For several nights in a row, I had a hard time getting to sleep. I just couldn’t seem to turn my brain off. It wasn’t stressful things that were keeping me awake. I kept thinking of favorite scenes in movies or passages from books I’ve read recently. In a way that made it worse – I was partly enjoying being awake to think these things! Still, I was starting to get run down from lack of sleep. One night, I was lying down to try to sleep well after midnight. I reached over to open the alarm clock app on my tablet but accidentally touched the icon for the Air 1 radio station app instead. I frantically tried to close the app before the audio stream from the radio station started playing automatically but my sleep deprived body just couldn’t manage it. A song blared out of the speaker for a few seconds before the app closed. Though I can’t remember what song it was now, I know it was one that I know and like because the few short lines that played became stuck in my head instantly. My brain started repeating the words over and over and I knew it would be impossible for me to sleep until I dislodged them. I ended up watching a TV show until 2 AM before I was able to close my eyes and sleep.
This incident made me think of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Jesus visited a pair of sisters in the town of Bethany. While he was in their house, Mary sat at the foot of His chair, listening to every word He said. Martha, on the other hand, was too concerned with the work of hospitality to spend time with her guests. Martha finally got tired of doing all the work herself and asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her. Instead, Jesus urged Martha to stop worrying about things and join Mary in listening to Him. Now, He never said that the work Martha was doing was wrong. I’m sure her concern for His needs was appreciated, but He urged her to consider her priorities. He said that Mary “has made the right choice” in choosing spiritual growth over physical needs. The song that kept me awake that night certainly wasn’t a bad thing in itself. In fact, it was a song with a strong Christian message, but singing along to it wasn’t the important thing at the time. Something good distracted me from what was best – sleep. Like Martha, we can easily become distracted by the day-to-day tasks of life. They can become a living song following a pattern of notes, verses, and choruses. This catchy melody can fill our brains, pull all focus onto itself, and keep us from what should be the true focus and center of our life – God. Remember to take time to sit down at His feet, turn off the music, and “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a)