WHO IS KRISTIN? wife since 2010 (Hubby J), mother since 2014 (Baby O), list maker
Also, I’m a former teacher who loves education! I work for a private, non-profit encouraging middle school students to make wise choices now to prepare them for higher education.
Why Martha? Why my dilemma? Why this blog?
It was 8 o’clock. Baby O was down for the night. And I was officially overwhelmed by the list. I had worked myself into a pile of tears and was seriously upset at my husband – again, surprise, surprise – and my belief in his lack of helping me. He had reached an emotional bridge as well. He told me all the ways he had tried to help me – making dinner, cleaning up this, taking care of that – the man really is incredible, and I always get blindsided by the never ending piles of “next project.” Finally, he firmly said: “You’ve got to stop somewhere. You’ve got to give yourself permission to take a break.” You have to choose things you want to do, for your own well-being, over “the list.”
Martha was a pretty famous woman in the New Testament. Citing women’s stories in the Bible is rare. But Martha was listed in a number of the Gospels: Luke 10, John 11, John 12. Martha and her siblings Mary and Lazarus had a close relationship with Jesus. Jesus went to their home to relax, not the home of his mother Mary and biological siblings. He deeply loved them, and wept when he came to their home as he found Lazarus dead – and subsequently raised him back to life. And Martha was also taking care of those she loved.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. (38) She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. (39) But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (40) “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, (41) but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NIV
I spent many years confused and upset by this story. How is what I perceived as Mary’s laziness better than Martha taking care of the people and things around her? I didn’t understand this until a church sermon some Sunday a few years ago, when the pastor explained it in a way I understood. Mary wasn’t being lazy; she was choosing relational time with others over so many tasks to accomplish. You’ve heard it before: People near death don’t wish they had spent more time working; they wish they had spent it with people or just enjoying this life!
But today’s society is centered around getting more done, getting better results, just get, get, get! I actually feel guilty when choosing rest time over accomplishing something, and I think many women would agree they feel the same way. So here I am, friends, trying to choose life over the to-do list. Join me in my journey.
Final Warning: I say “y’all” a lot when I write. I don’t really say it that much in real life. And I’m definitely not from the south. It just sounds good in writing. At least I think so.