Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: War and Peace (not about the book) (07/07/11)
TITLE: The War Within
By Jeannie Dennis
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Laurie was queen of lists. Each night she took pleasure in seeing all the items checked off and would prepare the next day’s schedule with a sense of completion. Yet now, she was feeling frustrated and angry with herself. What did she have to show for all the days off? The house wasn’t as clean as she had expected it to be by now, the deep cleaning projects just hadn’t been done and what about the hours she had intended to relax by the pool? That hadn’t happened either.
“Why do I always set myself up for failure?” she asked herself.
This was nothing new to her. It had been going on for years now. Almost as though she was challenging herself to do the impossible, intentionally keeping herself overloaded with “busy work” so as to avoid something or someone. The idea of being on vacation would have most people thinking of what relaxing, fun things could be done during the time off from work but Laurie would start thinking of projects she could work on. Then she would feel resentment because she didn’t feel refreshed and rested by the end of vacation.
“Lord, why am I such a loser? Why can’t I even manage to work through most of this list? And why am I so tired? When do I get to just sit and relax? When will I feel at peace?” she said while looking upward.
When would this war within her very soul come to an end? Would she ever be at peace? Over the years Laurie would work hard to please those around her by making sure the house was kept clean, food prepared, clothes washed, dried and put away and the yard manicured. If she could make all outward appearances look as though everything was in order, maybe it would hide the chaos within. If she was just good enough maybe Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t fight so much; maybe she could wipe clean the sin of premarital sex that lead to the abortion by marrying the man involved; maybe she could be the best mother, wife and friend so that God could love her.
It was a sudden thought that came to her, as though God had responded to her questions. The story of Martha and Mary came to mind. Laurie knew this Bible story well. She related to Martha, the hard working sister, the one that cleaned, cooked and served. But she wished she could allow herself to be more like Mary, relaxed, easy going and someone who couldn’t get enough of her Lord and Savior.
Laurie picked up her Bible and opened it to the story God had brought to mind. This time she asked God to speak to her and show her what she needed to learn. As she meditated on what she read, thoughts came to her. It was as though God wanted her to know He already loved her! He didn’t need her “to do” but that He wanted her “to be”. Laurie began thinking that in a sense, Martha was legalism, insisting that we must earn God’s love and respect by our good deeds and Mary represented grace, wanting to be in a relationship with God, accepting His love, fully and completely.
As Laurie closed her Bible she finally felt at peace. And she knew what she would do for the remainder of her vacation. She made a brief note to herself to start each day spending time with Him and then to spend time with family and friends that had been pushed to the bottom of her “To Do” list far too long.
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