"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jesus Did Not Multitask

By Micky Wolf

Okay, now that I may have ruffled the nape hairs of nearly all the females reading this blog, let us venture forth in courage for some understanding as to why this statement has meaning for today’s women—and men as well.

Several days ago I participated in an all-female meeting where several comments were shared about how able and capable women are with managing and accomplishing numerous tasks at the same time. The clear implication being, men cannot and do not even attempt such endeavors for various reasons, ranging from ‘that’s the way God designed them’ to ‘what do you expect with the present cultural and social norms’. And truth be told?—I have, on numerous occasions down through the years, been equally eager to espouse this philosophy.

Ladies, maybe it’s time to change our tune? Why? Well, for one reason, maybe we are really missing the mark with regard to God’s hopes and desires for us as (female) human beings created in His image and likeness. And secondly, maybe it is also time for us to let go of our need—real or perceived—to behave as if multitasking is an honor badge of distinction with regard to our worth and value as wives, mothers, or career women.

For Jesus, it was about the need and experience of the momentundivided attention and presence.

When we think of being busy or trying to do what needs doing, Jesus’ experience with Martha usually comes to mind. While affirming her for her efforts, he is firm and gentle in reminding her 0f the importance of focusing on ‘the better part’. (Luke 10:38-42)  In his own way, he wanted to engage her in the moment. Not only would their time together refresh both of them, it would deepen their relationship with one another.

Apart from this familiar story, Jesus is all about quality rather than quantity. Surely, one of the things about his demeanor which drew people the most was the manner in which he made each person or gathering of people feel loved, valued, and appreciated.

The reality is, when we try to do too many things at one time, something—or someone—is going to suffer. If I’m trying to shop for groceries, talk on the phone with a spouse, restrain a tired and hungry toddler and check my calendar app for my doctor appointment, the stuff—and me—is eventually going to unravel into certain chaos. Maybe not today, but tomorrow or next week.

If we hope to be the humble servants Jesus calls us to be, we have to recognize our limitations—physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. By the same token, our wherewithal to accomplish a task well (not the same as perfectly) is contingent upon our resources of time, treasure, and talent, all of which are gifted to us by God.

We can trust God to give us everything we need. Yet as the saying goes, He is not required to finish anything He does not begin. Knowing the difference may spare us feverishly spinning our wheels and ending up in a pile, or being at peace as we serve, savor and enjoy the present moment, the only one of which we are assured.

Jesus served many, in many different wayswhich is not the same thing as trying to do many things at the same time.

Jesus preached. He taught. He healed. And more. And, notably, he did all in the name of Love. He was, is, and forever will be—the wonderfully human personification of Divine Love.

The extent of our responsibilities as women may seem never-ending, however, we are and remain daughters of our Most High God, the One whom we desire to love, serve and please. In that light, what greater calling could we ask or hope for?

Jesus was most concerned with ‘being about my Father’s business’. When we make that our priority, all the other stuff is less likely to pull at our thoughts and emotions and distract us from those people and tasks we need—and in our hearts really desire—to be giving our undivided attention.

Sure, I can do that and more…

When we consider the larger picture of being Christ-like and other centered, we need to accept as well as embrace the design of God’s handiwork; He has created man and woman to be complementary to each other in ways designed to bring out the best in both of us.

Sadly, much of what is happening in our culture right now is tearing away—and in some cases totally dismantling—everything good about what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God as male and female, especially within the vocation of marriage.

Prevailing attitudes and behaviors have made it more confusing and frustrating than ever to have a clear sense of how to manage everything that comes at us in a day. Regardless of gender, we struggle to keep up. And before we know it? We collapse, exhausted, irritated, and in some instances, downright mean-spirited and angry as those plates come crashing down around us.

The solution?

This is not rocket science or inaccessible mysticism—a good place to begin is by learning when to say yes, and when to say no.

How do we do that?—we make an intentional choice to follow Jesus’ example by spending time in prayer with Our Father and discovering His will, His desires, His hopes and dreams for our lives. When we make that our top priority, all the other stuff will fall in line—or disappear from the list entirely. And that, fellow sojourner, will open the door to living and experiencing to the fullest, this one life we have been given.

Being honest, do I enjoy being viewed as one who multitasks? Why?

Is it hard for me to focus on one person or task at time? Why?

If I were to name the spinning plates, what would they be?

How do I feel about going to God first in organizing my to do list?


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