19 DecLeave the Pressure Behind

To Do Lists.  Shopping.  Errands.  Appointments.  Parties.  Recitals.  Job Responsibilities.  Household Chores.  By now you get the picture.  Life is a busy endeavor and during the holiday season the temptation (and pressure) to “get it all done” can grow by leaps and bounds.  Jesus understood the lure and pull of the outside world on our time, emotions, focus and intimacy with Him, and He gave us an antidote to counter it all.  He gave us the remedy for leaving the pressure behind so that we can actually enjoy our lives and celebrate the true meaning of the Christmas season–Him!

I was gently reminded of this once as I stood alone in my kitchen one night mumbling to myself all of the things I needed to get done the following day.  “I need to pay the power bill.  I need to call So-and-So.  I need to do the laundry.  I need to….”  And on and on it went—until the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and reminded me of the ONE thing I truly needed.

“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.’” (Luke 10:38-41, NLT)

As the Lord ministered this to me that day, I clearly saw that my first and most essential priority was communing with Him, listening to Him, and from there He would lead me through each day and help me not only accomplish what was set before me, in the power of His grace (His strength and ability), but also teach me how to maintain the proper priorities for what matters most in every moment.  Instead of allowing the ‘urgent’ to be first place, like in the case of Martha’s dinner, I would defer to what He showed me–or what was truly important.  Admittedly, it’s a lesson that bears repeating on occasion, but I’m always grateful to have the course correction when necessary.

Could your priorities use a shift today?  Have you been hurrying around and losing steam with each step?  Is your mind so full of “what’s next” that it’s robbing you of enjoying the present?  If so, I encourage you to settle down, get in a quiet place and allow the Lord’s Presence to strip away the stress and pressure you feel.  He will recharge you and invigorate you to begin again.  And He’ll show you what is important–and what can wait or be dismissed altogether.  Hand-in-hand and step-by-step, The Good Shepherd will lead you and make you to lie down in green pastures and beside peaceful streams (Psalm 23).  He’ll enable you to finally leave the pressure behind.

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’” (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

Merry CHRISTmas!

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