Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Balancing Work and Worship - Mary Heart / Martha World [Week 11]

Jesus was the most balanced individual the world has ever known. In fact, that is part of why he came - to show us how to manage the tricky balance between work and worship, between what we do and what we are. [pg. 176]

Every time I read this chapter, it settles deeper and deeper into my thinking.

Of all the chapters, I believe this is one of the most important because here Joanna discusses what having a Mary Heart in a Martha World might actually look like.... practically speaking.

She points out that although we may think this is achieved through a tricking balancing act - trying to hit that perfect but small target.....

The act of balancing work and worship is a constant back and forth. Our days should encompass both duty and devotion.

.....the balance between Living Room Service and Kitchen Service more often resembles the up-and-down, back-and-forth motion of the teeter totter than it does that fleeting moment of synchronicity. [pg. 181]

Some days it is hard to know which is up. A day can get started and before I know it, it is almost done.  There was no back and forth between work and worship, in fact I wonder if I was even on the teeter totter to begin with.

I really like the Balance Checklist Joanna includes on pg. 182 and 183. I have used that several times to assess which end of my teeter totter should be in the air.

But of all the things Joanna writes in this book, the most impactful thing for me was the section on Sabbath Rest.

Josh and I have been church goers our whole marriage. After reading Joanna's three aspects of Sabbath-keeping, I realized that although we went to church on Sundays - it had very little to do with the Sabbath.

First, the Sabbath needs to be different. [pg.185]

For us, Sundays weren't really different than any other day of the week.....except that they were more stressful.

We were not treating Sunday as a much needed day of rest - for us it was a catch up day.  Every weekend, we try to prepare so that Sundays can be restful.

It is still hard with our two boys to try and settle in to the day so that we can rest, but we know that in order for the remaining days of the week to have a chance at balanced work and worship - we must purposefully put this time aside.

One thing that is a daily choice for me is to hand it all over to Jesus - I work so hard to operate out of my own strength and wisdom......thankfully, there is grace.

The secret to balancing worship and work, devotion and service, love of God and love of people is maintaining our connection to Jesus Christ. [pg. 190]

This week we are called to once again to connect with Jesus through God's word and prayer - this time seeking His balance for our lives. Let's be intentional about stopping the balancing ACT and work toward moving back and forth between work and worship.

Let's talk about it.....

If you feel led, please comment below. We will focus on this chapter all week, so please jump in any day you find time. Also, please feel free to respond to others who have commented, let us encourage each other.

What spoke most to you from this chapter?

I look forward to hearing form you :)

- brook.

* All quotes mentioned above are noted by page number and are taken from 'Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World' by Joanna Weaver.

** Find out more about Joanna's ministry and how to purchase her books here.

1 comment :

  1. I am so glad that Joanna wrote that Luke's story of Mary and Martha is between the Good Samaritan and the Lord's Prayer. I like how she puts that one story deals with our relationship with people, how to serve, come together with others unlike us, etc. and the other story with deals with God, how to pray and how to come together with God. Joanna write, "Our relationship with him is the fulcrum, the anchor, the steadying point that makes balance possible in the first place. And the deeper that relationship goes, the more stable the balance will be." I love the idea of a teeter-totter here:

    [_serving others/ practical/duties___^Jesus as fulcrum^____prayer/spiritual/devotion_]

    It makes sense. The more you do work for the Lord, the more you want to pray to Him because you learn about the weaknesses of others. Also, the more you are in the Word, the more you want to do for his kingdom by serving. I have found this to be true. You can get so discouraged with others, if you are doing tons of serving, and not simply replenishing yourself with God. I have found a lot more balance with this in the last few years. One of the moments that has had the most impact in my life was when I kept hearing God tell me to serve, but I was afraid, so I kept putting it off, and then when I did start serving, it opened up a whole new confidence and peace that I was missing before.

    You have to find where you want to serve God. Maybe it is missions overseas, maybe it is in a food bank, maybe it is at your church with adults, kids, etc. If it is a constant struggle, then just try something else. You will be pushed past your comfort zone but that is where you grow also. I felt drained when I was forced to lead an adult Bible study group at a moment's notice, but if I am working with children or have time to prepare, then I can find that balance and not feel overwhelmed. You have to find your strengths when serving.

    In terms of the Sabbath or setting aside a day of rest, our family really found balance when we started making Sunday our rest day filled with the Lord. We took back our rest day a few years ago when the girls started going to Awanas on Sunday nights. Our schedule now is church in the morning, lunch, a big family nap and then Awanas/church at night. Now people make fun of us and poo-poo our choice to nap and it is tempting to do something else fun during that time, but it keeps us rested and ready for the week. It is important for me to get up early and start my Sundays with the Lord before all of the other stuff comes crashing in and all you are thinking about are those things during church. The time between lunch and Awanas is time well spent snuggling with the girls, going over scriptures, encouraging and helping them focus on learning about God more, and then just resting through sleep. I go pretty hard working out all week and I know I need it and it makes a huge difference in their attitudes as well. People act like we are crazy but it is actually a discipline to physically and mentally rest once a week, when of course you could be doing other things. I believe God doesn't want us to be so drained that we don't want to give of ourselves and that is why "a ceasing of labor" day is important to me.

    I just love this book and I hate that it is coming to a close soon. Thank you Brook for starting this up and getting continuing on week after week!!