Slow Wrestling

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”Luke 10:38-42

I know I’m prone to exaggeration but I swear I’m not when I say that I have wrestled this passage my entire adult life. And I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not the source of wrestling for all mankind.

We. Must. Stay. Busy.

The curse of man is that we have a lie enmeshed into our being that we can’t get over and we are constantly striving and working to be good enough. We have to take care of all the people, all the things. We have to make sure everyone is fed, that all the kids have their homework, that the car is gassed up, and that we are all safe, happy, and secure. We need to make more money, succeed in all the places, and win at all the things. All. The. Things.

We know Jesus tells us that sitting at his feet is the best way. We’ve read it and we know in our hearts that it makes the most sense. We know this life we are living is too much, too fast, too crazy, and we are all exhausted. We know that Jesus offers peace. But our tiny earthly brains can’t believe it to be true.

This weekend I went away with 35 other women to explore the idea of sitting at the feet of Jesus. We put away our laptops and our phones and we opened real Bibles, the kind with paper pages you turn; there was no scrolling.

The women on the Rhythms of Grace retreat.

We spent lots of time in worship and lots of time in silence, reading God’s Word. We explored the idea of slowing down, unplugging, taking a break, and supporting each other in the process. We didn’t cry and spill our guts – it wasn’t that kind of women’s retreat. But we were real and we were honest about how hard we try to be Martha and how we desperately want to be Mary.

It’s very anti-cultural to slow down. I mean, there are lots of books and magazines suggesting we do so by pouring another glass of wine and sitting in a bubble bath or at a spa. That’s not the slow down we need, though. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those things, but they are not the things that will heal our hearts and souls. What we need is good, old-fashion, time with Jesus. We need to be alone with him, to sit with him, and to hear the truth he offers to each of us.

And that truth? It’s simply that his love for us is so great that there is nothing we can do or say to make him love us more or less. We don’t have to work to earn his attention or his affection and we don’t have to work to keep from losing it.

Sometimes we just need a reminder. I am so grateful for the gift of this weekend with these women. I am grateful for all the planning and work that went into making it happen. There was so much busyness and so much work put in by so many to create the space needed for so many to be blessed. Which is kind of ironic, isn’t it? But on this side of Glory, we will always wrestle for the sake of that blessing.

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