There is nothing that shows you who you are more that the reflection of yourself you see in your child. My oldest little guy, Iain – three going on thirty-years-old, is a lot like me. Most of the time, I think it is fun to see myself in him. I even try to make him like me in some ways. I love fashion and I am out to dress him like a mini me and impart “wisdom” (while I can). He complies and seems to enjoy clothes too, but he never got into wearing hats/caps. Little people in hats are the best! I started to give up on the hat thing, until earlier in the week when he put on a cap in Target that read,” I need my space,” with objects orbiting in space. He refused to take it off. “Cool hat,” I said while screaming in my mind, “Yes! He likes hats now!”
Soon it became clear, in the way that only a three-year-old could, that the hat described Iain’s personality well. That part of his personality that is just like me. My wife loves the story that my mom tells of me locking myself in the bathroom and foyer of our two bedroom home to get away from the other five family members and our pet dog. “I need my space” too — and, although I was 12, I’m sure I chose to show it in the same way as my three-year-old did.
“I need my space,” has become a God-sized realization this past week. Adjusting to our new surroundings in Newton, taking care of our toddler and newborn, caring for my family’s needs, thriving to be the best husband I can be, attempting to lead the NewCity launch team members, and getting this church plant moving — came to a screeching halt with these four words — “I need my space.”
“I need my space” wasn’t the bratty cry of a pre-teen, it was the soul cry of a husband, father, pastor and friend. I needed my space with God.
This wasn’t the first time my soul cried out for attention because of unintentional prolonged neglect. I can recall at least 4 other times, yikes. Each time, I recall the story of Jesus’ visits to Mary and Martha’s house (Luke 10:25-37). In this episode in the life of Jesus, Martha is depicted as the responsible and productive one (my bias interpretation) and Mary, the irresponsible and oblivious one (again, my bias interpretation) as the two sisters prepare for and entertain Jesus as their house guest. Like me, you may quickly identify with one of these sisters; I am a Martha-type, hands down.
If Jesus was coming to my house (what a cool thought), I would work tirelessly to ensure everything is clean, organized, planned — and all of these moving boxes where either unpacked or stuffed in a closet or something. Like Martha, I would be upset by the irresponsible and lazy actions of my co-host who seems to be behaving like a guest; requiring me to serve her while I’m trying to serve Jesus. I would have told on Mary, with that sibling tone — “Jesus, don’t you care that she has left me to do all the work. Would you tell her to get up off her butt and help me!”
Jesus response to Martha, “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 NIV).
Loosely translated, “you need MY space.” That one thing that Mary discovered and that would not be taken from her, is what our souls long for and need.
How often we prepare for Jesus, dedicate endless hours to working for Jesus, even sweat over serving others in the name of Jesus and forgot to stop and be with Jesus.
No doubt, Martha’s work was important and so is all the things we need to do each day, but those days will become long, burdensome and purposeless if we don’t stop the work long enough to worship. The messes in our lives don’t need to be tidied up before Jesus comes over. Simply invite Jesus into your space, and let your space become HIS space.