In Michigan, we walk fast, talk fast, never stop, always busy. As if our status is determined by how busy we are. If we aren’t busy, there must be something wrong. “How are you?” “I’m great I’m really busy. Need to get going. We will talk later, ok?”
That “work ethic” followed me to Tanzania. I’m going from the minute I get up til I finally fall asleep. If not physically moving, mentally working. At the end of the school year, I think I will sleep when I get back the US. In the US, I think I will sleep when I get back to TZ. When I am back in TZ… well school year has started so I guess I don’t sleep?
When I was home this summer, I was more stressed than when I am in TZ. I would get in dad’s truck distracted, overwhelmed, heading off to my next thing and I would turn on the radio. This summer the local radio station would play “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Batistelli often. More times than I could count, I would start the truck and that song would come on. Deep breath. Slow down. Holy Spirit you are not only welcome, but needed.
There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
This song grounded me this summer. Kept me focused on why I am doing what I am doing and reminding me He is in control. It isn’t for me to stress over.
The common topic of conversation at the end of the last school year has been the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. Growing up in the Reformed Church of America denomination. I grew up knowing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were three persons in one. We would talk about God the father and God the son regularly. Holy Spirit… yeah he existed but we rarely talked about it. Maybe it was too abstract. Too hard to pin down. Too out of our control (heaven forbid we release control to God!). Most of the churches and culture here in Tanzania are more Pentecostal/charismatic. The spiritual world is very real. It has really been challenging my comfortable in control faith.
This year’s theme at HOPAC is One Thing/Jambo Moja is taken from the story of Mary and Martha in Luke:
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I use the excuse of being too busy to really be honest with myself and my life. I use the excuse of being too busy with others to take care of myself. That stops today. I am marking today as the day I stop answering “How are you?” with “Busy”. For the next while, I am going to soak in the topic of the Holy Spirit. Seek out what God is teaching. Tear down the walls of surface and superficial worship in my life. Work on taking the plank out of my own eye and stop judging others. Especially when I am judging because I am uncomfortable. This year, I am going to strive to be more a Mary than a Martha and focus on the One Thing.
I am thankful we have a God that loves us unconditionally and lavishly pours that love on us with his grace and mercy. We are always changing and growing. Never complete until he calls us home.