Luke 10:38-42 - As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. "Master, don't you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand." The Master said, "Martha, dear Martha, you're fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it's the main course, and won't be taken from her."
Oh Martha, aren't we all a bit like her? Or a lot like her for that matter? It often feels like we are expected to be like her and if we aren't, we are failing at life in some monumental way.
Very rarely do I have the opportunity to sit and read a magazine from cover to cover. When I actually do find the time, I generally get half way through it and decide that I would rather utilize this rare free time to sleep and then I close the magazine never to open it again. However, the other night I found myself reading from the beginning to the end of a parenting magazine that I subscribed to while I was pregnant with my twins.
I kept my eyes pried open resisting the urge to sleep as I began to read articles from "How to make your kid a go getter, confident child" to "how not to put too many demands on your kid" to "how to tell if your kid is behind where all the other kids are." SERIOUSLY?!?!?! And then between these wonderfully placed stories there are a couple of "how to make yourself look like you have had a full night sleep in the last four years" article where they give you tips on how to make yourself gorgeous in only thirty minutes, which tends to be about 28 minutes more than I typically have.
Talk about pressure!
Along with those articles chalk full of advice, I find myself writing my own articles in my head about what I should be doing, how I should be doing them, when I should be getting them done and with what level of grace they will be accomplished. From teaching my kids ABC's to explaining to them about the moon and the stars, from introducing them to Jesus to making sure they get enough exercise...I have so much to get done.
I often hear women saying, "I'm too busy, my plate is just too full, I'm so overwhelmed..." and though it may be true, is it necessary - and what and who is it busy and full with?
The other night, something about Martha dawned on me while I was on a date with my husband. I sat at the table and watched all these other groups of people conversing over their wonderful dinners. And the favorite topic of conversation? Themselves. We all, whether or not we admit it, tend to be our own favorite subject. And Martha, although she was so busy seemingly tending to Jesus making it be perfect for Him, I think she was thinking about herself and how she would be perceived. Will Jesus think I'm a good host? Will He think I'm a good housekeeper? A fabulous cook? Will he like my decor? And then there was Mary. Not worried about the dust on the book shelf or the appetizer in the oven, she just sat with Jesus hanging on every word He said! Martha had the best of intentions, but she missed the whole point! Jesus didn't care about any of that stuff, He wanted Martha to just be so that He could enjoy her company.
Yet I find myself being Martha so much! I fall into the thought pattern that my kids have to be smart, and cute and well behaved; my house has to be clean and smell like freshly baked cookies; I need to look like the stepford wife and always have a cheery smile on my face no matter how I feel. We read magazines that reaffirm to us the importance of being busy and accomplished. They define what success looks like and how we should measure it within our own family's. We watch talk shows where they talk about beauty and relational issues like they are three easy steps instead of a lifetime of effort. We log on to Facebook and post status updates with our most recent successes so all our "friends" can chime in and tell us how indeed successful we really are. And soon, without realizing it, we start living life like the Sun revolves around our little worlds instead of our little worlds revolving around the Sun.
My twins are turning four on Monday and my baby is going to be one before I know it. I find myself so busy all the time with stuff - and not really important stuff, just stuff. I am too busy to just cuddle and read a book unless it is in the schedule and my kids refer me back to it. Yet all this stuff is not important - I'm missing the main course like Martha. On Sunday morning, I climbed into bed with Lily and Emma came and nestled in next to me. Shortly thereafter, Luke came in and made himself a nice little spot and we all read the book, "I Love You As Much." In that moment, when that small little twin bed was full of laughter and smiles, warmth and love - I knew that I was experiencing the main course. My kids are smart and they will learn how to read. My kids are well rounded and if they aren't right where "normal" is or exceeding it every time, is that really going to ruin their lives? If my house isn't show ready or I'm not 125 pounds - is God going to love me less? NO! He wants me. He wants me to revolve around Him and what He says success is - not what the newest parenting magazine, talk show or even women's bible study says. I want to have a full plate and be busy, but with things that really are important to God - not just things that make me look important to God.
So, are you a Mary or a Martha? Are you revolving around the Sun, or have you slipped into living like the Sun revolves around you? Are you busy with things are truly important to the Lord or just busy with things that make you look important to the Lord?
I encourage you this week to sit in His presence and just be. I encourage you to pray how you can get your world revolving the right way. I challenge you to be busy with what matters - so you don't miss the main course!