Posted by: S. L. Doss | December 31, 2016

I Need a Name Change

I’m a worker. Always have been. I don’t like to stand around. At potlucks at church, I’m washing dishes or cleaning tables. I’m adding to my task list by the hour. If you need something done, you could usually ask me and I will do it. I’ll fit it into my calendar somehow.

Even in my “relaxing” time, I’m doing something: crocheting, knitting, sketching, coloring, etc. My hands generally do not stay still. And let’s not talk about my brain! It never rests. I’m constantly grinding numbers for our budget, running over my to-do list, mulling the homeschool blog post I just read…you get the picture. Even in my sleep, my brain doesn’t shut off.

I have many, many irons in the fire, yet I have a hard time saying no. It’s my nature. In fact, my primary love language is acts of service.

Now, there’s really nothing wrong with wanting to help people, until that helpfulness consumes you, until you are so busy helping that you are overwhelmed.

I came to the realization the other day that I have a Martha spirit when I should be a Mary. In the Bible Jesus had friends in Bethany named Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. When he was in the area, Jesus would spend time with them. Martha was the doer.  She was always making supper, keeping the house clean and taking care of everything. Mary, on the other hand, spent much of that time sitting at Jesus’s feet and spending time with him. Martha would get angry at Mary because Mary would not help her with the supper preparation and Martha felt very overwhelmed. I have found myself in this place just recently. I have lots of responsibilities at church, such as Sunday school teacher, drama leader, helping with the overhead projector, and many other things. I also help my husband behind the scenes with his food blog. I work full time. And if that wasn’t enough, I research and prepare homeschool lessons for our son. I am a Martha.

I found myself getting frustrated with everyone around me and making critical remarks about a post that my pastor had put on Facebook the other day from prayer-meeting. In that post, he showed a picture of a man kneeling on the floor with head bowed low and in deep prayer and worship. Pastor wrote that this is how we all should approach the throne of God. What he meant is that we must all humbly approach God in worship and admiration and seek his face and be completely yielded to him. But in my overwhelmed, busy, Martha heart I was irritated because Pastor praised someone who was simply praying and has never praised me for all the hard work I’ve been doing.

How prideful!

How self-centered!

What self-righteousness and selfishness had overcome my spirit! I grumbled and spouted jealous words, enough that my husband had to tell me that I needed to check myself and analyze my spirit. Through prayer and self-evaluation, I realized that I had gotten so busy “doing” that I forgot how to just “be”. I forgot how to just bask in God’s presence and seek the peace that passes all understanding, how to find rest in the chaotic world around me.

When Martha complained to Jesus about Mary not helping, Jesus told her that Mary found the better way and pretty much told Martha that she was getting too encumbered with life. I realized that all my doing had made me dissatisfied with a lot of things around me. I didn’t find joy in prayer meeting because I thought about all the things that I needed to get done. I stayed up late watching TV or working on other things and then I’d be very tired in the morning so I wouldn’t pray and read the Bible like I should. I didn’t worship with abandon at church because I had disconnected myself from the spirit of God and had become more worried about what people think of me than spending time with my Lord. I realized that I needed to change my name from Martha to Mary and learn how to let the busyness go and just be satisfied in the presence of the Lord.

Will it be easy? No, it will go against my very nature. But, the Bible says that when we are born again we become a new creature. The old man passes away and we become new. So if I truly yield myself to God and allow him to make me new, he will change my old nature into what he desires me to be. I just have to be willing and obedient and he will do the rest. Otherwise, if I were to have to do it all on my own , then I would simply be feeding my Martha nature and adding even more to my massive to-do list. I would in essence be defeating the purpose!

So, I’m going to spend some time at the feet of Jesus this next year and let him change my name. I want 2017 to be the year that I become a Mary.

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