Sis, you alright? With everything that has been going on for the last 2-3 weeks, it can become so easy for us to get so wrapped up in all the things we need to do and the things that need to be accomplished. Everybody is talking about the need to create income, start businesses, and the like and criticizing those who are not capitalizing on this "time" to do such. However, it is most alarming to me that in such an uncertain time, no one is talking about managing your mental health and your emotions and/or your spiritual endurance. It made me realize how numb we have become and it seems that the feeling of human emotion has been replaced with the desire to feel busy. Moreover, it seems we have fallen into the proverbial modern malady that we call the workaholic. Some of us are busy being Martha and worried about Mary.
Mary and Martha, who are sisters, open their home to Jesus as he travels with his disciples. As most of us did when we were warned about being quarantined, Martha hurries to ensure the preparations. Mary, on the other hand, simply sits at the feet of Jesus and listens to the wisdom of Christ. As Martha is busy preparing, she says to Jesus, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Jesus replies, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Sis, during this global pandemic, are you being Mary or Martha?
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
I know a lot of us naturally jumped into Martha mode and frantically started “preparing”, whether that was by buying everything off the shelves or leaning in a little more with our side hustles and the need to create. Truthfully, when the "Martha" in me kept rising up, making me feel anxious to "do", I had to find peace in resting and gathering myself mentally. UN-apologetically, I’ve spent the last few weeks being Mary. I have been doing a mixture of resting, spending time with family, and being in Jesus’ presence. Besides, Jesus lets us know in this biblical story that the highest priority in our lives needs to be choosing the good part, as Mary did.
While Martha becomes preoccupied worrying about the preparations of their home, she misses the opportunity to listen and learn from the direct wisdom of Jesus. Mary, on the other hand, was busy using her time to be at the feet of Jesus. When Martha pleads to Jesus that Mary should help her prepare, Jesus responds with, "Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." So using this example, it is clear that it is better to give our full attention when in the presence of the Lord, whether personally as Mary was or when reading the Word of God as we do now. Doing so provides us with the best opportunity to fully understand and incorporate the wisdom from scripture into our beliefs and actions! It also gives us rest and, right now, I definitely think we are in a moment of “being in the presence of the Lord”.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Now, I am not criticizing anyone who has been able to create and truly do so from a healthy place but what I am saying is don’t miss your chance to go in “Mary Mode”. When you find yourself nervous, tense, emotionally drained, frantically moving from one activity to the next like a robot, or all stressed out and really bent out of shape, don’t ignore the reason why! You have become too much Martha and not enough Mary. Don‘t become so frantic about new skills and new income that you don’t, in the words of Jesus, “choose what is better”!! Lastly, for those of you who are not busy learning new skills and creating new income, don't put too much pressure on yourself! If your only focus is regrouping, renewing your mind, making sure you stay sane, and resting, you will not be any less fruitful or successful! It is God, not us and our hustle alone, that determines that!
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Psalm 127:2