My soul groaned as I read “Martha, Martha” as if I could almost hear Jesus say “Mary, Mary”
As I said yesterday I have always seen myself more as a Mary. One day I realized at some point I had become a Martha!
I flopped down into my chair at the kitchen table. I sighed, I was exhausted. Sitting in front of me was all the things I needed for my daily time with Jesus. my mental checklist n through my head “Do I have time to spend with Jesus?”
I was in a phase of busyness. Exhaustion defined my days. I was short with the ones I loved.
My heart yelled, “God don’t you see I need help?”
“I am juggling ALL these things… I’m stressed and exhausted and I cannot do this all alone.”
It all comes clear
Like a hit upside the head, I looked down at the kitchen table and there sat my journal. Wasn’t I doing all the good things? I hadn’t chosen the better thing in I didn’t know how long. As I smiled and hung my head, I knew I Couldn’t give what I didn’t have. what I was trying to do was pour out from an empty pitcher.
I was wringing out a dry sponge expecting water.
As I sat there I felt like Martha running around serving my little brains out. Something great for sure. NOT THE BEST I could have chosen.
I knew what I had to do. I picked up my Bible (aka an app on my phone) and I opened my journal.
SIDE NOTE: I have a healthy dose f Mary and Martha coursing through me. I cycle through the habits and focus of these two women on a regular basis. My heart’s desire is to find a healthy balance between the two of them It is a battle I wage regularly!
Now it’s Your turn.
Are you more of a Mary or a Martha?
If you are a Martha, what can you do to actively pursue more time at the feet of Jesus?
My name is Mary, but it isn’t me I’m talking about! I’m talking about Mary, the sister of Martha. This influential pair of sisters will be Influential women #8 and #9! They go hand in hand. Especially in how they have influenced my life. I can’t have one without the other! Why?
Well because at various points in my life I have chosen to be like Mary..and I have chosen to be like Martha!
Today however we are just going to focus on Mary! I always thought it was neat that identified with Mary the most because I am Mary!
I have never done well with just sitting and doing 10 minutes of “devotions”., wanted more. Yet I have always had people who said “it takes you too long.”
I would get lost in my time with Jesus because I was a sponge and soaked up all the time I could.
I had battled my whole life without knowing how to go about spending time with God. So when I found this rhythm and knowledge I soaked it all in. I discovered that my brain and my heart were way calmer and more organized. Martha wasn’t happy that Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus.
I get the impression that she had been there a while soaking it all in!
So Martha bursts in and complain to Jesus. Jesus listens and proclaims that Mary has chosen the BETTER thing. Not the right thing, the better thing.
When I really got to know Mary I found a friend, a kindred spirit if you will. I wasn’t alone in this desire to just sit and soak in the moments with Jesus. Martha was doing an important thing, caring for those in her home. Jesus however wasn’t going to rebuke Mary for spending time with Him.
But sometimes we give into what the world tells us is most important…
Now it’s Your turn.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you just sat at the feet of Jesus and soaked it all in?
Did people complain about it even though you were choosing the better thing?
That’s what it says in Hebrews 11, otherwise known as the Hall of Faith. However, as I look at Sarah’s life throughout the Old Testament I see Sarah’s struggle with her faith!
She laughed when the Angel of the Lord told Abraham she was going to have a child at 100.
Then when it didn’t happen (in HER timing) she gave her husband her handmaid who immediately got pregnant! In turn, she immediately got bitter about it!
Not to mention the TWO times that they nearly got two other kings in trouble for taking Sarah as their wife because neither she nor her husband trusted God to protect them. They were afraid that since Sarah was SO beautiful that the kings would kill Abraham and take Sarah anyway!
Despite all these BIG struggles of faith, we find Sarah listed in the Hall of Faith!
I see so much of myself in Sarah! I so often let fear be my guide rather than choosing to trust the one who has my absolute best interests in mind. I take matters into my own hands when my timetable isn’t reached and I let bitterness take over when I realize it isn’t EXACTLY what I wanted!
What an amazing reminder to me on my daily walk with Jesus! I can struggle, make mistakes, and still be found faithful. I don’t have to live in a state of depressed regret. I can still be influential in my faith despite all the struggles and falling short.
God can and will use me…IF I LET HIM!
Now It’s Your Turn.
Have you let God use your faith struggles to influence those around you?
Who is someone who has struggled greatly with their faith that has influenced your life for God’s purposes?
This is our first Negative woman of influence: the Nagging wife/ Woman. I’m going to use them interchangeably. This isn’t just a wife problem. Again as a reminder when I say “Woman” in these scenarios I am not talking about a specific woman but a conglomeration of women. The dripping faucet woman is talked about numerous times in Proverbs.
In Proverbs we are told it is better to dwell in the desert alone than with a quarrelsome/ nagging wife (21:19), to dwell in an attic alone than with a nagging wife (25:24, 21:9) and that a quarrelsome wife is as annoying as a constantly dripping faucet (27:15, 19:13).
Well, that paints a picture, doesn’t it? Who wants THAT kind of influence in their lives? Better yet, who wants to be THAT kind of influence in someone else’s life?
I know I don’t but yet we all have those people who can just drip, drip, drip. They like things done within their timetable, how they want it done and the list goes on and on. If you don’t do it to their liking they will continue drip, drip, dripping until you do.
“What if I’m the dripping faucet?”
I’m sure we can all admit that we have all fit into this description at some point because we are all selfish humans at our core. However, it doesn’t mean we should be defined by it!
Ask yourself questions:
Am I always complaining about something?
Am I always unhappy with my circumstances?
Do I expect others to make me happy?
Do I live life with gratitude?
Now I know a lot of people who would say YEAH Mary I am very grateful, I never complain…
I smile and nod but I have also heard them say ” I’m blessed but here is how my life is crappy.”
I’ve heard women say ” Thank You for doing that I greatly appreciate it BUT I would really like it if…..”
Life is hard and I get that. I have had a challenging life. Sometimes we are tempted to wallow in that difficulty and our unhappiness and it is so easy to get caught in the muck and mire of our displeasure with our current circumstances. Sometimes Life is downright GROSS!
Whether it’s our husbands, kids, friends, Bible study group, or just acquaintances we can literally push people to the desert, attic, or the corner of a roof! Putting all of our focus on our frustrations, irritations, and troubles…..hurts our relationships or potential relationships.
So what can we do about it?
#1 FLIP THE FOCUS! So many times we are all focused on ourselves and we miss what is going on in our friends and family’s lives! Ask ourselves “when was the last time I really asked my—– how they were doing and really listened? Do I cut people off because my—– is more important?
#2 Practice Gratitude! In the month of November, we are going to take 4 weeks to focus on Prayer. And weeks 3 will be all about gratitude. I know there have been times when I have been praying and thanking God for something and I catch myself saying “thank you Lord for the……But can you…..”
People, I am here to tell you that is NOT real gratitude. To God, spouses, and friends…..ANYONE!
#3 Change expectations- Realize that only true happiness and Satisfaction come from Jesus and no matter how much we want other people to make us feel complete, happy, and love they can’t. It’s impossible and what you are really expecting them to be is God! They are human. They can’t handle that kind of pressure and will crack under it. Our people love us, they just don’t have God-sized shoulders for that kind of pressure.
Just a note:
when we let them know that they have fallen short it pushes them deeper into the attic, farther to the corner of the roof, and deeper into the desert because they know 2 things:
#1 They can’t meet your expectations.
#2. They know we don’t care about them. (if we did we wouldn’t have those unrealistic expectations, be self-focused, and be ungrateful)
We have the power of changing our negative influence if we fit this nagging woman profile. Will it be easy? Not a chance, because Satan wants us to stay self-focused. We need to ask ourselves “what Kind of influence do we want to have? ” Do we want to drive the people we love to the roof, attic, or desert? OR, do we want to speak life-giving words and influence their lives for God?
SIDE NOTE: Does this mean we should live a fake life where we pretend everything is fantastic? NOPE. Teres nothing wrong with sharing our struggles and being real with where we are. It is when we begin to dominate that it becomes a problem
We have spent a Whole LOT of time here on this blog talking about Esther! It’s no secret this orphan girl turned queen has greatly impacted my life! You can check out her other posts here.
At the beginning of her story, we see a girl whose parents have died and who is being raised by her cousin Mordecai. Then She is kidnapped, and taken to the king’s harem, where she will never be able to leave. She is given a year’s beauty treatments for one night with the king.
Did I mention she was a Jew who along with hundreds of others were exiled from Israel to Media -Persia? No? OOPS! Now that her night with the king was upon her, she was about to face another possible exile. If she didn’t please the king and he chose her as his wife, she would be sent to spend the rest of her life with the rest of the king’s concubines and she would remain there until her dying day.-OR- the king asked for her by name. (Fat chance of that happening.)
She was chosen.
Soon after that though another devastating blow would come. A man by the name of Haman wanted to kill ALL the Jews. This meant that Esther would be executed as well. He had gained permission from the king to make it happen!
Esther a seemingly insignificant girl had to choose bravery in every step of her journey. God had a much bigger plan to use Esther for…for such a time as this!
I so want THAT kind of bravery, to say ” for such a time as this” in whatever circumstances I find myself in! I want to be ready when God says “Mary, I have been preparing you for such a time as this!” and just like Esther, there will be many of those moments!
How about You?
Who has influenced you with their bravery? Let me know in the comments below.