Are you a Mary or a Martha?

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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 10:38-42

I’m a Martha by nature. I have an unending need to have things just so. Everything put away. Laundry clean and folded. Dishes done. Floor swept or vacuumed. I used to think that this was one of my best traits. After all, who doesn’t love a clean house? At work, everything was organized perfectly and my desk was spotless. What a great employee I must have been!

After getting married, my outlook started to change a little. Which was more important, mopping the kitchen or spending time with my husband? I’m ashamed to say that I usually chose the former. I still struggle with this, a lot. I joke that I have OCD, but truly I am maybe just a little anal particular about things.

Flash forward to my daughter being born. Those first few weeks, as I’m sure all moms can attest, I barely seemed to be able to take a shower. Suddenly, cleaning the house just wasn’t an option, let alone a priority. And guess what? We all survived. Life went on. And I found that spending time with my little girl, and my husband, was much more rewarding than having a spotless house.

Isn’t this how we are with God? We find ways to circumvent spending time with Him. Yeah, I need to read my bible, but I’d better clean up this table first so I have a nice place to take notes or If I quickly check Facebook before I start, I can find a bible verse to post while I’m reading or I will set aside time to pray tonight when I have everything done and it’s not so hectic; I just don’t have time now. We think things like this, but what we’re really saying is, I have more important things to do than spend time with God or I will be a better Christian if I do [insert task here].

Aren’t we all guilty of this at one time or another? Even now, while I’m at home with my daughter during the day, I find myself filling the time while she naps with housework instead of prayer. I sometimes have to force myself to stop and read my bible instead. Because which is more important, having a clean house or improving my relationship with God?

Satan will attack wherever he sees an opportunity. He will get in your head and convince you that it’s okay to do this and that and this other thing first. Before you know, it you haven’t read your bible or prayed in days – you were just too “busy.” He will convince you this is okay, because look at how wonderful your house looks! He will take whatever is important to you (for me, obviously, having a clean house) and twist it into something that keeps you away from God. Don’t let him! We have to continually to choose to make time for things that bring us closer to God. We have to consciously choose to be a Mary instead of a Martha.


I will follow

Yesterday I quit my job. Without having a backup. Without knowing exactly what I will do. Without having a real plan.

Yesterday I quit my job, because I prayed and prayed and prayed about it and I know that’s what I’m supposed to do. I need to be a stay-at-home mom for my little girl. She is almost two months old, and I cannot imagine leaving her at daycare to go back to work. During the past two months, I have thought about what that would be like. What would it be like to have someone else raising my daughter five days per week, seven hours per day? What would it be like for her to walk her first steps or say her first words when I’m not around? I couldn’t stomach it. I would literally look at her and cry just thinking about it. So I knew I had to figure something out. (If you are a working mom, please do not take offense to this. I know that there are many women who choose to or have to work, and their children flourish.) So I prayed and thought and talked to my husband and prayed some more. And at around four in the morning, I had my answer. I knew God was telling me to stay home.

Yesterday I quit my job, and it’s kind of scary. Let’s be honest, having faith that God will provide is more easily said than done. We aren’t rich. We may have to live paycheck to paycheck for a while. But following God is not easy.

I was listening to a podcast this morning by Dr. Charles Stanley. In it he talked about how we have to be committed to following God. We have to step out and trust that God knows what he’s doing. Think about Abraham. God told him to go and sacrifice his own son, and he went. He didn’t think twice, because he trusted what God was telling him. Dr. Stanley pointed out something I had never before noticed: Abraham says “we” when he tells his servants of  returning.

He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:5 NIV).

Abraham had faith that God would take care of things, and believed that Isaac would come back with him even when it seemed impossible. He was committed to what God told him to do and was counted faithful because of this.

Oh, if I could have faith like that. I try, really I do. But it’s also something I have to consciously work on. I think it’s that way for a lot of people – we know in our heads that God’s plan is right, and that He is taking care of us, but do we really believe it in our hearts? It’s a really difficult concept to grasp and hold onto and truly believe. At least, for me it is.

So, how do I work on this? I pray. I talk to my husband. I try to read my Bible more. And I quit my job. Because in the end, being committed to God means being willing to follow Him even when it’s scary.
Dr. Charles Stanley Podcast