In addition to my quiet times with the Lord recently, I've been reading the book, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver. It's been excellent so far--very, very good--but I haven't finished it yet, so I can't whole-heartedly endorse it until I've read it in it's entirety. But something I read recently was a real help, and I wanted to share it with all of my frazzled-mom-friends especially...but it's good for anyone who's not a mom, too, just busy with things older than 8! :-) Yes...it's a very long post...probably my longest yet, but it's only a page and a half from the book...so look at it that way...it's only a bit more than a page in a book (a book without pictures, mind you, but only a page or so nonetheless!) And well worth the time!
"Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
My thirty-something birthday had dawned bright and busy. Tucked into a pile of bills and credit card applications I found a card sent from my friend, Janet McHenry. The message inside wished me a “Hoopy Birthday,” and that made me smile, but the picture on the front was what really grabbed my attention. It illustrated everything I’d been feeling that dreary, getting older day.
“That’s me,” I said to my husband, poking at the black and white glossy.
Taken back in the early 1950’s, the photo showed a young woman in Greta Garbo shorts with eight or nine hula hoops swinging madly around her waist. “How does she do that?” I wanted to know.
It had been a frustrating day of too many responsibilities and not enough of me to go around. One by one, I named the Hula-Hoops I had been trying to keep in motion: wife, mother, pastor’s wife, friend, writer, piano instructor, cook, cleaning lady, and the big one—Little League mother. If we weren’t racing to baseball games, we were rushing to church; if I wasn’t folding laundry, I was stealing a few minutes to write.
“That’s me!” I laughed. I made exaggerated motions with my hips, trying to keep my invisible hoops afloat. My eyes darted from the photo to my husband’s concerned face then back again. “That’s me!”
After a few cups of chamomile tea and some chocolate chip sedatives—I mean, cookies—I calmed down and read my friend’s letter while my husband ran our kids to yet another ball game. Chatty and full of humor, Janet shared her hectic schedule and the things the Lord had been teaching her.
I finished the letter, closed the card and looked once more at the girl on the front. There were so many hoops, but she appeared calm. Her upper body seemed to be perfectly still, her arms outstretched slightly, as the hoops raced around her waist in synchronized chaos.
Her face captured me. Looking straight into the camera, she smiled peacefully as though she hadn’t a care in the world.
Then it dawned on me—I saw her secret. “She found a rhythm,” I whispered to myself. “She established her center, and then let everything move around that.”
That’s exactly what I wasn’t doing in my life. All the things I’d been trying to accomplish were important, but I had lost my center. Busy being busy, I’d forgotten to tend to my inner self, the spiritual me. Like a wheel without an axle, I’d careened through life, bouncing off one duty and onto another.
If there was adequate pause, I’d spend some time with the Lord. But lately, more often than not, my busy days had slipped by without a quiet time. And my life was revealing what my spirit had missed.
“Teach me, Lord. Show me the rhythm of life,” I found myself praying.
“Be my center.”
Life is filled with Hula-hoops. We all have responsibilities, important things that need our attention. If we’re not careful, however, our hearts and our minds can be consumed with the task of keeping them in the air. Rather than centering ourselves in Christ and letting the other elements of our lives take their rightful place around that center, we end up shifting our attention from one important to-do item to another, frantically trying to keep them all in motion.
It’s easy to forget that while there is a time to work, there is also a time to worship—and it’s the worship, the time we spend with God, that provides the serene center to a busy, complex life."
(Taken from "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver pp 99-100 Waterbrook Press)