I could hear the urgency in her voice long before she made it up the apartment steps. With every forward step, came another request, complaint, need or want from the two children circling anxiously around her. Having noticed the new welcome mat across the hall nearly two weeks ago, I too was eager for her attention. I peeked out the window to confirm my suspicions and sure enough, it was the stranger I had respectfully observed only in passing.
Not wanting to see another opportunity to officially meet my new neighbor pass me by, I opened my door to find her hands full, one son’s shoe united, and the others’ A- minus being flashed in her face. The oranges from her grocery-mart bag were just about to squeeze themselves through an unnoticed hole in the corner, and from the aggressiveness towards the leather purse dangling innocently over her right shoulder, I accepted the unspoken warning that unless I had her front door key, now wasn’t the best time to introduce myself. I shut the door as quickly as I opened it. Once again, I missed my chance to welcome her properly.
How often does homework, science projects, cheerleader practice, basketball games, youth camp, bank deposits, bills, Church, small group sessions, chores, doctor’s appointments and deadlines cause you to miss out on building new relationships? Have you been so busy that you’ve ignored a possible friendship that could end up being the source of encouragement you truly need?
In the New Testament book of Luke, Martha found herself in the same vicious cycle of too busy for fellowship. Though what she was focused on was important and very much appreciated, the Bible calls her preparation a distraction. Getting lost in the details even caused Martha to build a sense of resentment towards her sister Mary, which was far from the hospitality she desired to share with Jesus and His disciples. I’m sure Martha was pained to learn from Jesus Himself that her sister’s choice of being still and listening at His feet was greater than all her worry and business combined.
My reasoning for withdrawing my invitation was not based off judgment, but understanding. I too have the allowed the demands of the moment to frustrate my appearance into unapproachability.
Recently, I ran across a popular booklet from the 1960’s called Tyranny of the Urgent. Inside was a brief, but direct point; our greatest danger is allowing the urgency of life to crowd out things of true importance. Living in constant tension between the urgent and important will only discourage us from resting in the one source that can perfectly balance the two.
As Charles E. Hummel once said, “Man is never so truly and fully personal as when he is living in complete dependence upon God.”
As Christians and single moms, it’s imperative that we make adequate time for daily waiting on the Lord. With His help and guidance, we can live confidently and free from the oppressive demands of single parenting.
Article originally featured at TLSM, The Life of a Single Mom