Has life become all work and no play? All dread and no joy? All waiting and no now?
What are you waiting on? What are you dreading so badly? Honey, what are you working for? This one life you have been given is going quickly, and the day will come when you look back on all of this, nearing the end, and you regret all the “nows” you wasted. All the joy you forfeited. All the playing you saved for later.
Maybe you’re going through something in life right now that makes it hard to be joyful. There’s a real threat to your family. A real hardship covering your days. A real trial and you’re right in the middle of it. And here, where you are now, it seems impossible to play. It seems ridiculous to assume anything could possibly make you enjoy the day.
That’s fair. I don’t think anyone could blame you for being miserable in this. And what if God isn’t blaming you either, but he’s extending an invitation for something memorable instead of miserable?
Would you choose memorable over miserable? Regardless of circumstances, memorable is available today.
Over 2 decades ago, I was mopping the floors of a beautiful home we had worked so hard to buy. It was a home we couldn’t really afford, but we wanted it any way. This home became a constant stress to not only pay for, but to maintain. I rarely ever enjoyed the space, I was always cleaning the space. We didn’t enjoy the pool, we were cleaning the pool. We didn’t enjoy the backyard, we were mowing the backyard. Everything we had worked so hard to give our family had become nothing but stress, pressure, and more work.
Anyone? Anyone feel like this right now?
As I was mopping the floors of our beautiful home, I overheard Oprah on TV. It was the story of a young mom who had grown sick. She knew her time with her family was limited, so they started doing all the things. All the things, including the big trip to Disney. After this young mother’s death, Oprah interviewed her little boy and asked him, “what is the greatest memory you have with your mom?”
The little boy said, “I remember when my mom and I ate cheerios out of one bowl with two spoons. That was my favorite.”
Standing there with the mop in my hand, and children of my own about the same age, I realized I had been working so hard to give our family the equivalent of Disney, and I had been missing all the opportunities to share a darn bowl of cheerios.
What in the world was I doing, and why was I doing it?
Within a year, we walked away from that big beautiful house with the floors that took hours to mop, the pool that never seemed clean enough, and the lawn that stole every weekend from our grasp, and we moved our kids to the most humble little beach cottage where we sat in lawn chairs in our family room, we ate every meal together around our garage sale table, we taught the kids to surf, and we watched the sunset every night over the ocean holding hands.
We were making memories.
Memories that would actually mean something. We’re talking “one bowl, two spoons” kinda memories.
And this morning, I felt a prompting in my spirit to ask you, my sister, are you so busy making “more” that you’ve failed to make memories? Making more money, buying more, doing more of the busy things, but sacrificing all the memories along the way? It won’t be the big trip to Disney, it will be those little intentional moments you were there for fully.
There’s a lesson in the Bible on this. Can you think of it?
Luke 10: 38-42 “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’”
Mary had chosen the Cheerios moments. Martha was busy trying to prepare for Disney. Jesus made it clear which one was better.
Yesterday for Valentine’s Day, my husband gave me flowers, he bought me a beautiful new skirt (actually, I bought it, I just told him thank you), and he took me out to a fabulous restaurant for a fresh seafood dinner with live music. Those things are all great, and I’ll likely not remember any of them next year. But he gave me one gift that will be forever remembered. One gift that cost nothing, but I will treasure it above everything else.
He gave me a Cheerios in one bowl with two spoons kinda gift. He gave me a Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus kinda gift. He gave me a campout on our balcony. That man literally drug a mattress onto our balcony and slept outside with me, because he knew my adventurous spirit would be so happy. Did he love it? Probably not. But I can assure you of this, whichever one of us is left when Jesus takes the other one home, will cherish that campout forever.
I think Jesus is reminding all the Martha’s of the world to stop being so darn distracted in their busyness, and be present in the little moments we’ve been missing.
Choose memories over “more”.
Choose memories even when there’s mountains of laundry, mountains of worry, mountains of pain, mountains of stress.
Jesus says this is the better part. The better part is remaining in the moment. The better part is offering yourself fully where you are. The better part is often small and simple and never makes a whole lot of noise to get your attention, so you will have to be intentional to notice it.
What’s your “one bowl, two spoons” opportunity today? Choose it. Choose it over and over. Life is precious and life is short, and Jesus is reminding you to stop rushing through it. Make memories here.
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