“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10: 40–42
Oh Martha, you sound so familiar. Reading this scripture hits a little too close to home. I don’t want to be Martha, but I can’t stop long enough to figure out how to be more Mary.
For longer than I’d like to admit, busy meant worthwhile to me.
Busy was a badge of honor, a stripe of virtuous service. Who am I when all of my busy, important things are stripped away? Who am I when it’s only me and God?
This season has been convicting. It’s teaching me how to see my days in a different style of importance — more about God importance vs. world importance. It’s pricked my heart to reveal I am so much more than my accomplishments, my job, my ego-driven activities. It hasn’t been easy to be comfortable with who I am without all my doings, but I’m learning to find peace with it. The habit of Martha is a hard one to let go of, but Jesus calls us to live better.
Perhaps my big fat schedule was my shield with having to do the real things. Perhaps it was my weapon to not let people get too close or to have to be too invested or to emotionally risk too much because it didn’t fit in my day planner. When I’m lost and overwhelmed in my busy state, what I’m truly saying is “I don’t have time for you or for anything else but what I deem important.”
I long to be present like Mary. When a neighbor stops me in the street to share his news about his wife’s health issues, I hate that my first thought is, “how long is this going to take?” When God places people, situations, and opportunities before me, I don’t want my first response to be glancing at the clock or scheduling them on my calendar. I want to be ready to listen, to pray, to love on them. I want to be available to how God is going to use me in this moment.
This season is an incredible chance to consider, how does God want me to use my time? How can I be intentional in seeking Him first before I fill every possible free space? My desire is to listen more, pray more, read the Word more, be present more to all who cross my path. I want to see God at work more. This starts with being here right now.
If you are like me and busy is your default setting, my encouragement is to hit the reset button. Here are some thoughts on refreshing your days to reflect more of the Mary in you.
Rest looks different for everyone. Rest might be taking a walk, having a cup of tea, calling a friend. Rest might mean sitting quietly. Rest is about trusting that God loves you enough to allow you to stop being in motion all the time. Plan rest in your day, every day.
When I am tempted to create more activity or busy-ness, I practice asking what God thinks first. Am I doing the activity out of an unmet need? Am I inviting Him to direct my days? Consider sitting before Christ to allow Him to speak about your activities.
This is a hard one for me. Even my quiet moments feel filled with a running commentary on things to do. The endless chatter in my head fritters away my concentration and ability to be present. I have been working on setting aside what I am doing to truly hear the people I am with. Or if I am by myself, I consider how I can quiet my thoughts to allow God to speak in the spaces of the day.
My goal is to begin the day by saying “whatever Lord.” Not in a flippant sort of way, but in a way that says, “I want what You want, whatever that looks like. Help me not to be so distracted by my good intentions and plans that I miss out on the very best plans that you have for me.” Ask God to show you what needs to be laid down.
Go Ahead, Be Mary.
As we head into the season ahead, my encouragement is to find pauses to be available to God. Take time to marinate in His Word. Practice listening deeply and connecting in a richer way in prayer. Surrender what isn’t serving you anymore and do whatever it takes to be present. Give yourself permission to embrace your Mary side. You are worthy of His abiding love and all He has for you.