I’ve coined—what I think—is a new term: popcorn thoughts. It refers to that chaotic frenzy of thoughts and worries darting around my mind a great deal of the time. Pop. There’s another one—worrying that I’m the only one whose mind is frenetic and unruly, and that right now you’re all staring blankly at the screen asking, ‘what is she on about?’

But no! I found another ‘Popcorn-Thinker’ in the Bible, and last week I wrote a reflection based on her for the book I am busy working on. In this book, “Encounters,” I take readers ‘inside’ Bible encounters with Jesus, adding a reflection and prayer at the end of each chapter. I sense it’s going to be a special book. I say that, not arrogantly, but rather because I am learning so many deep truths just through writing it.

Which brings me back to my Biblical ‘Popcorn-Thinker’, and the rather life-changing lesson I learnt from what Jesus said to her.
In my story, based on Luke 10, I take readers inside the house of Martha, where she has just welcomed Jesus and all his disciples to stay the night. She is in a frenzy—making sure there is water and firewood, preparing a broth, kneading dough for bread. Then she hears her sister’s laughter coming from the next room. As she rounds the corner, she sees Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet. It’s just too much for Martha to bear, so she storms over to Jesus and demands that he reprimand her sister. But Jesus doesn’t do that. Instead, he says, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” He then shifts over and frees up a cushion for Martha to sit on.

What will she do, is the question I address in the reflection:

We all know what Martha should have done. Drop everything and make herself comfortable on that cushion. Yet I wonder if she did. In her place, I might have huffed one last time, just to make sure everyone understood how unhappy I was, and then carried on with my frenzy of activity. I know this, because it’s what I do so often in my own busyness—push Jesus into the margins of my life. In fact, I’ve been particularly guilty of this in the last few months and now that exhaustion has finally forced me to slow down enough to take stock of my life, I realize that over time my joy, vision and inspiration have slowly seeped away. I’ve lost my bearings. “There is really only one thing worth being concerned about…”I am amazed at those words, especially when I consider all the things that occupy my thoughts, from children to novels, housework to husbands, blogs to tweets. Jesus’s words remind me not to worry about these things and not to make them my first priority. When my primary concern is spending time with Him, the joy, vision, inspiration and strength to manage all these aspects of my life will return.

And so, if you are a ‘Popcorn-Thinker’ like me and Martha, ask yourself if all those thoughts are that ‘one thing worth being concerned about’.
If not, let them go.


Scripture quoted is from the New Living Translation (NLT)

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