You’re perhaps familiar with the idea behind this by just reading the title, but let me go a little deeper. By nature, I like a clean, tidy place. Now, I’m not just speaking about my liking cleanliness, but I’m letting you know that having organized spaces are a big deal to me. Everything needs to have its place, drawer, closet, whatever. And that often means that I walk around putting things away constantly – just by virtue of being me and living with, umm, other humans. This also means that something else usually suffers. I end up lacking time for other things (e.g. a devotional), people, or lacking energy on my part.
When I was much younger and heard that story in the Bible where Mary and her sister Martha were contrasted, I recall judging Martha. (And if you don’t know that story, catch up on it here). What was wrong with her anyway? Why couldn’t she just sit still and enjoy Jesus’ company when He visited? Why did she remind me so much of my mum who always seemed to “like” working? Why was she handling the work all by herself to begin with? I had so many questions. Then I got older and found it harder to criticize this woman from the past. Why, you wonder? Well, I started seeing myself in her.
Often, when I know I’m already tired, I may decide that that means I can’t do certain things (like call and encourage a friend), but it certainly still means that I can dust this surface off, quickly vacuum that spot that’s bothering me, sweep that area, wash that sink, or do a quick wipe up of that mirror. After all, who can live with spots on a mirror? Ugh. Bottom line is, before I know it, time has flown, my energy reserves are zapped, and the much needed things to be done, i.e. the things that matter eternally, are once more overlooked. I have so often sought solace, silence, time with Father, just to be. Just to listen in. That’s my heart’s desire. Then my eyes kick in and notice all these things around me that just “have” to be taken care of. I later feel awful when I realize that the time I spent on all those other things (though I’d certainly felt relieved in the short term by them having been done) led to my loss on the one thing my heart most needed and wanted. Ergo cleaner house, drier soul.
I still struggle, trying to figure out a balance: a way for me to both eat my cake and have it. I have discovered so far that there’s no such thing. That in this life, there is always going to be a trade-off, an opportunity cost. It’s just the way things are set up. Which is why we’re often encouraged, from the time we’re kids, to make good choices. The thing now is that one is having to make the best choice out of other great ones. Jesus said to Martha: “Mary has chosen the better option” (my paraphrase). He wasn’t saying that Martha was a twit for opting to make His stay comfortable. He was saying that out of all the action items available, sitting, simply being with Him, will pretty much always take the cake.
That’s my takeaway. That’s the only cake I should be trying to ingest: time with Him…
Yea, heaven help me.
You having the same issues as I?
2 thoughts on “The Martha Syndrome”
You can have your cake and eat it to.
You just have to change the kind of cake you chose!
Let go of the levened cake, chose the unleavened.
Sounds ridiculous, but I know you and you will ponder and come out in true peace!
This was so deep as to be its own parable. 🙂 I WOULD like to know though: what do you mean by letting go of the leavened and going for the unleavened option?