I travel for work, facilitate support groups, offer trainings and retreats, and write. I have three adult children and four grandchildren I long to spend time with, and I am responsible for a home, yard, and garden. My life is busy!
Yet the scriptures remind me of an old Paul McCartney song: Someone’s knocking at the door/ Somebody’s ringing the bell/ Do me a favor/ Open the door, and let ‘em in. With my extensive “to-do” list, I can block the sounds of God constantly knocking and ringing. Or I acknowledge it with: “Yes, God I’m so grateful you’re there. Thank you for never leaving me alone. But hold tight for a minute. I just need to do these couple of things before I sit down to pray. I’ll be right there.” The next thing I know, I’m lying in bed exhausted with only the energy for a quick “Thank you, God” before I drift off to sleep.
The things I feel such compulsion to accomplish are very good and necessary, and often help me advance the reign of God. But if I don’t take time to sit and pray first, to stay deeply connected, to LISTEN, then I’m acting under my own power, trusting my own wisdom, perhaps acting out of my own hurts and insecurities, and bound for burn-out. In prayer, God can work within me to heal the wounds, to stretch and mold me, to help me discover gifts I’ve been given (even those hidden within pain), and to become the whole and centered person I was created to be. Therefore, I need to pray early in the morning before I get started on my to-do list, to ensure that I make daily time to open the door and let God in.
When I begin with prayer, I carry it into my day, centered in the love of God and putting into practice what God is accomplishing within me. I can turn again and again to my Divine sources of wisdom, strength, and guidance, and undergird my many actions with the love of Christ for those I serve. It can also keep me from listening to other voices that run counter to God’s message. It gives me strength to speak when I’m afraid and wisdom to know what to do. It helps me recognize and confront words of intolerance, judgment, and dismissal of another, especially when they come out of my own mouth. In short, spending time as Mary did at the feet of Jesus allows me to go into my Martha day in a way that brings the light, love, healing, and peace of God acting within and through me.
That is such a worthy goal, and one that we desperately need in our personal, professional, corporate, and political lives. So today, I recommit to hearing the bell and answering the knock by starting my day, every single day, with opening the door and letting God in. Will you join me?
Amy Florian is a teacher and consultant working in Chicago. For many years she has partnered with the Passionists. Visit Amy’s website: http://www.corgenius.com/.