In an Os Guinness book I've been reading this semester for a discussion group I'm leading, he quotes George Santayana: "In accomplishing anything definite a man renounces everything else." And Auden: "To achieve anything today, an artist has to develop a conscious strictness in respect of time which in former ages might have seemed neurotic and selfish, for he must never forget he is living in a state of seige." And Solzhenitsyn: an artist "has no other recourse if he does not want to overheat himself with ephemeral concerns and boil dry."
We find our center in Christ. That's a given. But it's easy to become a Martha, serving Him and desiring to serve Him, but bustling about doing all too much that is not necessary because He doesn't call us to do it.
Easy to say that means that we should be sure to do our morning devotions and dedicate our day to Him. But I think that's only a small, small part of what is needed. Every moment needs to be lived in reliance on Him and knowing we are doing what He has called us to do. But how to do that, really, when life itself is so fragmented and demanding?
Last night -- prepping for a literature class, a worldview class, and a writing class; helping the boy with his algebra; discussing family communication issues; trying to help research legal questions arising from a decision to sell some property; then trying to focus on a writing idea and finding it impossible. Too much that's too varied and saps my energy, but even more frustratingly scatters my thoughts, making me unable to concentrate on anything for any length of time. All of it was necessary, yes, and even good, but does God mean us to live such scattered lives? And how can one live otherwise and meet one's obligations?
Guinness notes in the same chapter that the idea that "the need is the call" is a dangerous one, "a sure recipe for overload and confusion." No kidding. But how does one choose? How does one be "single-minded"? Too easy, too easy to say "do everything in service to Him." Because one cannot do everything.