Two nights ago, I was up all night tossing and turning.
Anxious, worried, going stir crazy, and unable to focus on anything else except one thing: When was I going to be able to get out and shoot next?
The previous day, I had several unexpected hiccups come up that left me with an open session date for this month and minus the income I was expecting from that. On top of the practical side of the whole "no work equals no money" conundrum, I had all these shots and ideas swirling around in my head, and my heart was seriously racing at the idea that those would have to be trapped in there for another MONTH until my next session on the calendar came up. So here I was, wide awake at 1 in the morning, pacing my apartment and on the border of ripping my hair out as all these thoughts raced through my mind.
Fast forward to last night (Wednesday), sitting at GCD, and the words Pastor Mark spoke were ones I had heard before but so desperately needed to hear again; "Luke 10 talks about Mary and Martha, two people with the same to distractions/to do list, but two very different perspectives." And then he asked us a question I know anyone who reads this passage can relate to: Are you so busy trying to clean up the house, worrying about a million other things, that you forget to actually host Jesus and just focus on the ONE thing? I felt like I'd been punched in the chest, as I realized God was shaking me and waking me up.
You see, we can read these words over and over but with all the distractions in life (much like the story of Martha in Luke 10 relates to), we forget the words we read. I looked down at this verse and in my Bible I had written to myself a little less than a year ago, "am I so busy doing stuff for Jesus, that I am not spending time with him?" It amazes me that I so easily slip into this pattern time and time again, but it also encourages me that I serve a gracious God, who is slow to anger and abounding in love and forgiveness. And that because of his patience, he is always willing to remind us over and over again of what is important, even if we need that reminder 50 times a day.
You see, as a small business owner and creative, God designed me to be an entrepreneur and to work work work. And it is so satisfying and amazing to know that I am living out the calling He has for me! But so often (and I know many in my position can relate), I let that very calling God has placed over my life to get ahead of the very person who gave it to me in the first place- Him! And so I find myself like Martha- running around, trying desperately to be the very best and to do my best because "I'm living out my calling, Lord! And I want to do it right!", yet forgetting to actually just sit down and spend time with the One who really matters and who gave it all to me. See, even doing too many "good" things can lead to something bad.
I hung my head in service and immediately repented. For how can God bless our dreams when we are trying to do it all without Him? I get so consumed with social media, how many likes I have on instagram, how can I get my work out there to get more bookings? What better marketing strategies can I do? etc, that my Bible sits and collects dust and it's this vicious cycle of me trying to spend every moment doing all that I can to get more business, but my business doesn't thrive because Jesus isn't involved in it, and I feel tired, stretched thin, and ready to give up. Because the second I forget to include Jesus in my dreams/calling, is right when everything will crash and burn. And if we can't cut that fear-driven, crazy-busy cycle off at the beginning, then it will inevitably lead to burnout.
Burnout. A creative's biggest fear of all.
So friends, I'm here to remind you of what I so desperately needed to be reminded of last night, and that is this: Keep Jesus at the center. Always. I don't care if you have a million things to do that day, get up and read your Bible FIRST, and ask him "What do you want for me today, Jesus?" Focus your attention all on him. Like Pastor Mark said, "If you aim for the first pin, you'll knock down all the rest." Do what you love, but don't let it consume you to the point that you forget who gave you the passion in the first place. And whenever I really need a reminder to not worry, I think about 2 Timothy when Paul talks about,
"For I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day I die."
I love this, because Paul understood! If you try to hold onto your dreams, the enemy will come and snatch them like a 300 pound quarterback will rip a ball from a toddler's weak grasp. But if you let go and let God, and give it ALL to him, then he will guard it and lock it away; completely out of the enemy's reach. And He will bless you for it, I'm sure of it.
"My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details and things! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it and it will not be taken away from her." -Luke 10: 41