I’ll confess, I’ve always been more of a Martha wanting to live like Mary. In a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I chatted with Katie Reid, author of “Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done”. If you missed that episode, you can click here to listen: Hope for Overcoming Perfectionism – Episode 83.
Be sure to read to the end for a book giveaway!
When you identify with Martha
I spent my earlier years very much like Martha: a Type-A, driven, achiever, and prized myself on how long my to-do list was, and how much of it I accomplished every day. Until one day…I just couldn’t do any more. That began my journey to understand that God loves you regardless of how much you do for Him. He loves you because of whose you are.
After my husband was diagnosed with his third bout of cancer, I did what I had learned as a child to do: I just jumped in with both feet and did more to make up for what he couldn’t do. My work at the private practice became more and more involved until I was working 100+ hours a week for months and years on end. I worked at the office until midnight, ran home, took a shower, and then napped for a couple of hours before returning to the office at three or four in the morning to do it all over again. Until I couldn’t…
One day I was seeing a patient, when all of a sudden I doubled over in severe pain. I’m not sure how, but I got the patient up front for my staff to help, then returned back to my office where I threw up and passed out. About that time my husband walked into the office and acknowledged, “You don’t look good.”
“I don’t feel well. Something isn’t right.” We went to the emergency room, for what began a long five month bout of fighting for my health, and ultimately my life. I endured two surgeries, was put on five months of medically-induced bed rest, was kept alive on IV-hydration and nutrition, and dwindled down from 113 pounds down to a skeletal 74 pounds.
The “Martha” in me was frustrated that I could no longer “do” all the things that needed to be done. I could no longer be the doctor tending to patients because I had become the patient. During those five months, I was forced to become more like Mary: all I could do was sleep, pray, watch sermons online, and listen to praise and worship music 24×7. When I read the account of Jesus visiting the home of Mary and Martha, I always felt a bit of disappointment and discouragement because it felt like Jesus favored Mary and her personality and temperament more than Martha.
Admittedly, I became very frustrated, and told God that “If this is going to be my life, I’m not sure I want to live it.” While I craved physical healing, what God did during that time was a bit of heart and spiritual healing.
When your Mary heart grows in thankfulness
As I lay in my sick bed, my Martha-self grew frustrated at all I was unable to do, while slowly over time, my Mary-heart grew thankful for time to rest in His presence. During those days, weeks, and months when all I could do was rest in Him, I felt like He shared the most precious, and one of the most important lessons with me.
God loves you because of whose you are
I’ve never heard the audible voice of God, but I sensed His whisper in my heart: “Don’t you see? I’ve never loved you for what you do for me. I love you because you’re mine.”
That unconditional love was foreign to me. My entire life I was praised for what I did, not for who/whose I was. But it brought peace as He continued, “If you go back to working 100 hours a week, I won’t love you more. And if you never return to work another day in your life, I won’t love you any less.”
What a gift that was to my weary soul. When I did finally recover, and returned to the practice just a few hours a week at first, I did so out of my love for Him, rather than out of an obligation or striving to earn His love. I didn’t have to because I already had it.
Whether you relate more to Martha or to Mary, please know, He loves you not because of what you do but because of whose you are.
If you’ve ever struggled with a Mary-Martha type tension, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, Hope for Overcoming Perfectionism – Episode 83, Katie Reid is giving away a free copy of her book, Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about how God looks at the tension between Martha and Mary and you will be entered into the contest.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, December 16, 2020, here on this post. Continental United States only.