I’m always struggling with balance. For me, my work is such a calling that I can easily fall into the trap of allowing it to crowd out everything else – relationships, recreation (re-creation), and rest. Lately, I’ve been out of balance. On some level, I was aware of this, but it became abundantly clear when someone asked me what I did for fun, how I enjoyed my spare time, and I couldn’t think of an answer.
I’m a Type-A perfectionist, and that’s not always a healthy thing to be. These tendencies, if left unchecked, can result in poor physical health, poor emotional health, poor spiritual health. But answers come from unexpected places sometimes. This was our scripture lesson a couple of Sundays ago in church:
Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)
At the Home of Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
While the theme of the sermon was “hospitality,” this passage resonated with me in a different way. Martha was bustling around “distracted by all the preparations” – undoubtedly tidying the house, and preparing food for their guest. Mary wasn’t helping, and not only that – she was fully engaged with their visitor, their friend, their rabbi. Mary had chosen relationship over “distraction,” had chosen to listen to wisdom rather than being caught up in the blather of daily living. And Jesus said she had made the better choice.
I am Martha. I don’t know if I’ll ever be fully like Mary, but I remember this scripture when my Type-A perfectionist side comes out.
I say to myself, “More Mary, less Martha.”