I’m delighted to share another guest post from my friend Evangeline Rose Whitlock. One of the things people have come to appreciate about this blog is that I aim to make it very personal, and today’s post is definitely that! Evangeline is sharing today about a very intimate aspect of life, and I’m grateful for her willingness to go there with us. I pray it will encourage you as it has me. – Christy
Lord, God in heaven, thank you. Thank you for sending down your Son for me. Thank you for this day. This beautiful view. This beautiful, amazing, and inspiring city. Examine my heart and search me and try me. Test me and make me pure of spirit and pure of heart. Living honestly and completely for you. Thank you for your love – from which all other love is possible.
Now as they went on their way, he entered a village and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”
This morning begins how it has every morning since I’ve been in New York (going on three weeks). Cup of coffee, my Bible, and my journal, out on my balcony in my lovely little Queens apartment. Through the generosity of a dear friend and my job at Baylor I’m blessed to be able to stay here for a few weeks before moving out to what will become my local New York address in Jersey City. The verses I’m reading and reflecting on today were the Gospel reading in church two weeks ago. The first church service I went to this year in NY. I’ve been pondering them in my heart on and off since then, and even though much has been written about these verses already, I decided they needed to take the stage for my July post.
I’ve met someone.
I’ve met someone who I am completely crazy about and in love with and the reason I’ve been reflecting on this particular passage for the past couple weeks is largely because of him.
He points me closer to God – we direct each other’s eyes towards God – and inspire each other to be better people.
I wake up in the morning and want to pray even harder because of him. I go to sleep at night thanking God for him. Because I’ve been traveling so much we’ve been in different time zones for the past few weeks and so a lot of our communication has been via text message. He’ll send me messages that I get to read in the morning and I’ll write back messages that he won’t read until after I’m asleep. In addition to the usual talking on the phone, it’s become an interesting and valuable way to connect, to share thoughts immediately as they occur, and to stay close and grow closer even across distance.
If you know me – and as you may have gathered from my other posts on this blog – I’m constantly on the go. I wake up insanely early to run and skate. In my job as a stage manager I’m at the service and call of other people all day long. I move around and travel a lot. I play hard, I play fast, and sitting still for more than 10 minutes at a time actually takes a lot of work and effort.
So a couple weeks ago, after experiencing this gospel reading in Church, I texted him to tell him how lovely church was that night and how the Gospel reading was very appropriate to my life. He wrote back to ask me how so. My response went to him in three texts below:
It means that I get too
distracted with all the
things and neglect the one
thing that is
needed…which is to sit
Quietly in the living room
at his feet, listening. Not
distracted by all the stuff
of the kitchen, out of
earshot and too busy
All those things go away
and will be taken away
from me. But only one
thing will not (gods love)
and that is the better thing.
My natural pace is fast. Too fast, sometimes. I get anxious and worried and my pulse elevates and my blood pressure rises. I walk so fast that I trip and I don’t always pay attention to what’s around me. Last week I dropped and, as a result, shattered, my iPhone because I was just moving too fast. I was being a Martha – rushing about.
The reason I say this man points me closer to God is because he helps me be more like Mary. His natural pace is much calmer. Slower. Easier and even. When I walk with him I am forced to slow down. It’s hard for me – but I love every second of it.
Usually when I’m on a project like the one I’m on now, I wake up in the morning and I tend to jump right into work. I open my computer and I check my email and I get going with all the “stuff” I have to do that day. All the “things” about my life I feel like I need to focus on.
Lately, I’ve been changing that routine. Rather than go directly to my computer I go immediately to my balcony – and I sit outside and enjoy the quiet of the city in the morning. Go immediately to prayers of gratitude. Open my Bible and find nourishment in God’s word. Reflect on what He is teaching me that day.
And then I get to share my thoughts with this man, who points me ever closer to God. Who helps me recognize, as Mary did, “the one thing that is needful.”
That one thing – God’s love – can’t be taken away from me. And not only can it not be taken away from me, but from that love more love grows.
If you live at a pace of life like mine, I challenge you to make a change. Try committing to just two minutes of prayer and reflection before you open your laptop and get started for the day. If you can’t do two, just one. I guarantee that one minute will grow to two which will continue to grow until you find yourself wanting to rise earlier so you have more time to spend with God. And make sure the people you love know just how much you love them.