The Martha Syndrome
She went into high gear planning the menu, scrubbing, mopping, dusting, tidying. Of course, there are invitations to send, shopping to do, food to prepare…the list seemingly endless. Party planning by a Stress Junkie! Can't you relate?
1. Worried (careful – in the KJ)
2. Troubled (bothered – NASB, upset – NIV)
3. About MANY things
Picture this, you’ve been killing yourself for days, everyone is in YOUR house, eating YOUR food, and drinking YOUR wine. This party is all about Jesus, and here he is, he’s putting YOU on the carpet for making sure everything is perfect? And in front of EVERYONE – his friends, your friends, your sister! WOW!And get this part, more than likely Jesus is not limiting his observation to just this day and time. He says “many things”. He’s knows Martha has a bigger problem. One that leaves her helplessly devoted to cooking, cleaning, serving, worrying, hurrying, and troubled. Martha, my dear friends, was a Stress Junkie! Martha could very well be the very first recorded Stress Junkie, proving that we are not the product of a fast society. We are a product of ourselves, our personality, our decisions; for if Martha, who lived two thousand years ago, was Type A, then there’s no blaming society for our problem.
We all know the symptoms. I mean, when was the last time that you sat and enjoyed a party at your house? Was there EVER a time? When was the last time you had a party or even guests for dinner that you didn’t pull out ALL your cookbooks to find something “special” to make? Ever? About that housekeeping, do you really think people are checking the corners, the baseboards, and inside the cabinets for dirt when they're at your house? I know what you're thinking...no, they don't check. And the reason they don't check is because they KNOW when they come to my house, it's clean. Believe me, guests may not notice what I do to prepare, but sure as hell, they'd notice if I DIDN'T do something. I believe that was Martha's dilemma as well. She really really wanted to hang out with Jesus and the guests like her sister. In Martha's mind, if Mary had helped her, then maybe she'd have had the time to sit down and relax. Maybe so...but based on Jesus' take on her situation, probably wouldn't matter. Mary's help would just free Martha's time to go handle some other little detail. So, what do we do with Martha? What do we do with ourselves? Should we be more like Mary? Can we be? There's no doubt that if you're reading this, you're the practical sister. You're the one who's easily distracted by many things that in your mind, HAVE to get done. Everyday tasks, household chores, work, kids, school, husband, church, PTA, soccer games, birthday parties, and so on and so on and so on...
These things have to get done, right? And if not by you, then...frankly, by whom? The answer is simpler said, than achieved. Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to learn how to ride without training wheels? What skill did you need to master? You also need it to roller skate, ice skate, walk a tight rope, actually, you need it just to stand up. It's called BALANCE. We Stress Junkies need to learn how to strike a balance between what needs to get done, and what HAS to be done. We need to take a few minutes out of each day to just stand still. That's right STAND STILL and pause. We need to take a moment or two out of every day to reflect on what's really important. That's all Jesus was saying to Martha. He wasn't bashing her for serving them, he was advising her to set priorities and take the needed time out to enjoy "one good thing", before her time was past. Stress Junkies are notorious for always looking for what's next, rather than what's happening right now. Stop and smell the roses they say, and why not? Why not stop, smell the roses, and a writer friend so eloquently put it...while you're there, deadhead the spent blooms, pull a few weeds, and add some fertilizer. Strike a balance! Or at least for starters, admit one's needed and start there.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linda Lullie is the creator of www.StressJunkies.com, a website for the Type A personalities of the world. She is also co-owner of Inspired 2 Design, LLC – a full service Advertising design & production company specializing in small business marketing. Visit them at www.inspired2designllc.com.