Lauren Michelle Dowler
Have you ever been burnt out? I have. And far too many times I've found myself on the fringe.
After graduating from college, I continued to run at a pace that was not sustainable. I set off for Australia where I had previously lived with determination in my veins. See, the last time I left I didn’t complete everything on my “To-Do List” for God. I was ecstatic that this time around I actually had a shot at ticking off the remainder of the items.
Upon arrival, I was pleased to discover that Crystal, another Yank was back in Australia. There was never a dull moment or conversation with this one but rather a sincerity and depth to her words that my heart craved. Her presence in my life was strategic.
Crystal also wasn’t allowed to work in Australia. At the time, there wasn’t a work-holiday option for Americans. Initially, she felt a bit useless, but gradually learned to appreciate her free time, and was thrilled to spend it with Jesus. God gave her the option.
Do you want to do stuff for me Crystal, or do you want to spend time with me?
Boooom! It was like a wrecking ball hit me over the head.
That still, soft, quiet voice resounded once again.
Lauren, do you want to be a Mary or a Martha?
The story of Mary and Martha was one that I heard on repeat growing up in the church. Jesus arrived at the home of three siblings: Lazurus, Mary and Martha. Martha scurried around the kitchen preparing food making sure everything was in order while Mary made her way to the living room and sat down at the feet of Jesus. As Mary cuddled up to Jesus, soaking in His presence and adhering to His words, Martha arrived on the scene annoyed that her sister wasn’t helping. “She’s just so lazy sitting there and doing nothing…tell her to help me!” (my paraphrase)
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
Like bold letters in the sky God was spelling out His best for me but somehow, the words flew right over my head.
“Ummm… I’m back in Australia God. I didn’t fly around the world to do nothing. Ofcourse I want to do something for You.”
Wha wha whaaaaa…
See what I was totally missing was that God cared more about my well-being and sanity than He did about the “works” that I had in mind to complete for Him. He was offering me the opportunity to kick back, lay my head on His chest and take a much-needed break which was by far the better option. I just didn’t get it. Instead I continued to run at 100 miles an hour only to find myself losing control.
God continued to flag me down.