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At 5:02 AM an alert, set to the Stress tone, sounded in my mind. Heart racing, breaths coming in shallow bursts, a long list of impossible to-dos running through my mind, I greeted the day. I threw back the covers and put feet to the floor of my bedroom by night, office by day. I strode to the kitchen where I filled a mug with 16 ounces of strong, black coffee, then returned to bed, phone next to me on the nightstand.

I reached for the phone, as has become my habit.

Email and social media as I sip my coffee.

Once caffeine has cleared my mind, Bible and prayer. But by that time, the demands of the day are already swirling, often tornado-like.

I attempt to still the storm, but most often, I fail.

This morning as I reached for the phone, I hesitated.

I am Martha, distracted by many things.

I paused.

But, I was Mary…

There was a time, decades in fact, when nothing was more important than sitting at Jesus’ feet. Still. Silent. Listening. Then came divorce, health issues, a need for income, a job, a ministry…

I picked up the phone, ignored email and social media, and instead opened the Bible app and searched for Romans 12.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 12:1-2, NIV

I read the passage once. Twice. By the third reading, my heart rate had slowed.

I closed my eyes and meditated on the verses, pushing aside distractions as they came.

When a familiar prayer whispered in my mind, I stilled and listened. Then I repeated the words.

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

I repeated them as I got out of bed again.

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

As I dressed.

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

As I left the house.

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

As I walked.

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

And walked.

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

And walked.

I returned home, mind quiet, hands and heart opened, gaze focused…

On my merciful Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

References: Luke 10:38-42, Romans 12:1-2, Luke 18:13