Faith, Personal Growth

Day 23: The Distracting To-Do List of a Do-er

Easter 2013: Many lists and preparations and to-dos go into hosting family over the holidays
Easter 2013: Many lists and preparations and to-dos go into hosting family over the holidays

Mistaken Identity #5: By what I do, I am what I am.

Opening the door with a hospitable smile, she welcomed the guests into her home. She had been planning for this day. But time had run out.  And here they were, knocking at the door. And the meal still not yet ready.

They must be starving, these traveling disciples and her Jesus. She should have gotten up earlier. She should have planned more succinctly. She was embarrassed that everything was not in its place, displayed with grandeur. She was frustrated with herself because she revelled in her capabilities and the admiration that came with her work.

What would they think of her being this unprepared and scurrying about?

Surely, her sister Mary would get a clue and know the importance of all this. Surely, Mary would follow her into the kitchen and help with the remaining preparation. Surely.

But, there were no footsteps pattering behind her as she seated her guests and made her way to prepare the rest of the meal. Her frustration and anger grew as she heard Mary talking and even laughing (the nerve!) with Jesus.  She caught a glimpse of Mary…sitting down!  Sitting down of all things! When her own two feet throbbed.

She would have loved to sit down and rest a bit to talk with Jesus.  But then, who would fix the meal? She was always the one who did all the work. She was always the one that thought ahead and planned. Where would they all be without her?

She couldn’t stand it any longer and burst into the room, fiery darts hurling at her sister. With words dipped in judgment and condemnation, she directed her question towards Jesus, not Mary, as if she wanted to expose Mary for the lazy host that she was.

“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to DO the work BY MYSELF!  Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40)

Much to her surprise, Jesus didn’t turn to address Mary. Instead, He directed those all-knowing eyes directly towards her. With compassion, he riddled her heart (and mine) with this prioritizing truth:

“You are so worried and upset about so many things. But only ONE THING is needed. and Mary has chosen better.” (Luke 10:41-42)

Amidst all her numbered and sequenced to-dos, the one thing of most importance wasn’t even on her list: stop and listen to Jesus.

When my identity is based on what I do, I am always on the mission to prove who I am.  And I hold you to my same standard of doing.

Remember, I am what I am by God’s grace over me. I am not equated by the things I check off.  I do not gain value by my level of productivity. My worth is not measured by others’ admiration.

Try this…take five minutes and do nothing. Even if it is in a pile of clean clothes waiting to be folded. Or if there are dishes still in the sink or crumbs on the floor. Set a timer. Sit. Stop moving. And listen, “You are loved.”


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This post is a part of a 31 day series. Find other 31 Dayers at The Nester’s.