As I am laying on the couch, my foot elevated above my heart, the doorbell rings. Once again I have to bite off and chew up my worldly pride (because it is way to big to just swallow whole). Another dear friend enters with another delicious meal prepared for my family due to the fact that my recent foot surgery has limited my abilities to thoroughly do so.
As deeply grateful as I am for every gal that prepared meals for the first 2 weeks after surgery, I am equally embarrassed and distraught that I can’t do it on my own. Ridiculous, I know. If anyone of them were in my position, I would completely do the same thing and help in anyway possible and not once would I ever think they were weak of character. However sick it may appear, I loathe depending on others. I want to be able to do it ALL myself. After all, even Jesus stated, 35 “It is more blessed to give than to receive. ” Unfortunately my perception of how to balance giving to receiving has been way off.
I want to be thought of as a woman who can do it all and successfully spin 50 plates at once. I want to be able to work full-time, be chauffer to all the sporting events or practices for the kids, maintain a spotless house, entertain, take care of the neighbors, the in-laws and generate world peace. If my job requires 20 hours then I’m going to put in 35. I want to wear the American colored and decorated “Wonder Woman” outfit.
Unfortunately, trying to maintain a Wonder Woman status is truly impossible and comes with some major backlash. Physical exhaustion is only the beginning. I say yes when I should have said no. I fail and disappoint because, after all, I am only human. Wonder Woman has little to no opportunities to build, much less maintain, meaningful and deep relationships. I could list a thousand more, but reality is, the one that matters most is realizing that God never called me to be Wonder Woman.
Truly, when I busy myself, trying to do it all, never saying no, who am I really trying to impress? Man or God? As I grow older, and that is happening way faster than I would like, I am less and less concerned with what others think of me and learning more about what pleases God.
Today, I came across the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38 – 42) when they were “entertaining” Jesus. Mary was resting at the feet of Jesus, hanging onto His every word, building relationship, while Martha was busy being Wonder Woman and working at serving Jesus by preparing the meal. It reads;
39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 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.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
First thing that hit me was how it referred to Martha as being “distracted.” (Not sinful, just distracted) Obviously it was important to prepare food for her dinner guest. I’m certain Martha wanted to impress and please her King and how can serving Jesus be wrong. I would also assume it wasn’t just out of pride that she wanted everything to be perfect, but maybe out of love. Martha wasn’t doing anything immoral or sinful. Outsiders would look in her window and see how busily she was scrambling to make the most amazing meal ever and would applaud her hard work. None the less, this noble act of love/service was considered to be a distraction. Distraction from what? It took time away from just being still before Jesus. Hmm! Makes me wonder how many of my good deed, acts of service or noble things that I busy myself with are interfering or disrupting what God would have for me.
Second thing, and I really see myself in this, is how Martha whines that her sister is doing nothing but lounging around while she does all the work. Sounds to me like Martha was finding her value and identity in what she did for Jesus rather than who she was in Jesus. Shamefully, I admit, I have been more like Martha in my life. Instead of being content and accepting Jesus’s love as is, I feel this ridiculous need to earn it.
Finally, these verses give me a way out of the need to sustain my Wonder Woman status. 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
It’s clearly evident that Jesus wants time with me. Time to listen, time to worship, time to absorb His love. The most interesting thing about this verse is the last line, “it will not be taken away from her.” I conclude that what Jesus is trying to communicate is the fact that all the busy tasks we do, no matter how noble or generous or heart felt they are, will not fill us and sustain us through life. So the praise I get for a job well done, or the recognition I get for pushing myself beyond the limits, will never be enough. Only what we receive from sitting at the feet of Jesus is sufficient to fill our hearts. All the tasks I busy myself with may give me “15 minutes of fame,” or a “sugar buzz” at best, but all of that will fade, I will crash hard and I will be frantically looking for the next “fix.” On the contrary, what I receive by breathing in the presence of my maker is a never-ending life support of love and peace. In addition to those things, sitting in His presence will better align my to-do list with His and I will be less inclined to allow distractions to drain and deplete no matter how noble the cause.
Just because it’s good, doesn’t mean it’s God. Being Wonder Woman was a childhood dream, but now that I am older, I realize that trying to do it all can restrict me from allowing Jesus to be all.