I have a dear friend who is 92. Recently when I visited her at her home, in between one meeting in the morning and another in the afternoon, she told me, “It seems like you are always in a rush.”
It made me stop. When someone who has lived almost a century notes something like that about your life, you listen.
I first asked myself how I wanted other people to feel. Do people in my life feel like they are just one more thing that I am cramming in my life? Do I make each person I interact with feel like they are important, even in the midst of a busy schedule?
I then asked myself why I am so busy. Am I busy just for the sake of being busy like somehow I have to earn God’s love? Do I say “yes” to everything that comes my way, when sometimes I might need to take a step back to be able to focus on the things I already have in my life?
I began to pray after this interaction. I asked God, “Do I need to take anything away from my life?” Sometimes we just keep taking the next step and don’t take the time to really seek God’s Spirit to know whether He still wants us there. So I truly asked God that question. I love the things I do in my life and they bring me great joy and satisfaction. But am I doing them for God or for me?
About a week after this prayer, a crazy thing happened. On a Thursday night one of my sons broke his elbow and the following Wednesday, another son broke his hand. So now add to my life multiple trips to Athens for orthopedic appointments. I pretty bluntly told God that when I prayed that prayer, I wasn’t asking for more on my plate!!
But the night my son broke his elbow, the whole family helped him out. His older sister set up a bed for him on the couch so he would be close if he needed me. His little sister went upstairs and got his stuffed animals to sleep with and a cup of water. I lay on the couch with him and we read from the Bible and after we said a prayer, he grabbed my hand and said, “This was a great day.”
My first reaction was, “What a sweet kid I have!” and the second was guilt that it took him breaking his arm to get the kind of attention that made his day great. But as I continued to think over all that happened, I saw that maybe God had answered my prayer. He obviously didn’t break my kids’ bones to teach me a lesson, but it did open my eyes to the gift I have in front of me in my children. In the midst of the craziness, do they know that I love them and that being a part of forming who they are is important to me?
I sometimes think of Mary, as the angel came down and gave her the shocking news that she would be the mother of Jesus. And her simple fiat — “let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Do I do that? Not just in the big moments like she had, but in the little ones?
Maybe if I marveled in God the way that she did, I would be able to do that. Oh that my heart could sing with her in her Magnificat from Luke 1:46-48, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.”
God, give me such great love of you that I can say “yes.” Yes to the joyful things, to the sorrowful things and even to the unexpected things that come along and shake up all the plans I had for my life. Only then will I cease to rush through life from one thing to the next and truly experience the great joy of all the gifts he has given me.
Kasey Carty Jordan is a former missionary and resides in Monticello.