Her words made me squirm. It wasn’t the first time I had heard that truth – I had been told that same thing since birth. But here and now, sitting in a busy café over half-eaten brunch, it completely took me off guard. My mentor leaned over her cold cup of coffee, looking me straight in the eye, and said:
“You need to know that God loves you. And there is nothing you can do and no amount you can serve that will make him love you more… or less.”
I squirmed. She continued.
“His love is completely, irrevocably unconditional. And you need to learn to just receive that – stop with all the busyness and just accept his love. ”
By this point, I was visibly twitching.
“But… but what good would I be to God if I stopped serving him?” I blurted out, before slapping my hand over my mouth. Did that really just come out of my mouth?!
I read Ephesians, I know that I can’t earn God’s love. So when did I forget that? When did what I do become more of a priority that who He is? When did my life with Christ become more like a To Do List and less like a relationship? It’s such a basic truth to the Christian life, how am I back here again?
As if that wasn’t enough of a wake up call from the Holy Spirit, three days later my team leader at church shared Matthew 11:28-30 as our devotion for the day.
She read it and I was convicted. Then she read it a second time…
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Now how do I do that?
The art of receiving from our Savior
In a wonder woman world
I admit, I love my wonder woman moments when I handle five crisis at once while still walking my dog, getting work turned in and managing to make a meal for the girl in my church who just had a baby. In those moments I feel invincible, proud and capable. But far too often I’ve let the world’s cry for a superwoman who can do it all (or at least look like I’m doing it all) permeate my relationship with Jesus. I’ve been doing more for Jesus and being less with Him.
I’ve become Martha… again. Focusing my efforts on many things rather than valuing the most important things: time with Jesus, who he is, what he has done, and how grateful I am for it all.
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are necessary—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:28-42
Me just being me with Him is enough.
We did not earn our salvation through works (Eph. 2:8-10), we cannot earn or increase God’s love by our service. Our God is the same God who told his rebellious people of Israel in the midst of their idolatry, that, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jer. 13:3) That is our God. The God of everlasting love, kindness and justice.
Why do we not pause all the busyness and fall on our knees in worship of our God?!
After all, worship is what he desires most from us.
Our works, our service to the church and the world, are not line items that make us more loveable to the Savior or more valuable to God. Anything we do is to be the outpouring of our acceptance, wonder and thankfulness of what God has done.
Ways to be with Jesus:
- Find a favorite park or quite place to journal prayers
- Set aside a night of the week to reread the famous Bible stories, relive what God has done
- Take a walk and praise his handiwork
- Take time to enjoy what he is doing in other’s lives
- Go for a run and spend the time praying without agenda or outline
It is past time for us busy Martha type women to stop having a relationship with a spiritual to do list or a church activity calendar and just enjoy our Savior. Receive his promises. Receive his love. Receive who he is and let that truth transform us.
The point is not to stop being spiritually disciplined or to stop giving of yourself in service (although you may need to slow down for a time), but that you start receiving. Let the serving, doing and giving be the overflow of what you have received.
“for this reason ,
I bow my knees before the Father…
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit
so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith—
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the
breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”