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Somewhere Between Martha and Mary

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary by Diego Velazquez

Do you know the story of Martha and Mary in the bible?  In it, Jesus is over to visit at their house.  Martha gets busy preparing a meal and serving the guests that are there.  (Let’s face it–Jesus traveled with quite a posse of disciples.  And seeing some of the things they said and did during their three years with him, they didn’t mind being waited on.)  Mary sits at Jesus’ feet with the guests.  Martha eventually gets angry at being left to do everything for everyone on her own.  She’s not getting any help–nor any time with Jesus.  So she loudly complains and asks Jesus to make Mary come in and help her.  What she asked wasn’t unreasonable–she wanted her sister to share some of the burden.  But Jesus rebukes her, and tells her that Mary has chosen wisely.  I can only imagine Martha’s open-mouthed gape…after all, someone has to do the work.  Don’t they?

I can’t say that I blame Martha.  I sometimes think that Martha gets a bad rap by Christian teachers (who are just as often found overworking and ignoring their spiritual life) for wanting Mary to help.  This is something I often struggle with.  By nature I tend to be more of a Mary–sitting and enjoying life.  But to be able to sit and enjoy life, work must be done.  Often when you are called into a vocation or ministry, the workload is overwhelming.  There is always more to do–or more people to help–than any one person can do.  But you are supposed to do it, right?  Someone has to! And if you are living a God-given dream and calling, then you actually love to do it.  The key (and often the biggest difficulty) is in learning what is for you to do, and what is for you to leave for others to do.  And that leaving for others to do can be very, very hard.  Painful, even.  What if no one picks it up?  What if they do it WRONG?

Right now I’m smack in the middle of my busiest season for work.  Black Friday is approaching, and all of the madness that it entails.  I won’t get much of a break for the next ten days or so.  And I find myself slightly resenting that–resenting that everyone else will get a Thanksgiving day.  I won’t.  I will be working.  Even this week, the deals are rolling out hourly–it is a huge part of my job to keep up with them.  I know that I love finding deals and I will feel excited during these days.  I will want to be in front of that laptop all weekend long.

Yet my family needs my attention.  I need some peace each day.  My husband would like to see more of me than just what he can see over the edge of the laptop.  And most, I need time with Jesus.  I need time each day to just sit at his feet.  Even if only for a few minutes–I need that.

It is a constant struggle.  I wake up with a list of things needing to be done in my mind.  I go to sleep with a list for tomorrow being formed in my head.  It is very easy for me to work 12 hours in a day without batting an eye.  So I am trying to put a few oases of peace and breaks into my day.  I start by snuggling with my kids for a few minutes before they get ready for school.  Then another snuggle when they get off the bus.  I play worship music in my office much of the morning, and stop to raise my hands and worship for a favorite verse in a favorite song.  I am blessed with a husband who supports me–who helps out by getting dinner for all of us, by checking their homework, and by handling bedtimes.  So I *try* to remember to reward him with a little time as well.  This blog–this helps as well.  Sharing what I know, what I’m struggling with, what I’m learning.  It helps. Now, if I can just remember that not every deal needs to be reported; that there are some things that should be left to others to do.  That’s the biggest struggle of all!

So right now when you find me, hopefully I’ll be somewhere between Martha and Mary.

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