One of my favorite ways to start my morning is to indulge in the stillness and read a few passages in my NIV, Mom’s Devotional Bible. Ever since I was old enough to read, I’ve been a self-help junkie. It’s a bit ironic to me that it took me until my mid-thirties to pick up the best self-help book of all. As I read through it, I never fail to find answers I’ve been looking for in my life through the stories and passages.
Amidst the holiday frenzy and stress and joy of the season, it was Luke 10:38-42 that hit home with me. In this verse, Jesus and his disciples were traveling through a small town where he paid Martha and Mary a visit. Martha was so busy making sure that every little detail was covered for their special guest. After all, the best way to make someone feel loved and appreciated was by waiting on them hand and foot to make them feel at home, right? (Hint:wrong.) In the process, she got really, really stressed out.
Martha ran herself ragged, totally oblivious to the amazing company she had in her home. Making matters worse, her sister Mary wasn’t helping at all. She just sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he had to say. This made Martha really mad. Didn’t she care about making this a PERFECT visit for Jesus?!
Beside herself, she asked Jesus “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” His reply?
“Martha, Martha, 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.”
How many of us spend our time making sure every little detail of life is perfect, only to miss out on the important little ones right in front of us? For as long as I’ve been entertaining,
I have committed the same offenses as well-intentioned Martha. Placing way too much importance on making sure that ever spec of dust has been removed, everyone’s drinks are full, seats are comfortable, and the temperature in the room is perfect. But all this time, I’ve been missing the most important detail. And that’s the one that allowed me to sit with my company and just enjoy that time with them. Returning the gift of their physical presence with every ounce of my mental presence.
The same goes with the day-to-day with children. How often are we wrapped up in the details of cleaning up messes, cooking dinner, doing laundry, keeping in touch with people on social media, etc. that we forget to stop and take that time to just be present with our children?
I’ll be making a conscious effort to be more like Mary. We allow ourselves to be closer to God when we let go of controlling the tiny details, just a bit, in order to enjoy the here-and-now with the loved ones around us.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. And, if you used to be more like Martha, but are now more like Mary, I’d love to hear secrets to your success.