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Checked Off and Checked Out

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If you’re like me, every time the New Year rolls around, you make a beautifully organized list of the to-dos you want to accomplish for the year to come. Most of which are overflow from the previous year and year before that and are accompanied with a few new ones to fill the spaces of the ones completed. It seems to be the one time of year that I really focus on what I am doing with my life and what I want to accomplish. Maybe it’s because I can’t turn on the T.V. or get on any type of social media without hearing or seeing the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions.” My lists are always filled with things I want to do, places I want to travel and, of course, things that I think God wants me to accomplish.

But a few years ago, while looking at my list from the previous year and checking off more boxes than I ever had, instead of feeling accomplished I felt a sense of exhaustion and emptiness. Staring back at me was a beautifully completed list any achiever would and should be proud of, but inside my heart was a complete mess. A mess because I had so many lists to check and places to go and people to meet with that there was never any time for God. I was so busy doing the “things of God” that there wasn’t any space left on the calendar for God. The things that I thought would satisfy my desire to please the Lord ultimately became the things that pulled me away from Him. The list was being checked off but I desired to check out.

I was so busy doing the “things of God” that there wasn’t any space left on the calendar for God.

I was burnt out, fed up and ready to throw in the towel. My life was so filled up with wonderful things that I thought I couldn’t say no to, yet the one thing that got erased was my time and relationship with the Lord. I was removing the one thing that could truly fill my emptiness back up and the most difficult part was that I couldn’t even see. It wasn’t until a wonderful friend sat me down, told me to pull out my calendar and asked me to show her where God was scheduled into this jammed packed mess of multicolored ink and I couldn’t. She asked me how my heart was and to not give her the answer I thought she wanted to hear cause let’s be honest … I am really good at those types of answers. It was then that the façade of the good Christian girl I was trying to put on came crashing down and the realization that I was trying so hard to achieve this image I had wanted for myself was pushing me farther away from God than it was pushing me towards Him.

After reading through the story of Martha and Mary again, I realized more than ever that I had a lot more in common with Martha then I ever thought. She was so busy preparing and doing things for Jesus that she didn’t have time to spend at his feet. Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed 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 up 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, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  (Luke 10:38-42)

I had convinced myself that if I just did more for the Lord that I would be worthy of Him and that people would see that worth. But in reality, I was just pushing myself farther and farther away from Him in doing things for Him with the wrong heart. I had to take a major heart check, just like Martha did. Was I going to continue to be that woman who spends so much time doing things for the Lord that I didn’t have time to spend with Him? Or was I willing to maybe let things go to sit at the feet of Jesus where others may see me as being weak or not productive for the kingdom (and let’s be real, do people really think this or do I just tell myself they do)?

Why do we as Christian women think that we need to do more, be more, produce more for others to see that we are godly women? Why can’t we just let go and sit at the feet of the Lord and honor Him with our time spent in His Word and in prayer? Please don’t get me wrong in that I’m not saying that serving others, doing things for the Lord, or creating a to-do list for the year is a bad thing. However, when those “things” become more important than our relationship with the one true God, they become barriers or even idols that need to be destroyed.

Why do we as Christian women think that we need to do more, be more, produce more for others to see that we are godly women?

My prayer for myself has been that I would be a little more like Mary each day, spending time in His Word and in prayer, and that doing the work of God would not be the ultimate but just an additive to the wondrousness of Him, who alone is the ultimate. My prayer for us as women of God at the start of a new year would be that our color-coated calendars would have time for sitting at the feet of Jesus and that we would make Him our first priority, not our last afterthought because He alone is worthy of that.

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Lisa Bridgen


Lisa Bridgen lives in Clovis and spends her day loving hundreds of high school students as a Teacher Librarian in Fresno Unified. She desires to see women of all ages be women of God and not of the world, to seek His face not the approval of others and to love Jesus and others deeply! She is mildly in love with all things coffee, including having wonderfully deep conversations about Jesus and life while holding a cup! She also has a love of exclamation points and she’s not ashamed of it!!!!

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