Struggling with my Inner Martha

Georg_Friedrich_Stettner_(attr)_Christus_im_Hause_der_MarthaLast week, one of the Gospel readings included Mary and Martha–a story that has always troubled me a little.  I want to be Mary at Jesus’s feet, but inside I’m Martha, as I think most Americans are.

Luke 10:38-42 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 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.”

When this Gospel reading comes up in the liturgical year, you can see people squirming in the pews a little. After all, we’re all about getting things done and to many of us, we want to complain just as Martha did that those around us aren’t pulling their weight.
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Honoring the Sabbath

Last year, I read 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life by Matthew Sleeth, which examines the role of the Sabbath in our lives.  Since then, I have been working to honor Sunday as my Sabbath.  I think that of all the commandments, this is the one our broken world needs most.  More than anything, we need to slow down and learn to just be.

The Lord asked Moses, “How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you.
Exodus 16:28-29 NLT

For me, the transition has challenged me to evaluate my priorities and adjust my thinking.  The Sabbath really is a gift–a gift that renews and restores us.  Ignoring this commandment hurts us as individuals and as a society.  We’re neglecting our mental and spiritual health, and it shows.
My Sunday this week looked like this:

  • 6:45 AM: Put dogs out, feed horses, and bring dogs in.
  • 7:00 AM: Shower and breakfast.  (Husband made me a very yummy sausage, egg, and cheese omelet!)
  • 7:30 AM: Clean stalls and fill water buckets.
  • 8:30 AM: Leave for church.
  • 945 AM: Facilitate Adult Education discussion.
  • 11:00 AM: Sing with the choir at church.
  • 12:30 PM: Cursillo reunion group.
  • 2:30 PM: Late lunch/early dinner with my husband.
  • 3:00 PM: Ride and feed the horses.
  • 5:30 PM: Feed the dogs. (My boys are big babies and won’t eat without their mama.)
  • 600 PM: Shower and jammies.  Time to curl up on the couch with the dogs and a book.
  • 8:30 PM: Tucked in bed for some prayer and meditation.
  • 9:00 PM: Fast asleep!!!

The things that make me feel closes to Christ are spending time with my church family, my husband, and my animals, so those are the ONLY things I do on the Sabbath.  Well…  That, pray, and worship.  😀
In driving back and forth, I make a point to listen to my favorite Christian music.  I don’t stop for TP or milk.  I might stop for a Diet Coke or a Vanilla Chai at Dunkin Donuts.  But literally NO work.  I was up until 10 the night before making sure everything I consider “work” was done and out of the way before bed.  I don’t even answer email or touch my Bullet Journal on Sundays.  (Anyone who knows me, know that THIS is a struggle!)
The most wonderful part of a day spent in close connection to Christ is waking up on Monday morning refreshed and ready for my week.  My Mondays start with a heart full of love and the desire to do go work in the world.  The Sabbath has become the Lord’s gift to me and the anchor of a balanced, Christ-focused life.
Don’t get me wrong…  I have to work at it!  I have to make a list Saturday morning of everything that needs to be done over the weekend, so Sunday can be a day of rest and worship.  It’s an active, conscious choice, but one very worth the effort.
Do you honor the Sabbath?  If so, when and how?