Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Focused Reflection

This is Part 5 of of the (re)Vision talk on leadership principles from the Life of Mary.

The fourth thing we can learn from Mary is her capacity for deliberate, focused reflection. Our nativity scenes, which reflect a scene of peacefulness and serenity, are a farce. What a load of crap. Jesus was born in a barn—a cave where animals were kept. It was dark and dirty and smelly. And there was chaos. Joseph delivered the baby and angels were showing up and singing and smelly shepherds were traipsing into the cave in the middle of the night wanting to hold the baby.

Luke 2:19 says, “Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.” In the midst of Christmas chaos, Mary simply enjoyed the presence of Jesus.

Mary was not a busybee. She was not trying to clean the stable. She was not trying to keep up with the craziness. Most women I know are busy…and tired. And we don’t even have time to be before God. We run the risk of missing so much because we don’t allow space for God to dwell with us.

This was not a one-time phenomenon for Mary. We read the same reaction in Luke 3. Jesus was 12 years old, and Mary and Joseph lost him in the Temple. When she and Joseph found him talking to the religious teachers, Mary acted as any mother would. She said, “Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” But when Jesus said, “I am about my father’s business,” we see that she, once again, “stored all these things in her heart.” We need to be still before God, and allow our hearts to be open to and meditate on his work in our lives.

I’m re-reading a book right now with some of the NCC staff titled The Rest of God about the discipline of observing and celebrating the Sabbath. In a recent chapter, the author challenged us to pass through a day without it passing us by. We can often get so busy that we don’t pass through life; it just passes by us.

Women of influence find ways to store things in their hearts and allow those things to transform their hearts. We need to know our own stories and capture them and reflect on them. I don’t care how we do it—we can journal or blog or tweet or scrapbook or paint—but we’ve got to ponder the moments of life that are filled with the presence of God. They give us clarity about who he has called us to be, what he has called us to do and whom he has called us to influence. Our influence flows from those moments of abiding with him.


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