I think it finally hit me in the Chick-fil-A drive through.
I had just finished a long day in the office, two children in the backseat, waiting at a window for dinner, texting my husband to see where we could meet to pass off my three year old, so I could make it to a Girl Scout meeting with my six year old (in the next 30 minutes), remembering that tomorrow is “teacher appreciation” at school and trying to figure out what gift we had on hand to bring – that I realized I didn’t have a life, life had me. Actually it felt like life was sitting on my chest making it hard to breathe.
Life for a woman is like her purse, she will fill it with everything she needs for survival and try to look good doing it. She’ll walk with a limp because the purse weighs 75 pounds and drags one shoulder down at a 45 degree angle before she sacrifices one item in there. If we aren’t careful that’s how we’ll live – so busy, so choked full that we limp around dragging it behind us instead of really enjoying all it has to offer.
The good news is this is not a new phenomenon. The bad news is this is not a new phenomenon. There’s a well known story about a woman who loaded herself up, and at the breakpoint, confronted her Savior. Their conversation and the scene captured in Luke 10:38 – 42 has a lot to offer us in the age of carpool, girl scouts, swim team, girl’s night out, and the 40 hour work week.
Here’s the scene, Jesus’ ministry is in full swing. He’s just sent out 72 “missionaries” who’ve come home with amazing stories of success. His parables like “Good Samaritan” are blockbusters. Jesus’ popularity and his following are setting records. He comes into a village and Martha is eager to open her home and entertain this amazing teacher, popular leader, compelling speaker. Imagine having the chance to welcome your favorite author, speaker, or leader into your home, today. For me it would be a hard choice between Margaret Thatcher and Joyce Meyers.
Martha is eager to make Jesus welcome and she just about kills herself doing it. She’s cleaning, she’s cooking, she’s making the preparations and her sister is just sitting at Jesus’ feet, soaking up his words. When dirty looks and well timed coughs didn’t get the point across, Martha goes to Jesus and tells him to tell Mary to get off her duff and start working. (How’s that for passive aggressive?)
Have you been there? I know I have – and it wasn’t even Jesus coming to visit – it was a bunch of Kindergartners. I wanted Avery to get to know some of the neighborhood kids (a worthy goal) and I invited everyone over to my house for a tea party on a Sunday afternoon. I cleaned my house for a bunch of 6 year olds, I got out my tea pots and china, planned a menu, and helped the girls make cupcakes. It was ridiculous. Todd could tell things were nuts because the next thing I noticed was the car backing down the driveway and he and Owen fleeing the house like refugees seeking asylum.
After the dust settled, the cake icing cleaned up, the china washed and put away, I started asking myself, what had made the afternoon so exhausting? The girls, the games, the food? I was shocked to learn the answer was, me.
Martha made the same startling discovery standing in her home 2,000 year earlier, food everywhere, broom in hand when Jesus’ answers with the perfect combination of compassion and honesty. “Martha, Martha, 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 10:41).
When you feel like life is a burden and dragging you around by the neck, take inventory and see if you are the one increasing your burden. Martha needed a simple meal and a place for Jesus to rest from a day’s travels. Her preparations and the time she spent away from the feet of Jesus show us she doubled her burden unnecessarily. Avery wanted to have a few friends over – and I created a production and tried to channel Martha Stewart on a Sunday afternoon. I doubled my burden unnecessarily.
Are you living life dragging around a heavy purse? Sort through every item crammed inside. Remember, Jesus only asks you for one thing and that should be easy to spot.
That’s what I call Revived, Encouraged and Valued.