Well, Thanksgiving has once again come and gone. Christmas and New Year’s is just around the corner. The weather outside has changed, the leaves have fallen, and the grass has turned brown. For some women this is an exciting time of the year: shopping, food, family and holiday eggnog. Their grandchildren have come to visit and are running around the house, breaking their parent’s valuable heirlooms while warming the hearts of their grandmothers.
Perhaps Not So Joyous…
On the other hand, for some women this holiday season is not as joyous. For these women jingle bells is just a bunch of noise, winter wonderland has turned into a mud slushy that they are responsible for cleaning. For these women, the dreams of staying up all night cooking and cleaning has turned into frustrating nightmares.
Can you relate? I can. I have often found myself staying up the night before a holiday gathering in my home, cleaning areas of the house that no one will ever see and laboring in the kitchen while guests mix and mingle around me. Tis the season to be jolly, right! Wrong! This is the moment when I begin to feel as though the responsibilities of life have excluded me from all the reindeer games. Everyone gets to play while I get to work: wash the dishes, vacuum the food off the floors, polish and store the china, take down the holiday decorations, etc. etc. etc.
I Can Relate
My sister, I can relate with you and I know from my own personal conversations with Jesus that we don’t have to give these thoughts and feelings a resting place in our heart (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). God cares for us (1 Peter 5:6-7) and He does not desire for His daughters to be stressed out and worn down. We know this because He promised not to put more on us that we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).
However, in order to understand these feelings, some of us have to come to grips with the reality that maybe we have brought these things on ourselves. Some of us are overachievers to the third power. Many of us were not content this holiday season with having a small family gathering. Some of us sent out invitations that read “You and your Plus 10 are invited.” However, for those of you who are saying, “Well it seemed like a good idea at the time” – take heed and know that I too am learning to reel in my “good ideas” knowing that in the end I am the one that will feel like I have been appointed by all of my friends and family to be the maid, the cook, the babysitter, and the butler. These are the lies that we must take captive by acknowledging that we have brought this upon ourselves.
Ultimately, there are moments in life when we must stop the madness of the moment, take an assessment of our current situation, and ask ourselves: do I really need three pies, six cakes, and eight flavors of punch? Will anyone really notice if I don’t dust the bottom of the stair railing or organize the boxes in the garage? Stop and assess did you really need to visit all of your relatives on Thanksgiving Day, or could you have narrowed your list to one or two close relatives, or better still, maybe you could have taken a much needed restful nap and called your relatives when you awoke.
Two Holiday Questions
Ultimately the two questions on the table for many of us in this Holiday season are:
- What is the best use of my time?
- How will God be most glorified in the use of my time?
To answer these questions we can look to the Bible at the conversation between Martha and Jesus:
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her (Luke 10:38–42 NASB).
In this passage we find Jesus, before His ascension, traveling to Jerusalem. On His way, He stops in a village of the Samaritans where He finds a woman named Martha who opens her home to Him.
I suppose we could pause here and imagine that Martha has the gift of hospitality and she sees an opportunity to throw the dinner party of all times, a dinner party for Jesus! So, she invites all of her family to attend; she begins the process of cooking and cleaning while her sister Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. Can’t you just imagine the scene: The beans are bubbling, the rice is burning, the bell for the cornbread has just gone off, and the bathrooms still need to be cleaned. We could envision that Martha is now annoyed with her sister who is not helping her at all with the preparations; Mary has kicked off her shoes and is reclining at the feet of Jesus, twirling her hair and smiling up at Him.
Does this sound like a familiar scene at one of your family dinner parties? Robert Stein states, “Martha also wanted to hear Jesus, but the tyranny of the urgent prevented her from doing this. Martha was too easily distracted by less important things (1 Corinthians 7:32–35).” He concludes that “such worries choke out the Word of God.” Are you choking out the Word of God in your life by filling every waking moment with the tyranny of the urgent, the less important things of life? Do you have so many “good things” going on that you don’t have time for the greatest thing of all, sincere devotion to the Lord!
If you find that your life resembles more of the Martha way of life than Mary, the following are a few things you can consider in this wonderful holiday season:
- Am I so busy that I forget to evaluate if God is most glorified in my busy schedule (1 Corinthians 10:31)?
- Am I so busy that I am too busy to attend to my own personal spiritual matters such as: attending church functions or reading God’s Word (Hebrews 10:25; 2 Timothy 2:15)?
- Is my calendar so full that I can’t make room for a sister in Christ who is hurting and needs encouragement (Hebrews 3:13)?
- Is my life filled with my idea of perfection – meaning – am I striving for perfection or am I moment by moment seeking to grow up in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)?
- Am I so busy tweeting, texting, and emailing that I am too busy to spend time praying to the Creator of heaven and earth (1 Thessalonians 5:17)?
- Am I so consumed with condemning others that I miss the areas that I need to work on to be a better Christian Woman, to the glory of God (Matthew 7:3-5)?
If none of these questions prompt you to consider your walk before the Lord, consider the following additional questions, or take a moment and write out some of your own. Only you and God truly know what is going on in your heart.
- What am I preparing for Jesus that is distracting me from listening to Jesus?
- Who do I believe should be helping me but are not? How am I perceiving that person (positively or negatively)?
- What do I believe Jesus ultimately wants from me?
If you truly see that you are living in a Martha world when you should be submitting to a Mary lifestyle, please don’t let this moment pass without examining your heart before the Lord (Galatians 6:4). I pray that this coming New Year will be a year of undistracted devotion to the Lord for you and for me. We are in this race together, may we each consider how we can stimulate one another towards love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). May the Lord bless you in 2013 as you seek out a life of undistracted devotion to Him.
Join the Conversation
In your life this Holiday season, how can you move toward a life of restful connection to Christ?