Day Six: Meditation
Written by Ryan Gernard
I’m In Over My Head
“As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen.” –Luke 10 (MSG)
For many of us, Martha pretty much sums up the busyness of our modern lives. We desire to be great and generous hosts, we try to invest in our family and friends, and we long to be connected to God. So, we share hope with a stranger. We give our children support. We share guidance with a friend. We pause to recognize God’s presence and blessings. But all the while, we are neck deep in commitments, consumed with organizing, parenting, scheduling, financing, and showing up on time…it is hard to even recognize our next highest priority. Most of us are simply trying to stay afloat.
Looking back to the scripture, the difference in the way Luke describes Mary’s and Martha’s attitudes around Jesus reveals something profound.
I sometimes share a common trait with Martha, duplicity in actions and focus. Duplicity is a doubleness in thought, speech, or action; a state-of-being where our mind is split, fragmented, and disjointed. The New Testament author, James, describes double minded behavior like, “the waves of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”
Martha, like many of us in our busy modern world, lived in duplicity. While Jesus was in her home and teaching and encouraging them, she instead was dealing with busy details and solving problems. Missing the opportunity to focus on Christ who could bring her peace. Further in the story, she continued getting more frustrated with her sister Mary who was not helping in the kitchen; she even told Jesus how he ought to solve the problem.
You are not alone in feeling as if you’re in over your head. It seems that the busier we are, the more overwhelmed we are, and the less focused we are, the more likely we are to feel as if we know what is right and what needs to be done without a clear understanding.
We lack clarity because we lack focus.
Mary, you see, had chosen a place at Jesus’ feet.
She hungered after every word her Master said. Mary had invested a single focus upon her Lord. “The Master said, ‘Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.’” –Luke 10 (MSG)
How do I get that? How do I find peace surrounded in chaos? How do I not get burdened by the dishes, the errands, and the pick-up schedules? How do I “choose” what Mary had when she was able to literally sit at Jesus’ feet. I want that! I think deep down, we all want that.
I could be wrong, but I believe the answer is in the beauty of simplicity…not duplicity.
What if we were to focus first and foremost upon Jesus? Meditating upon his words, his life, his actions, his encounters, his lifestyle, and his sacrifices. What if his story were fully revealed before us; would it be transformative in every part of our being?
As a younger man, and yet still today, I recognize extreme differences between the days where I am sitting at Jesus’ feet and the days where I am focused on anything else. When my focus is not on Jesus, I struggle with peace, I feel out of place in my skin and in my world, and I make decisions that prioritize self over caring for others.
When we focus first on Jesus, we will learn to live and react like Jesus. When we seek to understand his compassion and mercy, it will influence our every moment. His peace will create order in our mess. And then we will be overwhelmed in a whole new way, overcome in hope and joy. Our Creator and Master; will extend a love and grace so deep that we will find ourselves right where he wants us to be…in over our heads.
From the song “Over My Head (Crash Over Me)” by John-Paul Gentile/Jenn Louise Johnson
I’m standing knee deep but I’m out where I’ve never been
I feel You coming and I hear Your voice on the wind
Would you come and tear down the boxes that I have tried to put You in
Let love come teach me who You are again
Would you take me back to the place where my heart was only about You
And all I wanted was just to be with You
Come and do whatever You want to
And further and further my heart moves away from the shore
Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am Yours
And whether I sink, whether I swim
It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head
Write This Way: What are things that cause “duplicity” in your life? What do you need to do to get the beauty of simplicity in your focus on Jesus?
About the Author:
Since 2005, Ryan Gernand has worked for Impact 2818, a multisite Christian camping ministry in Indiana, where he oversees three of the camp’s operations and programming, leads marketing and communication efforts for all seven sites, and works on fundraising and development initiatives. Prior to camping, he served as a youth worker for seven years. Ryan and his wife Kelsey lead Yorktown Connect, an after-school Christian ministry for fourth and fifth graders. Their goal is to raise their children to become counter-cultural reflections of Jesus Christ. The Gernand’s joined the Commonway family in in 2018.