During a hard season a few years ago, my small group at church challenged us with the idea of keeping a record of how our time was spent. I knew I was already struggling, staying on top of my never-ending list of things to accomplish and what others expected from me. I already knew I wasn’t enough, I didn’t need a time log to tell me that. Yet once I wrote it all down, I was surprised to see that the time that was “needed of me” exceeded the amount of time there is in a day; I finally realized why I constantly felt inadequate. As you might imagine, this had caused a few emotional breakdowns that were not fruitful to my marriage or motherhood.
Once I accounted for my time, it became more clear where I was investing too much and too little. God graciously brought Luke chapter 10 to my attention again, a story I had heard so many times before: Jesus in Mary and Martha’s House.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 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.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary.[e] Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
I looked again at the list of how I spent my time. So much of it was filled with good things, like Martha, serving those around me; why did I feel that I was missing “the good portion” from God? I wasn’t able to truly sit at God’s feet like Mary, therefore, I was missing the greater things God had placed before me. I was doing the things I thought needed to be done that were important and good but was not observing the better things I ought to be doing and focusing on.
One of my favorite quotes from Charlotte Mason has become, “An observant child should be put in the way of things worth observing”. These wise words have brought conviction to my heart and have challenged me as a mom and educator. While I was being pulled in what felt like a million different directions in a mere 24 hours, my two young children were observing: they were observing quite more screen time than desirable, a mother who yelled more than she should, their mom and dad arguing over meaningless details, and my share of cry sessions from being overwhelmed. They watched me serve others endlessly while I complained about serving my family. I realized change was needed.
Sanctification is a life- long process. I don’t have everything figured out, but I know the One who does. Trading in my list of expectations and things to do, for the practice of being still enough to listen and humility to obey, was and is hard stuff (praise God for His grace!). As I listen He reveals what I need to put down. As I obey and choose the one thing that is necessary, I see the good portion, the things that are worthy of observation.
Now when I read Charlotte Mason’s words, I think to myself, am I putting our children in the way of things worth observing? Whether it’s their relationships, academics, shows or games or spiritual things- are the things that will grow them into who God is calling them to be? More importantly, am I being someone who is worth my children observing in my relationships, the shows I watch, or in my spiritual life? Am I taking the time to sit at God’s feet so I become who He is calling me to be? If I know anything it’s this: If we don’t teach them to seek out the good and things worthy of observation, and ourselves be worthy of observation, the world will surely teach them a different view of what is good and worth observing. For the children’s sake, may we all put ourselves and our children in the way of things worth observing, for God’s glory.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31