Here a Blog, There a Blog 2

I love to read. Do you? Several months ago I shared some of the blogs I follow. See the list here.

I heard back from quite a few of you and know you’re now following those awesome bloggers with me. Apparently I’m a collector, because I’ve “collected” some more wonderful blogs. Read on! 

Happy Reading, Friends! Feel free to promote your own favorite blogs in the comments. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

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Mary or Martha?

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV)

As I read and reread Luke 10 it seems that Jesus is teaching me how to treat others, how to best use my time (and energy and attention and resources), and how to bless and serve him best. And I’ll admit it. Deep breath. I’m a Martha. I understand my God made me with this personality and there are many blessings to being this way. I am a ridiculously task-oriented person, driven to accomplish everything on my to-do list in record time. I get a lot done. I follow through on things. My house is usually company ready. My Christmas cards always go out early and my gifts are usually wrapped by Thanksgiving. I always have a project (or seven).  However, slowly and surely, I am starting to see the wisdom and the blessing of embracing the Mary way of life. And I’m trying. Truly. Some days I’m even succeeding. 

The more I grow, the more I realize it’s all about loving people. It’s not about a squeaky clean house, being two weeks ahead at school, or about having ALL of my piles dealt with. Oh, if you knew how my mind screams in rebellion at that last sentence. Yeah, I’m still growing. (Sigh.)  God’s girls keep growing and seeking His face, right? 

An elderly neighbor chats with me at the mailbox after a long day of teaching and before a long night of grading, cleaning, and the like. I flick away the annoyance that creeps in and I choose to love and live in the moment. (I now call it loving in the moment!)  God is good and He lovingly, patiently continues to help me choose to act like Mary more often than like Martha. 

A friend calls, needing to talk about her kiddos. My sweet friend is raising teenagers alone and they are making questionable choices. Again. Sigh. Housework can wait. Martha is shoved aside. 

A coworker stops by to vent and then brainstorm ways to deal with a particularly challenging child we share. If she hadn’t appeared at my door, I could’ve finished for the day and been home earlyish. I showed Martha the door and asked my colleague to come and sit with me. 

My hubby wants to run over to a nearby lake and play. This will take all day. So much for finishing my projects.  Martha bites the dust once again. 

You see the point. In every instance I reluctantly chose the Mary way. I believe I chose correctly, but it wasn’t easy for me. At all. It was worth it, though. My sweet neighbor lost her husband and needs human contact. My precious friend needs a sounding board. My awesome coworker needed validation and a fresh perspective. My loving husband, an endlessly patient man who well understands my Martha nature, deserves fun. And I, hot mess that I am, needed the reminders that people matter more than my to do lists. You know the saying, “And so it goes”? Well, in my life it’s become, “And so I grow!”. 

 I’d love to hear from the other Marthas (and a Mary or two) out there! As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

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Every Yes Requires a No

Like many of you, I’m constantly juggling my goals, dreams, and endless to-dos.  It’s a challenge, but a worthy one.  And it occurs to me-once again- that every yes in my life requires a no. I’m sure I realized it sooner, but the first time it was very clear and very hard for me was when I married my sweet Jeff. I loved him, but I was afraid. (You can read more about my first marriage here or about my marriage to Jeff here.) I had built a very nice life without a husband. I had great friends. I traveled. I had hobbies I passionately pursued.  I had a satisfying career and a darling apartment, my very first home as a single adult. Life was good. Then came Jeff. I was crazy about him, but still I feared change. Saying yes to him, to our new home, to Team Clarke meant saying no to Self, to my apartment, to Team Me. Acknowledging the fact that every yes in my life involves a no was quite an eye opener. Sometimes my No is to time-sucks and selfishness. And sometimes my No is to other Good things. It’s all about choices isn’t it?

This isn’t something I’ve completely conquered. It’s a process.  Here are some of my current battles … I mean… choices.  I don’t choose the right Yes every time. In fact, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear me yelling, “Ouch!” as you read through this list. 

  • Yes to Quiet Time with God first thing  = No to iPad first thing
  • Yes to talking to my family= No to texting friends 
  • Yes to lunch with a friend = No to finishing the laundry today
  • Yes to exercise = No to watching TV
  • Yes to friends who lift me up = No to friends who bring me down
  • Yes to eating for fuel = No to mindless eating 
  • Yes to kindness and mercy = No to selfish, unforgiving behavior 
  • Yes to giving money = No to buying junk
  • Yes to being happy for others = No to petty jealousy
  • Yes to visiting with Hubby = No to watching Castle reruns
  • Yes to prayer = No to worry
  • Yes to prayer = No to gossip  
  • Yes to transparency = No to being fake
  • Yes to sleep = No to staring at my iPhone 
  • Yes to real food = No to processed food
  • Yes to compassion = No to judging 
  • Yes to real people = No to social media and TV
  • Yes to only buying things I need or absolutely love = No to wasting money 
  • Yes to silliness = No to taking everything so seriously

Oh my. I could go on and on, but that rather exhausted me. Did you hear the squealing? Dying to self and living in Christ isn’t easy, but it’s the best Yes God’s girls will ever choose. I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”  

Matthew 16:24 (NLT)

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

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