I’m not going to beat around the bush…I’m just going to say it. I am stubborn.
Okay, now that Jim has stopped laughing, I can elaborate. I don’t like to admit that I can’t take care of things…especially when it comes to my home. Oh, I don’t mind if it’s something that would require a professional…I’m talking about the normal, day in and day out upkeep of our home. I’d like to say that it began when this illness hit back in April…but I think its important to be honest, so I won’t say that.
When I was growing up, my tendancy was to quit when things got tough. I would try to accomplish something, but the first time a negative comment came my way, I quit. “You can’t do that, you are a girl”…”You aren’t smart enough or pretty enough”…”You’ll never amount to anything.” And so, I believed them. “They are right…I can’t do this.” This obviously had an adverse effect on my self-esteem. I felt like I wasn’t worth anything so why should I even try. It just became easier and easier to quit when things didn’t go my way.
Somewhere along the way, this attitude was replaced by one of needing to prove myself to others. To keep going, no matter what the result or cost. I didn’t need to ask for help…I just needed to suck it up and take care of things myself. And so, I went from one extreme to the other.
I remember sitting in an adult Bible study one time and discussing the story of Mary and Martha. These were the two sisters of Lazarus, the man that Jesus brought back from the dead. Earlier though, there is a story of Jesus coming to visit their home.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:39-42
That’s me…Martha, Martha…worried about so many little things that distract me from what I should actually be doing. Trying to do it all myself and then grumbling because no one is helping me. Now some may look at that story and say, “Hey, Martha was justified…after all, Mary was just sitting there!” That’s the way I used to look at it. Now I wonder if Martha, like me, tried to do everything herself. If she shooed Mary away so she could prepare things her way. I wonder if she wanted Jesus to see her working hard and be impressed.
Imagine Jesus came to your home. I’m sure if you are like me that you would want your house to be clean, food to be prepared, the children to be on their best behavior. I would want everything to be perfect, so Jesus could look at me and be impressed. But do you really believe that if Jesus were to appear to you in your home right this minute, he would be concerned with dust or unfolded laundry or children’s toys scattered about? These things are important to us…but I think Jesus would be more concerned about you and me and if our hearts were filled with his love. He would want us to be like Mary and sit and listen to him, not running about, trying to tidy our living room or slap together a meal.
I need to accept my limits. I need to acknowledge when my body tells me it has had enough. I need to let those around me help me when they offer and not try to be a “Martha”. I need to let them have the blessing that comes from helping me…just as I enjoy that same blessing when I help others. I need to quit being so stubborn and sit at Jesus’ feet and listen.
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry –Psalm 40:1