I was running late, as usual. I frantically put on the last of my makeup and quickly curled my hair. As I walked back and forth across my bathroom floor, I kept passing that little room we all have, and every time I glanced in, I saw it: a dirty toilet. I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill “dirty” here. I am talking about the dirtiest I have ever let it get, because I have been too busy to clean it, toilet. Suddenly this thought flooded my mind, “If you die tonight on the way to your conference, your family will be left to clean that disgusting toilet. Is that really the last inadvertent message you want to leave to your family?” I was ridden with guilt and immediately took the time to clean that toilet, and it sparkled like new. Four minutes was all it took. Such a simple task that I had put off because I just didn’t have the time. It had never landed as the most urgent on my task list.
We rush through life, as it is often said. We read quotes on the walls of people’s homes about slowing down, we say we will, but usually we don’t. Instead, we continue to add to the stress of life with more activities, more commitments, more yes’s and less no’s. As I faced that ten-second decision in my bathroom, I literally pondered about what my children would think of me because of that toilet. Would they think I didn’t care about their health? Would they think I was lazy? What type of message would I have sent if my bathroom had spoken my final words as a mother, as a wife, as a woman?
I will tell you what it would have said: You haven’t the time to take care of the parts that others don’t see. Ouch.
The point in all of this isn’t the cleanliness of my bathroom, although I am almost sure I will have one or two of you show up on my doorstep with a cleaning bucket in hand tomorrow morning (in which case I will gladly accept you with open arms). However, the Lord has been pressing on my heart this matter of busyness.
We have all heard the story of Mary and Martha, but let’s read the end of it once more:
“But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:41-42 ESV
When we are busy, it isn’t always bad. I can honestly say that all the things currently on my plate are all things I gladly welcome. They are full of people and things I adore and deeply love and care for. Some of them are my family. Some of them are my ministry callings and duties outside of church. Some of them are even my passions, or giftings that the Lord has stretched over the years. However, amongst all the good is this real desire to find, “Lord, what is the better portion?”
During different times in my life, the Lord has asked me to lay things down that I didn’t want to lay down at all. I wanted to hold on to them so tightly because I loved them, but it wasn’t what He wanted for me. In the midst of that spiritual struggle, the Lord shows us His will. He shows us His desires for our lives, and often times He puts things on hold that we say, “But Lord I love that thing! I want that thing so badly; don’t you know that?” Yet, it is only in the quiet that we can truly hear His voice.
“The He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12 NKJV
Just as Elijah heard the still small voice of God, so must we. However, if our life is constantly full of noise, it leaves the Holy Spirit of God quenched and restrained in His desire to lead us in the way everlasting. He cannot lead us to the better portion because we cannot hear His voice. In my busyness, I must stop. I must have quiet moments with the Lord, and I must make that a priority. I must let Him speak to the inner depths of my heart, as well as the practical trials I face daily. If I do not do this, it is then that the inner parts of my heart and in my life begin to look like that filthy toilet I had so often passed by, and this will pour out into every other aspect of my life.
That same weekend my eight-year-old was the first to finish her chores, and as I sat on my phone mindlessly trolling the internet, she quietly asked me, “Mom, will you please play a game with me?” My heart flinched and in my mind I thought, “Child, do you not see Mommy relaxing, do you know what my life is like?” It was then that the Holy Spirit quietly whispered, “It’s just a game, play the game.” I played the game, and it was the most fun I have had all week. I just had to stop, be still, and listen to the Holy Spirit guide me in what was the better portion. In that moment, it was the best portion of all.
By: Sarah Russler
-What is the Lord speaking to you in terms of your busyness, and are you making the best use of your time?
-What are some things in your daily schedule that you need to lay down to the Lord? Pray and ask the Lord what He desires for your time to be used for.