If there were a list of things people have ever said about me, I can assure you this would not be on it: “That girl? She really has it together.” Hot mess express? Check. Maybe a little nuts? Probably. You know those people who just exude a sense of balance and peace? I am not them and I will never be them. Thank God, however, I know some of them.
When praying about what to write, I ended up at Mary and Martha. I did not want to end up there. What can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said? I tried to go somewhere else, but here we are. Most of us know the story from Luke 10
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 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!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I think a lot of times, as women, we’ve thought about which category is ours. I fall somewhere in the middle: I’m just over here spinning my wheels but still not getting anything done. It’s almost a cliché to say that women try to do it all. And we don’t want any help with it. Receiving help means we couldn’t do it, and that’s the same as failing, right? Sound familiar?
Some of us are Marys and some of us are Marthas and some of us are an unfortunate mix, but we were all created by this amazing God. And it was not an accident that we ended up the way we are. Maybe it’s a gift that God can use, but we have to let Him use it.
A few months ago, two of my girlfriends got together, came to my house, sent my husband and I out to dinner, and organized my downstairs. They kicked us out of our house so that they could work in peace. It was really hard to turn loose and let them do this. Why can’t I just be more organized myself? Why do I need help? But these girls were not taking no because they knew that I needed it. And I did. I cannot tell you how great a blessing it was when I was finally able to let them do this. They didn’t want to do it so they could judge my mild hoarding issues. They wanted to do it because they love me and wanted to help. We were all blessed by this, both in the giving and the receiving. If I hadn’t let them do this, we would all have missed the blessing.
I was reading “Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People” by Nadia Bolz-Weber (FYI, this book is not everyone’s cup of tea. Language alert), and she talked about blessings. She asked how she could be Christ to someone today, but then she realized that that’s not the right approach:
After meeting Bruce and struggling with what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world when I am so prone to pride, I looked harder at Matthew 25 and realized that if Jesus said “I was hungry and you fed me,” then Christ’s presence is not embodied in those who feed the hungry (as important as that work is), but Christ’s presence is in the hungry being fed. Christ comes not in the form of those who visit the imprisoned but in the imprisoned being cared for. And to be clear, Christ does not come to us as the poor and hungry. Because, as anyone for whom the poor are not an abstraction but actual flesh-and-blood people knows, the poor and hungry and imprisoned are not a romantic special class of Christlike people. And those who meet their needs are not a romantic special class of Christlike people. We all are equally as sinful and saintly as the other. No, Christ comes to us in the needs of the poor and hungry, needs that are met by another so that the gleaming redemption of God might be known. No one gets to play Jesus. But we do get to experience Jesus in that holy place where we meet others’ needs and have our own needs met. We are all the needy and the ones who meet needs. To place ourselves or anyone else in only one category is to lie to ourselves.
Love on people. Let people love on you. Do both of these things often because maybe sometimes you can do it all but sometimes you need to not do any of it, and that’s ok. Sometimes we’re Mary and sometimes we’re Martha, and sometimes we can’t remember who we are. A few months back, my husband was out of town and (of course) the kids were sick. I got a text from a girlfriend just asking for my address. I gave it to her but told her I was fine (I was not). Then she said there would be pizza at my house at five and it was already paid for so I couldn’t say no. Dominos has never tasted so good. I would have said no if she’d asked first, and we both would have missed the blessing.
That day Jesus was in the pizza delivery. How fun is that? You never know where He’s going to be, but you have to receive the blessing to find out.