The Girl Who Knew Best

Somewhere along the way, I become a Martha. Do you know what I mean? There’s this story in the Bible. It’s the story about how Jesus speaks into the lives of two women who are desperate for meaning and peace. It goes like this:

Jesus is traveling around town, preaching and teaching and healing folks and Martha, (whose family is already good friends with Jesus and greatly loved by Him) invites Him over to her house. Which amazes me because I rarely invite anyone over to my house unless I’m good and prepared. She must have been good and prepared.

The dishes were probably washed and the floor was swept and the windows were wiped down and the toilet was scrubbed. When I do finally have someone over to the house, I’m usually scrubbing the toilet RIGHT as they are walking in the door. Yeah. I like to live on the edge like that. But, anyways, all Martha probably had left to do was make a meal for the traveling crew, right?

Let’s pause for a minute and consider how Martha processes her life. Martha seems to think that arranging her outer world into something that is neat and tidy and productive will bring her peace. (Raising my hand, ’cause I totally relate.) She’s got this house managing thing down. It’s a well-oiled machine, so long as she’s got some help around here, for Pete’s sake.

So, Jesus comes over with his disciples and he does that thing he does, where he sits and teaches about God and the good life. Mary, Martha’s sister, has a different way of processing life, though. She wants peace, too. But she recognizes that when her inner world is arranged around the Prince of Peace Himself, she is sustained. So, she sits down.

Besides that, she’s hungry. Not necessarily the physical kind. But, the soul kind. She’s soul–parched for something to feed her insides and Jesus speaks these words that nourish her. So, in spite of how socially awkward it is for a woman to sit down and be taught instead of taking care of the house, she sees the value of who Jesus actually is and she pauses for a spell and soaks all His life-giving words in.

Well, Martha was like, “What the heck? HE HAVE STUFF TO DO!” Probably Martha couldn’t relax because she just really wanted everyone to feel cared for. But, then she started to feel like she was the only one doing the work around there. So, she was like, “Um…Jesus?! Could you tell that girl to get off her rumpus and do some PRODUCTIVE THINGS AROUND HERE?” And Jesus stayed all calm and steady and said some things to her. Some things that may have gone like this: “Martha. You’re an amazing house-keeper. You take such good care of people. Good job, friend. I see how hard you’re working. You are on top of it. But, listen, sis. You’re stressin’ out about way too many things. Just relax. Take a deep breath. It’s okay to pause and get your soul nourished. That’s all Mary is doing. She’s doing the most important thing. No one can take that away from her.” (See Luke 10:38-42)

I feel a lot like Martha when I let my outer world dictate how my inner world is doing. And it’s not that my outer world isn’t important because it is. It affects us a lot. Besides, God made us to be managers of things. To be artists and builders and inventors and people who produce. It’s okay that I like my space cleaned up. It’s okay that I like the laundry kept up with and that I painted my walls to make my space pretty and that I want to teach my kids to pick up their crud. But, it’s not okay when I let that be the most important thing. Like, “EVERYBODY! Get with it! We have to do ALL THE THINGS! We have to do them NOW! We have to maintain, maintain, maintain! Keep marking stuff off our lists so we can have some peace!” Yeah, that doesn’t really bring us any peace.

You know what brings me peace? Focused time with God and attention to Him. Just sitting down and letting His words soak into me and sun-bathing in the warmth of His goodness and love.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot what brings me peace. And then I got the flu for a few days. There’s something about laying in bed and staring up at the ceiling for hours on end that teaches you the meaning of life. In those moments, God reminded me that my worth and value is in Him, not in all the stuff I’m doing right. I’m made in God’s image. I bear His reflection in the world.

I want my life to be shaped by God’s Spirit. I’m on the hunt for an inner world where God is Father, King and Friend and He’s close and felt and enjoyed and communed with. So, I need to carve out stretches of time where I can just sit and be with God. Where I can listen for His still small voice.

We aren’t just made to do, do, do. We are made for relationship with our Creator. There will be times when I will simply need to be still. To get the Scriptures out and write them down and let them attend to me. I’ll need to tell my Father about the things bothering me. The insecurities that come up that I don’t know what to do with. I’ll need to listen for His voice. It’s how I can be filled up with God so that I can better help the world. This is health for my soul.

The Scriptures say that Mary “chose the good part” and that it wouldn’t be taken away from her. Mary knew best. Every day I get a choice. I can run myself ragged. Or I can tend to my inner world and let everything else flow from that. I want to choose the good part too.



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