“To Do” vs. “To Be”
On any given day, you could come to my home and find a “To Do” list. I sometimes base how my day has gone on whether or not this list is completed. A few months ago I was reading Jennifer Rothschild’s Bible study on Hosea. In it she challenged her readers to make a “To Be” list. This made me really start to evaluate what my priorities should be in my daily life.
The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 is a familiar story to most of us women. The struggle is real…being still before the Lord.
There is always something to be done, and I can be like Martha who was distracted by many things. She invited Jesus into her home, which is good, but then the Bible tells us in verse 40 that she was “distracted with much serving” and got upset at her sister Mary who was sitting at His feet listening and not helping. As a stay-at-home mom, I have had several struggles, and one of them is being still before Him and not being distracted by what I think I need to accomplish with my day for it to be “successful.” I have guilt for not getting my list done, and some days my Martha-heart wins but my Mary-heart is crying out for me to spend time with the Lord.
“To Do” lists are not bad, but if they replace being with the Lord because we stay so busy that we do not stop to do the most important thing – be with the Lord – then our busyness becomes a sin.
What does a “To Be” list look like? It is spending time confessing and allowing the Lord to cleanse me from the sins that so easily entangle me (1 Jn 1: 9; Heb 12:1). It is taking time to worship God for who He is, reading His Word and allowing it to transform my mind (Rom 12:1-2). It is spending time in prayer (Phil 4), and meditating on His word (Ps 1:1-3; Ps 19:14; Ps 119:15-16). It is simply sitting at His feet like Mary and choosing Him over the busyness of this world.
When I have aligned myself with the Lord, He is then able to guide me to what is most important for His kingdom that day. Maybe it will include checking off the “To Do’s” on my list, or maybe it will be spending much of my day in His Word and praying. I am about His business, and in the process, He helps me to be sensitive to what is most important.
In the story of Mary and Martha, Jesus said, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (v. 42). What do you allow to take your time that you could give up to allow time to be spent with Jesus? A few weeks ago I fasted from Facebook. I did not realize until then how much I looked at it. What about TV, reading books, or other things that distract us from being with the Lord?
As a wife and mother, I see how my influence over my family is important. If I am not spending time with the Lord and being changed by Him, then my family is affected. It is so important to make sure we refuel and renew every day so that our influence is one of godliness and not of worldliness or selfishness!
What matters in the end is not that everything on our “To Do” lists is checked off, but that we truly spent time investing in what matters most…being with Jesus.
Lord, please give us a heart that above all desires to spend time with You. I pray that even if my “To Do” list is not accomplished, my “To Be” list is accomplished every day.