You know the story of Martha and Mary from the bible, don’t you? Jesus visits friends and two sisters find themselves in the middle of sibling rivalry at it’s finest. Martha, probably the older sister, is cooking, serving, and cleaning up after all of these people in her house. Meanwhile, Mary, probably the baby sister, just sits at the feet of Jesus listening to him talk.
Martha loses her temper and says to the Savior of the world, “Jesus! Will you PLEASE tell my sister to help me instead of just sitting there?”
You can just feel her anger and frustration radiating off of her. I imagine everyone became quite silent at that moment and looked at each other awkwardly.
Jesus, though, simply looks at Martha with sorrow mixed with pity. “She’s made the better choice right now, so no. I won’t make her leave.”
Wow. Just wow. Seriously, Jesus? Personally, I have spent most of my life being Martha. Being the oldest of five kids I developed a peacemaker tendency as well as a desire to always be busy. Someone always needed something. Heck, I used to do my brother’s chores to keep him from getting in trouble sometimes. I’m pretty sure he knew it too.
This state of “Martha” followed me into adulthood. Even at 30, if I sit for too long on the couch with things that “need” to be done I find myself feeling overwhelmingly lazy. My to do list rarely consists of less than ten things. Martha and I might as well be the same person.
Somewhere along this journey called Christianity, between bible studies and sermons, I began to believe being “Martha” was wrong. I needed to be “Mary”…only I had no idea how to be “Mary”. My brain isn’t wired that way.
Does that mean my brain is wired wrong?
Am I defective?
Why can’t I just be like Mary?
It comes so naturally to other women.
I’ve cried so many tears of frustration feeling as though something is wrong with me.
Lately I’ve been reading a book by Shauna Niequist called “Present over Perfect”. The woman saw into my soul without ever meeting me.
“Essentially, my identity then depended on outward approval, which changes on a dime….The crucial journey, then, for me, has been from dependence on external expectations, down into my own self, deeper still into God’s view of me, his love for me that doesn’t change, that will not change, that defines and grounds everything.” (page 63)
See? Into my very soul. God wired me this way. Does that mean I need to disregard the “Mary” way of life? Heck, no. It does mean that my life needs to have a better ebb and flow.
I need to learn from the stillness as well as I learn from the busyness. I can’t hear God as well in the busyness, but the silence, well that’s God’s sweet spot and He does a whole lot of talking if I’m willing to be still and listen.
So do you find yourself to be more like Mary or like Martha?
Comment below with your answer or thoughts about the blog.
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