30 Days of Gratitude Challenge: Day 15 (mid-month check)

30 Days of Gratitude Challenge: Day 15

Mid-Month Gratitude check: How are your 30 days going? Pray today about how your gratitude focus has impacted your mindset. Thank Jesus for this opportunity.

Much like with most things I aim to do daily I have morphed into doing this challenge in a “catch up” fashion. Obviously I haven’t meant to fall behind or ignore it – but I have found myself over the weekend seeing the text come thru and just not taking the time to open it and read it, let alone actually do the challenge.

So it only seems fitting that today as I was putzing around on the internet I remembered to listen to my Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) podcast. It’s Day 319 but I’m on Day 316.

And I know God works in mysterious ways … so for me one of those ways is falling behind on my good intentions and finally catching up and doing the things I’m supposed to do… and the feeling like I was meant to do it this way all along.

Because here’s what Fr. Mike said in his reflection starting around the 20:15 min mark:

Jesus explains [the parable of the sower & seeds] – when he explains what happens among the thorns he describes it -as the thorns grew up, what were the thorns a sign of? As they go on their way they are choked by the riches and cares and pleasures of life and the fruit does not mature. The anxieties, the cares, the worries. They are not necessarily choked by evil or sin or corruption of their own hearts. They are simply choked by the cares of their daily life – and riches, and pleasures of life; which aren’t bad things but they are things that are in competition for the life that God wants for us.

At the end of Luke 10 we have Mary and Martha. And what is Martha’s problem? Jesus diagnoses it. He says, “Martha, Martha. You are anxious and troubled about many things.” Her problem is not that she was evil or working too hard. Her problem was that the ccares of life, of that day, were choking the life of God in her life. She was anxious and troubled about many things, just like that third kind of seed falling among the thorns.

There is work that we all have to do, but there is a work that a lot of us choose to take up that we don’t have to do, we aren’t supposed to it. There’s the work we have to do and then there’s the work beneath the work. “I have do this thing” but then there’s the other cares and anxieties. … Is this work going to be good enough? Does this work give me my identity? Does this work define me? There are all these burdens of the work beneath the work that we carry, that we give to the tasks that are good to do but they cause us sadness, distress.

Martha could have simply served Jesus and the disciples in her home with freedom, joy, love. But rather her joy was choked by anxiety and being troubled about many things. So you and I have work to do today, but one thing we can do is put down the work beneath the worth so that we can walk in freedom and in joy.

And I would add to that that there are tasks I take on that I don’t need to take on — so I push out the chance for God to enter in, the chance to hear God and give Him room to work because I just busy myself with pointless things — like shopping online or scrolling through news.

I absorb myself in the pleasures of life way beyond what I should to the point that it becomes un-pleasurable because I know I am wasting time and life and opportunity. But it is hard to stop.

SO how am I doing at this mid-month checkpoint? 50-50. Sometimes I am good and absorbed in it and all gung-ho. And other times I am just playing catch up.

And funny thing, when I take the time to focus on it or focus on catching up I am a much happier person. I feel less wasteful, less aimless, less adrift in a sea of me. I feel better for having been properly oriented toward God.

I hope today’s “How did they know??” text is just the kick in the pants that I need to stay on track for the rest of the month!!

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