Live for TODAY

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” 

― Bill Watterson

Y’all, it’s taken me four decades to learn this lesson. And when I say learn I mean I’m better than I was, I’m working on it, and some days I actually do this.  I wrote this post after a time in my life when I was making progress. Two steps forward, one step back….

I am the girl who plans lessons weeks ahead, cannot sit down and enjoy the movie with her husband because she’s doing x, y, or z in order to make tomorrow easier. I’m the one who has missed the moment, and tried to enjoy it afterwards. And I am wrong. I’m all kinds of wrong. 

I remember a few years ago when my mom had a heart attack. It was the end of the school year. I was spending long days at the hospital, calling and texting family with updates, running up to school to clean up, leave  more substitute plans, and pack up my room for summer break. Three great things came out of that season.  (1) Praise the Lord, my mom is fine. (2) I learned to accept genuine offers of help. (3) And I had to start taking one day at a time. For the first time in my life, I looked at the day’s events and not into the next day, next week, or next month. This wasn’t because I finally understood the wisdom of living in the moment. Rather, it was the only way I could survive the avalanche of emotions and things screaming to be done at home and at work. I vividly recall walking down the hall of the hospital’s third floor with my head down.  I’d left my mom in CCU in order to grab a sandwich. As I walked, I stared at the tiles on the floor, forcing myself to look at the next hour only and what needed to be done. It was a battle! 

As the years have passed, I’ve lost that lesson. I want it back! 

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  Matthew 6:31-34 ESV (emphasis mine) 

It’s always wise to turn to The Word,  isn’t it? 

My October to-do list is ridiculous. . Feeling overwhelmed, I’m turning to God and He is graciously reminding me to look at today and what needs to be accomplished today. Tomorrow I will worry about tomorrow. My mind rebels, but I know this is the way to live. Deep breath. Okay, Lord, here we go. 

How do you deal with your busy life? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 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! 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

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