“Cold showers”, my husband said. “I saw this video, and apparently it’s really good for you! I’m going to start doing it twice a day”.
Sure enough, he did, convinced it was the new thing that would help solve some of his energy and sleep problems. I wasn’t so convinced! Instead, after watching a different video, I was convinced that I needed to start balancing my hormones by watching what I eat. Thyroid problems made me tired and so, being interested in natural medicine and old remedies, I started watching videos about what you should (and shouldn’t!) include in your diet, and when. Apparently carbs were the enemy, and so were a lot of other things I’d been eating! I bought a few of the recommended things like apple cider vinegar, and tried to cut out carbs. I felt excited and motivated! This was going to fix everything!
Then I decided that I also needed to read up on financial management, as I was starting a new job and also wanted to be better at teaching our kids about what to do with their pocket money. The guy in the book recommended sitting with your spouse together and discussing your finances over a meal of garlic bread and wine… “Oh no! Carbs! Doesn’t he know that eating both of those in the evening will cause inflammation, weight gain, and can lead to all sorts of health problems?” my brain blared… “how can I balance both finances and health when the finance guy is telling me to do what the doctor told me not to!”
…Ridiculous, right? But seriously… which came first? My brain seemed to be swirling in an anxious flurry. Suddenly, the carbs didn’t seem to matter… because now the priority was to get my kids’ financial management under control!
How many times have you watched a video and then said to yourself, “if only I could just start doing this one thing, I bet that would change everything”…
Anxiety over how to prioritise things in our life only seems to be worse in this digital age. Scrolling through digital media, we are constantly being told what is “the most important thing that you need to be doing right now”. Whether it’s changing your parenting, your health, your finances, the environment, your brain chemistry, growing your own food, community involvement, or your kids’ future in this crazy world… everything seems to have a Ted talk trying to tell us that “if you do nothing else, do this right…” How do we choose? What comes first? What IS the most important thing we need to do, when there seem to be so many choices and so little time and energy to pursue them all?
Luke 10:38-42: “As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Martha was also anxious about priorities. At that moment, she believed it was meeting others’ needs… making sure everyone was fed, the meal was cleaned up, everyone was comfortable and had what they needed, especially this important and beloved teacher! And how dare her sister not also think that was the priority! Mary was just… sitting there, at Jesus’s feet?
But Jesus told her what the “one thing” was, the one thing that she needed in that moment, in that space… the one thing that took priority over serving, meeting needs, and having everything in order, the thing her sister had found.
It was Him.
Is parenting important? Yes. Is health important? Yes. Is serving others important? Yes. Is work important? Yes. Is being prepared for a food shortage important? I would say, yes.
But what always takes priority? Him. Sitting at His feet, listening to Him, spending time with Him. And then, in His wonderful way of being a loving Father that knows our needs, He makes all the other things fall into place as well.
Matthew 6:31-33 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the gentiles run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”