Today, church made me laugh. It was really funny actually. Why? I was convicted. When the pastor spoke, I saw myself and the way that I’ve been acting since the beginning of the new year.
Specifically, it was the story of Mary and Martha that got me going. After a brief summary of the two well-known characters, the pastor asked us who we thought we were. Honestly, at first I couldn’t say. I’d like to think that I’m Mary, but in my heart I knew that I wasn’t. Could I really be like Martha though? I have to admit that I’m not the cleanest person in the world (if you’ve seen my bedroom, then you know what I am talking about).
My sister though, knew exactly who I was. “You’re so Martha,” she said, elbowing me.
“Thaaaanks,” I retorted. I tried to ignore her and listen to the pastor, not willing to accept her words.
“Martha wanted everything to be perfect. She was the host and had invited Jesus over. Martha was trying to serve Jesus through making everything nice. She didn’t understand why her sister could just sit at Jesus’ feet. She thought that Mary was lazy and that annoyed her. Martha tried her best with God through what she did and resented that she had to do it alone.”
I gulped. The pastor had just described how I have indeed been living in the past few months, especially this last week. I’m definitely not a perfect worker, but I have been trying really hard. Life has taken unexpected turns, given me weird feelings, and made things just plain difficult at times. God seemed distant. I’ve had moments of questioning and mornings of silence. Life hasn’t been all that happy for me. So, I’ve been working it off. I guess I thought that crazily doing the dishes so that it would look like they were never even used, staying up late and rising early to finish my schoolwork, and getting dinner on the table every night that it was my turn would make things happier, better, and more Christ-like. Turns out that was wrong.
At the end of the week, I felt like a failure. I was too burnt out to finish all of my tasks. I was stressed, worried, and upset. And God? I still had the same old questions for Him. Nothing was better through trying to just keep doing things constantly. I was only burnt-out.
“Because you’ll never finish everything on your list and if Jesus is at the bottom you’ll never get to Him…”
It’s true. So true. Frighteningly, true. Jesus wasn’t exactly at my bottom. Actually, I’ve read my bible most days and the motivation was to please Him. Yet, I was trying for happiness for everyone, perfection, the impossible. I was expecting too much of myself. I went way too far. And worst of all, I was doing it on my own. Yeah, I’d pray and stuff, but ultimitely I thought that through my hands doing the dishes and my brain working at the Civilizations homework and English essays, that I would work it all out.
But it didn’t work out and I realized that for sure today. Like the pastor acknowledged, “Martha has great qualities” yet I need something different. Something better. I need God. Not because He needs me or my family will be happy or I’ll get good grades in school and become a responsible adult sooner. But because I simply can’t do it on my own.
So here I am, God, at your feet again. Thanks for always taking me back, again and again.