I have been meditating a lot on the story of Mary and Martha, reading commentaries and trying to piece together the thoughts that I have around that story in Luke 10. We know Martha was a God fearing woman, she was likely very capable. Her behaviour in this story, feels like an unfair representation of who she is; if we view the words of Jesus as harsh or uncaring. But what if we look at it another way?
Distraction comes from a place of anxiety and being pulled in two directions. I think Martha really wanted to sit at the table with Jesus, like her sister Mary. Perhaps she had older sibling syndrome, always a bit of a rescuer, or maybe she felt the external pressures of expectation that divided her heart from what it desired most. Did she even realise it? The stirring within her, of her One Thing?
Maybe her life had been a series of obligated choices and living up to the expectations of others. Perhaps Martha had always been compared to Mary, her younger sister? Was Mary more beautiful than Martha, was Mary more spunky, outgoing and maybe Martha just sometimes lived in a place of resentment for what was expected of her. We don’t know. We can only guess.
But we can rightly assume this; Jesus words to her, spoke direct to her heart on the very things that had been whirring about within her all evening; “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her”
Martha was given a choice; to align her feelings to the truth, or to align them to the place of obligation and expectation. I believe Jesus response to her, empowered her and ministered to her. It wasn’t just a cutting rebuke or oversight, He saw her intrinsic value and worth… she was more than just all the peripheral details and duties. She was more than just a great hostess. She was more than just the demands she placed on herself, and then onto others. She was a woman of God. VALUED.
When we don’t recognise our own value, we run the risk of doing as Martha did; projecting our expectations onto others, and failing to see our own pain. Being real with ourselves, with God, is one of the hardest things to do. Thats why I admire Martha. She got real. And you and I need to also.
Real takes trust, courage and vulnerability . When you read about Martha, don’t you naturally have a response of compassion for her? Do you judge her? Do you condemn her and want to tell her what a lousy preoccupied pathetic woman she was that night? Her vulnerability takes us to places that are hard… if Im honest, I cringe just a little… because I think of the times when my ‘internal battle’ revealed itself in the presence of people I wanted to impress. But I relate to her, and she helps me to get honest with myself. I, more than anything, want to draw up a seat beside her and ask her all about that night and what the look was on Jesus face, and did it surprise her, and how did her heart melt.
You and I cant grow, unless were in a place where we are willing to be vulnerable and show up, to get real with ourselves and with God. Its the place where we can discover our TRUE VALUE. We are more than just our issues and challenges, we belong. Thats essential.
Let me be real with you and tell you that belonging is one of the hardest challenges Ive faced. For so many of us, that sense of fear of not belonging can be traced right back to words someone said to us, years and years ago, that carved a pathway in our brain – leading us over and over back to the same conclusion: not really valued. What a lie.
So, todays challenge is to replace the lies with the truth. And thats going to take COURAGE.
I want you to take a piece of paper, and draw a picture of how you see yourself. Anything. An object, animal, plant… be honest.
Next I want you to take another piece of paper, and draw a picture of how you know God sees you. Be vulnerable. Let Him flow through your pencil and express a picture of your value to Him.
Place the two, side by side. Do the two look similar? Or is there a major gap in your thinking as to how He sees you?
And heres the next challenge: Connect with someone today. Ask the Lord who and how and reach out to someone who is on your heart. Don’t expect anything of them, don’t hit them up for weekly prayer meetings or a deep get together. Just ask the Lord how you can celebrate that person today… anonymously drop off a gift? Write them a note? Let them know practically that you care for what they are going through?
Then sit this evening with Gods picture of you and your journal, and allow the Lord to start whispering back into your heart, a sense of value. You are a good mum, you are a good friend, you are worthy, you are valued, you are loved, you are gracious and beautiful, your hands and your heart are His, your mouth is His, your mind is becoming as His is.
….. Next part to come.