s plan. It’s tempting at times to see my life as a meal here, a meeting there, a car-pool, a phone call, a sack of groceries–all disjointed fragments of mothering in particular.
And yet I know I am called, as God’s child, to believe by faith that they do add up. That in some way every single scrap of my life, every step and every struggle, is in the process of being fitted together into God’s huge and perfect pattern for good.
Then later in the last chapter, Joanna herself shares how she has learned to focus each day on living like a Mary in a very busy world of scattered responsibilities, dreams and pressures. She says,
Instead of fretting about what was and was not getting done, I began to surrender my days to the Lord, asking him to direct my paths. “You know what needs to be done today, Lord. Show me the ‘one thing’ and I’ll do it.”
Such a simple process, but one that has alluded me most of my life. I still have all kinds of chores and hobbies and responsibilities and service and dreams I need and want to perform each day, but now I’ve started asking Jesus each morning to lead me to the “one thing”, the one essential thing that He has for me to do, so I don’t bypass it in all my striving to accomplish everything on my daily list. I don’t want to miss out on the joy of whatever it is I’m allowed to wake up on this earth one more day to do, because I can’t see past all the tasks I’ve come up with on my own. Some days my one thing may be simply to serve the family I work for to the best of my ability. Or maybe it’s taking the time to talk to an elderly person and helping him find the canned tuna at Kroger, rather than rushing past to get onto the next item on my list. Maybe it’s listening to a friend who needs to talk out a problem. Or maybe I really need to get some menus planned so my family has something to eat for the next week!
Since practicing this new prayer habit, I’ve been amazed at how much less stress I feel over all the things that don’t get done. And everyday God has been faithful to let me know when that “one thing” has been accomplished. It’s very freeing. And feeling free is extremely weird to me. But it’s nice. Imagine that!
Apparently I wasn’t supposed to remember whatever that brilliant Doodle idea was, because I have just finished my one thing for today. Thank you for being a part of it!