When Martha Takes Over Your Life

Jan. 24, 2012

Luke 10:38-24

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

It’s not a good sign when, on Jan. 24th, the only Christmas decorations that have been taken down are the tree and the outside decorations that the hubby took down. I’ve carried some things downstairs to a building pile in the basement. Rick’s gently put a few bags of things there also. I keep thinking one little bump to something in the pile will create a cascading of Christmas decorations. They still are less conspicuous than the decorations in plain sight when someone comes into the house.

Yes, I’ve taken some time here and there to get a bit more rest, spend some time with family and even have had some time with my husband. But I desperately want to put the brakes on life, if even for two days. I want to relish life and not feel like I’m constantly running from the most immediate need to the next. There was the Thursday night when a church meeting was cancelled because of the weather. The Men’s Badger Basketball team was playing on TV. I made a big batch of homemade soup and Rick pleaded with me to just sit on the couch, eat soup and watch the game with him. Everything else waited.

Just once, I’d like to be able to ask Jesus how he kept all the balls in the air and at the right height. Sure, he wasn’t distracted by the constant barrage of e-mail, phone calls and messages, Facebook and the never-ending flow of paper. Seriously: when did Jesus decide to make one more pastoral call or choose more prayer time?  When did he stop futzing with his next message and get an extra hour of sleep?

Yesterday, my Mom had knee replacement surgery. Knowing that I wanted to be at the hospital throughout the day, I took a vacation day. Nonetheless, I lugged an overflowing workbag with me, used the free wireless at the hospital multiple times for e-mail and read over 200 pages of a book for church. On a vacation day? After things went haywire with Mom’s blood pressure and it took too long to get it within an appropriate range, I stayed overnight with her in the critical care unit. I moved some of those vacation hours to this morning and didn’t officially work until this afternoon. But seriously. Could not I stop for one day?

I have struggled with the Martha versus Mary passage for years. I know that I’m cut out of exactly the same cloth as Martha yet privately long to be a more relaxed Mary. We have vacation planned for Feb. 6 – 15. I have already made the long “Things to do before Vacation” list with high expectations of getting everything crossed off the list by Feb. 5. Since our flight is not until Feb. 7, technically, I have one wiggle-room day. How is that for advance planning? What I long for is Feb. 6 to be a wonderful day of packing, exercise and dinner with friends with maybe a load or two of laundry. We’ll see how that pans out. Martha will be looking at the list, deciding what absolutely has to be done and what can wait.

Do you join the band wagon and make New Year’s Resolutions? I haven’t broken any yet, as I haven’t made time to officially name them yet! This is the way to avoid feeling awful about not accomplishing them! High five, Martha!

Unfortunately, the 2012 “strict” exercise schedule still remains elusive. I’ve had “post a blog” on my weekly to-do list for three weeks running. The only way Martha is getting something posted this week is because she is lamenting her unorganized schedule and over-packed life. Way to go, Martha!

I hear myself and others say things like, “When it slows down next week,” “We don’t have much planned for this weekend,” “I’ll try to squeeze it in ____.” I know that I am suppose to be spending 80% of my time doing the 20% of the things that mean the most to me. I’ll do that when I have time to figure out the 20%. (Actually, I pray that I have the 20% figured out.)

I have missed writing the daily blog because this was the one hour a day that I would force myself to pause and reflect upon something meaningful. It allowed me to discover something personally meaningful. If someone else benefited from my writing, this was a bonus. Unfortunately, I have caught myself thinking, “Thank goodness I didn’t commit to continue writing the blog every day! I would not have had time to do it!” Ugh. Martha – can’t you ever take a break?

My jealousy meter registered this afternoon when I called Rick. Grandson Waylan answered the phone and asked where I was. Why wasn’t I at Rick’s parent’s house, playing Bingo with Grandpa, his sister Ellie and Great-Grandma Vielhuber?

What was Martha doing? Not calling Bingo numbers. Oh, how I wanted to be a Mary, play hooky from my afternoon and evening commitments and place dried seeds of corn on faded and slightly curled fifty-year-old Bingo cards. Wonder what the prizes were …

Yesterday, I was always confident my Mom’s blood pressure would stabilize and she would get through those few difficult hours. Nonetheless, it’s almost inhuman to not let your mind wander and remember the memories that captivate your life in those unsure moments. Helping me buy the only sewing machine I’ve ever owned. Making ebleskivers, little Danish popover’s that are a long-standing tradition from my Mom’s family. Teaching us how to decorate the fancy Santa Claus cookies my friend Pam still wants every Christmas.

I know just where I got my Martha blueprint from. Honestly, it’s not the most awful trait she could pass on to her children. As the elder Martha recuperates from surgery these next few weeks, I pray she can indulge and appreciate more Mary time in her life.

But what to do with my Martha tendencies? I’ll deal with that next week, when I have more time, right after I get my “before vacation” list done.

Let us pray: As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after You. You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship You. You alone are my strength, my shield. To You alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship You. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

2 Replies to “When Martha Takes Over Your Life”

  1. Dianne,

    I pray your vacation is wonderful and that you leave work at home. I really liked this article, as we all have a little Martha in us! Since I have had Roella I take a little more Mary time but never enough. I have been remembering the times with and the things my parents passed on, too. We all need to take more time to do the important things and spend time with the important people. I try to realize that more and more and I know God will let the rest of it fall in place. I agree it’s hard to always remember that though.

    I still like the cookies LOL! I did try this year to do cut out cookies and we decorated them with frosting decorators I got from Pampered Chef. We have a long way to go!!!!

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