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Embracing the Bigger Life

Hello Reader! Ugh, I’m sure you feel the invitation from culture just as I do. The cultural invitation is to “get busy and stay busy accomplishing things because your worth lies in what you do and what you accomplish”.

“…lies”.

I mean it. That is a lie.

 

Maybe you’ve heard of the Bible story of Mary and Martha, the sisters who were conflicted in how to “host” Jesus in their home. One of the sisters chose to prepare food and drink while the other sister chose to sit with Jesus. It’s an internal conflict for all humanity. Having sufficient time with Jesus to sustain our work is the very real tension. Our past and present experiences with Jesus can complicate the invitation as well. With a full embracing of all of that, today I encourage you to live in truth to protest, rebel and defy the cultural invitation!

Say yes to the invitation to sit at Jesus feet and get to be with Him. Let the truth that your worth is not found in what you do, but it is found in who you are embrace you. You are created and called to communion with God and others, not to establishing worth in accomplishing.

That’s true.

 

What else is a true experience is that this truth doesn’t often make sense or seem realistic. Most of us have past or present experiences with Jesus that can complicate the invitation to sit with him.

If that’s you, pause here and consider on a scale of 1-10 how much do you believe that? Or want that?

How we feel about Jesus, or about what we had hoped he would do for us, or in us, by this time this week somewhat determines the desire we have for stopping and sitting.

I’m with you. I’ve been there.

I still encourage you to challenge yourself to actually have a conversation with Jesus and sit with him. Bring what you feel now about Jesus to Jesus. It IS a relationship we are inviting to after all.

Perhaps respond to his invitation with this request, “Jesus, thanks for the invite. I’m here what all that is my head and heart. Now please help me see things going on in my life the way you do.” Or maybe, “Please help me see myself the way you do.”

As you sit with Jesus, many thoughts or emotions will occur. You are not alone in these. Consider the following paraphrases from writers Peter Scazerro, Thomas Merton, and Ruth Haley Barton:

  • The conflict of Mary and Martha is in ourselves.  Having sufficient time with Jesus to sustain our doing for Him is, perhaps, the primary tension of every human. You are not alone.
  • The Holy Spirit invites us to prefer “the apparent uselessness, un-productivity, and inactivity of simply sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him. We are called to prefer this over an apparently more productive, more active, more busy life.
  • Our act of preference to sit at Jesus’ feet is a protest and defiance against our culture that says a person’s worth and value is in “getting things done.” We affirm there is something else that is more important. This will never be fully explainable to other people.
  • We renounce the goodness of benefits and advantages that characterize an overly-active life for something else which is better for us. We accept restrictions and sacrifices in order to grow in the inner freedom Mary models here.
  • We are called to a life of direct communion with and dependence upon Jesus. This requires purification by God in silence, prayer, solitude, and detachment.
  • We recognize that time in silence and listening is often painful, difficult, full of hardship, and demanding.
  • Learning to be attentive to Jesus is a challenging discipline to sustain long-term.

However difficult it is practically and experientially, it is our design. To be with Jesus. To be present with people.

And times of stillness allow for times of activity.

So Reader, today let’s journey together to a place of rest at some point today. Then again tomorrow, and the next day and the next until it is a rhythm of resting and acting in Christ and with Christ.

Embrace the bigger life that is beyond the cultural invitation.

What do you say?

Some points of reflection or discussion:

  • What resistance do you experience in this invitation
  • Where has Jesus “disappointed” you so that you don’t want to be with him?
  • Where and when have you lived this rhythm and what might you say?

 

Warmly,

~Liz

Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs the Streams Counseling Center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me

 

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