It’s been a while since I have paused and carved out a moment to myself to write and reflect upon this whirlwind of a season. There haven’t been any new revelations buzzing around in my head and maybe that is the outcome of a terribly busy period where no thought has had the possibility to take off and propel me onto my keyboard. I keep waiting for a convicting message or something that I deem valuable to share but I have been running a blank more often than not. I suppose the latest grapple has been nothing more than an attempt to understand the fine-tipped line between a healthy rhythm to the weeks and the exhausted flame that is trying to stay lit. This weekend was the halt I needed to be ok with stopping, breathing and readying myself for this last push of the year.
I feel a sense of guilt each and every time someone asks me how my first year of teaching has been. I answer in a light oxymoron because I am in a battle with how I truly feel. “It’s good, but it is very busy, but I love it,” I say. In and around the day, it is good; I feel fulfilled in my work, in my relationships, and before the Lord, all is well. Each time someone asks me how I am, I let out a deep sigh of reflection as I don’t feel as though I have time to think about that question myself. In a breath, I love the situations I have been purposefully placed in, but on the inhale I am grasping for the slightest amount of air that will settle the anxiety in and around these running days. The term “busy” sums up the million little thoughts whirling around in my mind and the unstoppable week that is upon me but doesn’t come off as threatening as “surviving, drowning, exhausted”. I often feel like I am living for Saturday morning. I strongly crave the added sleep, the slower sips of dark roast coffee and the few moments where everything is silent and still. It is a coveted time in the Connor household where the agenda is null aside from breakfast foods and simple conversation. We try not to let anything interfere with our precious Saturday mornings as it is the only time where we feel perfectly content with doing nothing and procrastinating weekend chores. We successfully passed through the work week relatively unharmed and can stop before it all begins again. I often think that it shouldn’t be this way. I shouldn’t feel that my week is just a level I need to pass before I can reach the Saturday checkpoint. Even worse, I feel like summer vacation is the goal and the rest is all just something in my way. How much more would I want to live for the weekdays if I could replace my tiredness with purpose? The thing is, I can already understand the purpose I carefully prayed over before this year began, I just can’t shake the exhaustion that it comes with.
Maybe you’re thinking it’s simple, just cut down on what you do but I believe that if you really evaluate your own agenda you would find yourself in the same place as I am. Now I won’t go on to share all my involved activities and muses throughout the week, as everyone has a different threshold of what they can maintain until they crack. The problem for me and perhaps for you too is that I love what I do. I have found a career where little elementary personalities make me laugh more often than not. I get to serve in ministry alongside my favorite people, including my husband. Finally, I get to take back second base in the sport I have invested in since the ripe age of five. All of these things are good things and on top of all this, I leave all these events and jobs with a joy-filled heart. But then I have to bring it back to the fact that being busy is not a badge of honour. Sure I feel purposefully placed in each position I hold but then I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha and my focus shifts once again.
As described in Luke, there is a day where Mary and Martha hosted Jesus in their home. Martha was whizzing around in an attempt to serve Jesus and show him her devout hospitality. It’s believed she was working on preparing him a meal, something she felt was out of the goodness of her heart. Mary, on the other hand, bearing no help in the kitchen, took her place at the feet of Jesus to simply listen to him speak. They both had the same opportunity to be close to Jesus, but their approaches differed. Martha took a moment to scold her sister in front of Jesus due to her lack of hospitality, a response I can see coming from my mouth when I feel like I am managing my overloaded plate on my own. When I survey my own daily life, I can connect with Martha on more than one level. My response to his beautifully gifted salvation is through my actions and perhaps that right there is the reason why the convictions are running dry and my energy is flat. In fact, if we read further, we see Jesus stating to Martha that Mary made the better choice. Mary’s decision to forgo service to be still before Jesus was looked upon with gladness from the thrown and with a scoff from her sister. Isn’t that exactly how we see others and maybe even ourselves? We toss judgment towards the sitters and praise the doers, but we have it somewhat twisted. We need to be still so that we can be guided into action. Jesus didn’t condemn Martha’s work, but rather told her the better of the two. So maybe there is more to come of our ministry if we carved out meaningful moments of seating ourselves before the King and waiting for him to speak. In a culture so fixated on what we can do, achieve and demonstrate to others, Jesus tells us that sitting with eyes on Him is the preferred choice. This should radically change the way we view our schedules, and if we ignore His Word then we will end up burnt out with nothing to give away. We should be prioritizing intentional stillness over our set schedules because it is only Jesus who can provide for us; and moreover, provide us jobs and activities to serve in.
As the weekend closes, I would be lying if I said I am now fully set to start my week. The week doesn’t stop and nor does the hums that go along with being a first-year teacher. I continue to appreciate my slow Saturday mornings but am realizing that I need to create those throughout the week as well. The moments of stillness are there for good reason and they serve a stronger purpose than my to-do lists. My official wind down will arrive June 25th and my intentions for this final push is to do less of the “pushing” and more of the “being” in the presence of the One who allows me to do the serving that brings me joy. So readers, here’s to starting the week fueled up and ready to rest.