Newness is a good thing.
As I spent time reflecting on 2012 over my Christmas break, it was mind blowing to try and recount all that happened. There are of course the big ones like graduating college, getting married and moving to a new place. But there’s also all that happened behind the scenes, all that was going on in my heart and in the spirit at the same time. It was a year of endings and a year of beginnings. A year of change and transition. A year of newness.
It was a strange feeling to ring in a new year this month, because the thought of anything else being “new” at this point is almost nauseating. But, alas, He is doing a new thing — again!
The Latin word for “January” (ianua) literally means door. So I find myself standing at the doorway to another year… and it’s almost as if it’s a foggy morning and I really can’t even see past the doorstep. And that’s the way God intends for it to be for me right now. Resting just at the doorstep — He’ll tell me when it’s time to move from here. There’s something to learn before I can see what’s next.
The phrase I keep hearing him speak is that this is a time to just be at his feet. And instantly those words give me a picture of Mary of Bethany.
In Luke 10:38-42, we see her sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to him teach, as her sister Martha is distracted with serving. Jesus says to Martha that Mary has chosen the good portion — and it will not be taken from her.
In John 12:1-8, it says she took a pound of expensive ointment and anointed his feet, wiping them with her hair. And the entire house was filled with the fragrance of her perfume. The perfume was worth 300 denari — something like a year’s worth of wages. It was very likely that it was the most valuable thing she owned — and she gave it without thinking twice, though it looked foolish. But then again it looked foolish before to sit at Jesus’ feet instead of get caught up in the “doing” that her sister was consumed with.
Again, she had chosen the good portion. Matthew’s account of this story records Jesus saying that wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.
And somewhere in between these two stories, there’s the time that Jesus came to Bethany after Lazarus had died. It says that Mary fell at his feet and said, “if you’d been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32) Even in her desperation and mourning, she knew that the best place to be was at the feet of Jesus.
In this season of learning to be at his feet, I pray that I come out looking something like her. That I would have a teachable spirit as I sit at his feet, laying aside everything that a certain culture or a spirit of religion tells me I have to do instead. That I would know that when something seems hopeless, all I’m to do is fall at his feet — and resurrection will follow. And that as I learn to give all that I am and all that I have to him, that the fragrance of my surrender would fill an entire house.
Suddenly resting at the doorway doesn’t seem so bad. The fog can linger and the next adventure can wait because at the doorstep is where His presence is. And when the cloud moves, I’ll leave the doorstep and follow His presence.
He said this would be a season of new perspectives. Jesus came to turn everything upside down, so why do we look at things as the world looks at them when His perspective is the alternative?
So it makes sense that by sitting at His feet, the promise is to see more of His face.
The outcome? I don’t know. But I bet it will be good.
Cheers to a foggy beginning. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.