The day was wide open before me. I had a long list of things I hoped to accomplish on my one day off that didn’t include a doctor’s appointment, chemotherapy infusion, patients to see in my office, track practice or meet, church committee meeting, or meet up with one of the women I mentor. I was excited with anticipation of all I could get done.
I allowed myself the luxury of pressing the “snooze” button on my alarm a couple of times that morning since the tasks to get done that day were not scheduled at specific times. Still, I somehow felt like I “ran behind.” Do you ever feel that way?
Showered and dressed, bed made, I sat legs-crossed in my sitting area over-stuffed chair ready for my time with the Lord. My Bible fallen open on my lap, I turned to the passage for the day’s reading. But first, I opened in prayer.
As I laid my heart before the Lord, the unwritten agenda for the day intruded. Blog post ideas, writing commitment deadlines, emails to return, phone calls to make, appointments to schedule, laundry to wash, groceries to be bought, prescriptions to pick up, thank you notes to write all crashed in on the solitude and serenity of my so-called “Quiet Time” with the Lord. As hard as I tried, my mind kept wandering to the never ending list of tasks screaming for my attention. It reminded me of one of my favorite stories:
“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 needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:38-42)
I love the story of Mary and Martha because I can relate to both within a single day, and in the situation I relayed above, even within the same moment. I have a Mary heart and long to sit at the feet of Jesus talking with Him and learning about the things of the kingdom. Yet simultaneously, I possess a built-in Martha personality, wired to do and to accomplish and to make things happen. Both characteristics struggle for equal expression.
I love how scripture relays that Martha was doing what she “had to do.” It communicates that Martha wasn’t wrong for doing those things, but rather it was her stressing and worrying that got her in trouble with Jesus. Good for me to remember and to keep that in perspective!
In my alone times when I desire my first and foremost focus to be on God, I find it helpful to have a notepad by my side for those times when I become distracted by the stresses of the things that need to get done that serve as a distraction from my intimacy with God. When the enemy can’t destroy you, he’ll do whatever he can to distract you. It was certainly working that morning. I also find repentance and thanksgiving to be very helpful as well: repentance for allowing the tasks of the day to interrupt my devotion to God, and thanksgiving that God gives me so many things to be involved in. It sort of defuses the enemy’s fire.
I love that God provided a place for both Mary and Martha, just no place for stress and worry. I can be productive and task-oriented, but I must establish my priorities, and my first thing needs to stay first: spending time in His presence. I am quite grateful that He desires that from me. It’s a gift–not a reprimand.
Because of Him, #PeacePrevails!
You can also find out more about the book, “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” below.
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)