Balancing Life? The Story of Martha and Mary

When I hear this phrase I sometimes wonder if it is even possible. The world comes at us with so many “should’s” it’s a wonder we can even sort it all out.

The world tells us how we “should” take care of our body through proper healthcare, what we eat, how we exercise, the work and/or career we have, and even the amount of finances we have available.

The world tells us how we “should” behave, what choices we “should” make, the environment we “should” live in, how we “should” play, and how much “stress” we should have.

Our Spiritual lives are also governed by the world’s “should’s”. We are told how to pray, what religions we choose, our daily attitude, and it even delves into our self-esteem.

In some future post I will delve into what the world tells us about each of these categories of life and how we might go about discerning for ourselves what is best for each of us and then implement these choices into your own everyday life. However, for today I want to look at it from a global view.

The story of Martha and Mary in the gospel of Luke 10:38-42 are perfect archetypes of anxiety and peace. Martha in her rushing around getting ready for visitors gives us a view of anxiety and how we can get caught up in the doing and the perfectionism. While Mary in her sitting and listening gives us the view of peace and tranquility.

Martha is tending to live in the future. She’s trying to anticipate the needs of the visitors, make sure all are happy and have everything they need. Can you relate to this? I know I can. So many times I want a particular situation to go a certain way. I plan and prepare, and I have a script in my mind of how the activities, conversations, and engagement will happen. To my chagrin, it never goes the way I plan and thus the stress and anxiety begins.

Mary on the other hand, has chosen the best part, according to the story. She is living in the present moment, engaging in the present activity. She is taking life as it comes and enjoying the visitors, knowing they will not be there forever. Mary knows the work will be there once the visitors are gone, but the visitors and their conversations, activities, and the interactions with them will not be there very long. Mary has chosen the better part. She has chosen to live in the present moment rather than living in the past or in the future. Both of which promote anxiety.

How do you identify with Martha?

How do you identify with Mary?

What brings energy to your life?

What drains energy from your life?

Where do you go to “get away”?

Take some time to reflect on the story of Martha and Mary and the life questions posed.

You’re Worth it!

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