Confessions of a Martha
Written by Tammy Walls
I freely admit it. I am a recovering Martha. Doing a dozen things at once, nitpicking over details. Working for days, in preparation of a family dinner that, from beginning to end, will last maybe 3 hours. A clean house, graciously set table, perfectly golden-brown homemade yeast rolls, and a dessert that looks as if it stepped off the cover of a Southern Living cookbook. After all, that’s how you demonstrate love for your family, right?
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (NIV 1984)
I know Jesus’ words to be true, yet the Martha and Mary inside me seem to always be battling it out. Each time I crave the comfort of sitting at the feet of my Savior, drinking in His wisdom and truth, my mind ends up drifting to that unrelenting “to do” list. Why is it that I’m a frazzled, overwhelmed mess before I finally slow down long enough to curl up next to the very One who created me? For that matter, the very One who created all those things I’m fussing over.
Throughout this Christmas season, when that battle rages inside me, I pray Mary is victorious over Martha. Do I really have to search for the perfect gifts, when gift cards will do? Does my home really have to look like the set of a movie on the Hallmark Channel? Is that really what it’s all about? Of course it isn’t. We know the answer…. It’s about God coming to us in the form of a tiny baby. A baby who was born to die. For us. For, and despite, all our faults and failures.
Like Jesus’ mother Mary, I want to keep all these things, and ponder them in my heart. Along with being a time of celebratory joy, Christmas should also be a reflective time. A time to quiet ourselves, picturing the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as he lay in a smelly stable, surrounded by equally smelly animals and shepherds.
Yet, overcoming the Martha-Habit is difficult. Very difficult. Less than 24 hours after beginning this blog post, I had to literally make myself stop dragging Christmas decorations up my basement stairs. It’s not necessary to have a Victorian village or Snowbabies display on every surface in my house. And it’s definitely not necessary to create that transformation in one single day.
The icing on the Martha-cake was a few moments ago, while searching for a relevant picture to accompany this post. Having Googled “Mary with Jesus; Martha in kitchen”, one of my first results was a photo of a beautiful Kitchenaid stand mixer. The amazing kind that has a pasta-maker attachment. For a brief moment, everything else disappeared from my brain, and my heart leapt with excitement. Oh, mercy….
Dear gracious Heavenly Father, renew a right spirit within me, removing my desire to create perfection, replacing it with a longing to sit at the feet of the Perfect One. Remind me that, in order to serve others, I must first serve You. Quiet my soul, allowing my heart and mind to be filled with Your presence. Amen.