Still your mind, open the eyes of your heart (through visual imagery), join the flow of the Holy Spirit, and journal. I’ve been practicing these steps to hear God’s voice. One way to do this is to put yourself into one of the stories from the Gospels, become one of the characters, visualize yourself in the story, and look for Jesus.
It was easy to pick the story—the account in Luke 10 about two sisters, Mary and Martha. Guess which one I am.
I’ve got a mile-long to-do list because Jesus and his 12 disciples are coming. I’ve been cleaning and cooking for days. When they show up, I’ll be ready—with my list of things to do while they are here so that they feel welcome and comfortable in my home.
They’re here now, and I’m running 24-7 working on my to-do list for Jesus. Typically, Mary’s just sitting there, leaving me stuck with all the work—if she would just help out here, maybe I could spend a little time sitting there listening to what Jesus has to say too.
Jesus follows the good aroma to the kitchen and sticks his finger in the batter bowl. I hand him the spoon to lick and laugh at the chocolate batter stuck to his mustache. He tells me “I’m saving that for later.”
So I feel comfortable telling him about Mary; I try to get him on my side. See what she’s doing or, rather, what she’s not doing? All the workl falls on me, and I’m running all the time.
Jesus smiles and says, “You do good work. I love it here at your house. I’m always an honored guest. But Martha, stop a minute and give me your full attention.”
I glance at him while I peel the carrots. “I’m listening.”
He says my name again. “Martha.” I look up at him and he takes the knife and carrots from my hands and holds them still. “Martha. What you are doing is good, but Mary has made the better choice.” He kisses me on each cheek and looks me full in the face, still holding my hands. He gives me a hug before going back to his disciples and Mary.
I peel more carrots—they’re going to want some healthy snacks during their meetings. But I’m still mad at Mary and maybe a little jealous. He thinks she’s better. Isn’t that what he said?
I add the carrots to the veggie tray and take it to the room. I check to make sure there are enough drinks and dip, and start to leave the room. But Jesus is talking … and I remember what he said to me: “Mary has chosen the better thing.” She’s not the better thing. She’s chosen the better thing. What has she chosen? She’s listening to his voice.
I get it.
I’m still Martha, and I still have my to-do list, but the change I’m striving to make is to choose the better thing—listening to Jesus voice. I’m working to move this from somewhere in the top ten priorities for each day and make it number one.
Jesus still visits my house often. And I still spend days cooking and cleaning. I still have my to-do list—he designed me to be Martha, not Mary. But I can be Martha who chooses the better thing.
So I won’t make him come to the kitchen anymore to get my attention. I’ll go sit at his feet and listen to what he has to say today and every day.