I think we all long to be Mary, choosing the better part (Luke 10:38-42). We long for her intimacy and sweet trust in Jesus. We long for the release and rest found in leaning our head on Jesus’ knee. But our inner Martha (or perhaps our outer Martha!) gets in the way. How do we choose the better part? It begins, I think, in realizing that in order to be filled with Jesus (Ephesians 4:11-13, Colossians 1:19, 2:9, John 1:16), we must first empty ourselves and our “junk” out. This is not just one more plate to add to our already crazy assortment of spinning plates! We must let go of what is lesser and sinful to make room for what is inexpressibly more – for what is eternal.
Not sure what exactly to let go of? The Bible has much to say. Here is a short list
I must let go of…
Bitterness, anger, and complaining about what others have done to me.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. ~ Ephesians 4:31
There are some (perhaps many) things I cannot understand “why” – I can only trust in a God who loves us.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
My need to know the plan. My need to HOLD the plan
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ~ James 4:7
My worries, anxieties, stresses
Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ~ Philippians 4:6
Although it is good to share our hurt and sorrow with both God and our loved ones, we often mistake sharing burdens with petty venting. Deep down, we know the difference because shallow venting doesn’t make me feel better as much as I think it does.
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. ~ Proverbs 29:11
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger ~ Ephesians 4:26
My mask of perfection
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. ~ Proverbs 28:13
My false sense of importance.
God is the one who needs glory, recognition, and it is HIS will that should take precedence, not mine
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” ~ Psalm 46:10
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-9
The cares of my heart.
He wants to carry them with me. God knows everything – which means he intimately knows what the cares of my heart are and can give exactly the balm it needs.
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. ~ Psalm 94:19
Being able to do all the things all at once.
God in His wisdom made seasons of time for us. He is the only One who can do everything all at once…
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Anything that weighs us down from our eternal goal.
After all, why are we running? If we are focused on getting to heaven, we will learn to drop everything else in exchange for the one real thing.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:1-2