The Business of Busy-ness (Or How to Be a Mary)
Originally posted on February 17, 2012.
When I was younger (who am I kidding — this is still applicable even now), I realized that I had this terrible inability to say no to anyone… and I have a bit of skill when it comes to organizing, so I was asked to do a lot when it came to planning things. Thus began the busy life of Megan Lange, and thus it continues.
At one point during my freshman year, I remember sitting down and realizing that my relationship with Christ was suffering because I was doing so many “good” things that I wasn’t taking any time just to sit and rest with God. As I sat there, it hit me that I had a hard time accepting that God would love me regardless of whether I was involved in five different Bible studies, interning with a campus ministry, leading worship at a church service, and volunteering with my church’s youth group — all activities which were incredibly good — but it didn’t matter how many things I was involved with. God loved me either way.
I still struggle with that concept. My natural inclination is to run around like a chicken with my head cut off until every single task that needs to be done is completed — and I’m good at it.
Lately, however, I’ve begun to learn the value of just sitting and taking time to be instead of constantly doing. It’s such a joy to know that I can curl up on the couch with a mystery novel and just read — and God loves me, even when I’m doing something as frivolous as that. I don’t have to consistently be working on some project or planning some event or doing some really intense Bible study for him to love me… and I’m constantly amazed by that.
It reminds me of Luke 10, verses 38 through 42 (ESV) — the story of Mary and Martha.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
I’m not very good at being a Mary. Actually, let’s rephrase that — I am terrible when it comes to being a Mary. I find myself getting antsy if I’m not constantly doing something — I took up knitting years ago simply because I need something to do with my hands when I don’t have anything else to do (or I bite my nails… blegh). But even so, my life as of late has been more reflective of Mary than it ever was before.
Now, I realize (as I type this) that this past week has been a Martha week — but there’s truth in that sometimes, we need to be Martha to get the job done so that we can take time to be Mary later on. This past week, I was a Martha so that this weekend, I can take a little Mary-time and just sit. And that, my friends, is a beautiful, beautiful thought.
Tonight, I have taken a little time to be Mary (in the midst of this Martha week). Tea, Donald Miller, my Lavender Yankee Candle, and Foy Vance playing in the background… truly glorious. The rose is a gift from Andrew.
It’s not been entirely successful — I cut my hair and cleaned my room and did some laundry — but there have been moments when I was able to just sit and be and talk to God and — well, an hour of that is more rejuvenating than you’d think.
I wish I knew how to tell each of you the best way to go about being a Mary… but I don’t. I think it’s just a journey we each have to take step-by-step to find the appropriate balance between being a Martha and being a Mary. I’m getting there… slowly but steadily, I’m getting there. My hope is that you, too, are on that path — because in my limited experience, this tenuous balance of being Mary and Martha leads to a beautiful relationship with our God. And that, my friends, is what this is really about.