Do you recall the story of Mary and Martha found in Luke 10? Jesus had come over to Martha’s home and while she was busy preparing the meal, her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet soaking in every word. Martha got a little upset with Mary for not helping out and asked Jesus to tell her to help. Jesus answered Martha by telling her that “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” There is no doubt that this world and God’s kingdom need both Marys and Marthas….but I just want to be a Mary for a while!
I have been feeling the pressure lately of a life dominated by “kid stuff”. Being a stay-at-home mom and taking on opportunities to serve at church in the Children’s Ministry is a blessing, but can also be a little much at times. I have found that I am not worshiping, studying or having fellowship with God (or grown-ups) as often as I need …or CRAVE. Last night, I “hit the wall” so to speak. I sat down at the computer in tears, and wrote a blog on how overwhelmed I was and how I want to serve but don’t want to fall into the trap of spiritual atrophy. I am a Martha, but I am also a push-over and tend to say “yes” even when I know I should say “no”. That kind of service can lead to an overwhelmed mind and body, a feeling of loneliness and a heart that is certainly not in the right place.
I sent the blog to my sister. She read it and confirmed that she had felt this way in the past and thought that many would relate. But, then she pointed out something to me. “Sometimes the requests are not God asking you to take on more; sometimes they come from “man” who, in desperate need, knows you will say “yes”. Each opportunity to serve should be met with prayer…not a “yes”. If you don’t ask Jesus, how will he tell you to sit at his feet and stop “doing”? “. Wow. I needed those incredibly grounding words. This not only spoke to the situation I was in, but inadvertently confirmed a few other things for me. I need to ask the Lord before taking on a ministry opportunity. I do need to feed myself and take the time to cultivate my relationship with the Lord. I also need to develop relationships with other adults, moms, people….Christians who can hold me up when I fall down like I did last night. Calling on the Lord is first and foremost; but calling on a friend who can give Godly counsel is something of great value as well.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
I need to take each opportunity to God in prayer AND I need to start seeking a support system. I have so surrounded myself with “kid-stuff” that I feel that I don’t dwell in the adult world anymore. This poses problems on many levels, of course, but is a situation it’s easy to slip into. In that initial blog, I was asking for input from you. Have you ever felt this way? How do you find balance? Is it ok to want to be a Mary when Marthas are needed? I feel selfish in feeling that I need to take time to feed myself and deny an opportunity to serve others. I know that some of you are mothers, parents, and teachers who serve at your churches and in the community. I’d love to hear from you. Maybe the wonderful people reading this blog will grow to be the Christian support I need as I seek the Lord and a life with Him.
P.S. Take some time to read today’s devotion on Proverbs 31 called The Rip Current of People-Pleasing. My sister sent me that one too….God is faithful.