When I Can’t Stop. Being. Martha.

Despite a week-long stomach bug, I am electrified by the seasonal jolt of tidying, purging, and systemizing. Even though I’m weak and can’t even think about food, I’ve been heaving boxes up and down from the basement, organizing closets/ drawers/ purses/ anything, and lugging the Christmas Tree out to the front porch where it will get a third life as a bird feeder. I am normally a tidy-up-er anyway, so put me in the week after Christmas, and wow: anything that was straggling, stagnating, or spiraling out of control is being pulled back into orbit.

Being in the midst of this season, I noticed that I often wake up with a mission to organize. Too often, I can’t begin my quiet time with the Lord without first washing some dishes, clearing my desk, or cleaning the sunroom. To be honest, some days I can’t really talk to God unless I’ve checked a few things off of my to-do list: there’s something about methodically bringing a little order to my universe that prepares my mind to think on Him and allows me to finally take a breath and say, “Hello…”.

I’ve never liked this about myself.

It feels like my priorities are out of whack.

I want my first thoughts to be of our dear Heavenly Father: I want my first words to be to Him. Yet, as my Bible waits on the desk and prayer waits in my heart, I clean up a pile of LEGOS.

Of course I think about Martha. (The biblical Martha who regretfully scurried about preparing dinner for Jesus while her sister Mary sat at His feet and listened to Him. Jesus said that Mary chose the better thing.)

I imagine the Lord addressing me in the same way that He addressed Martha, “Laura, Laura, you are concerned with many things. Choose the thing that won’t be taken from you, the one thing that will last forever. Come, sit here at my feet and read my Word.”

Humbly, I admit: I just can’t stop myself.

I just can’t stop being Martha.

It’s like I’m trapped by my desire to bring order to my little universe.

I feel like I have to tackle my to-do list (that will be undone by the time all 5 children have at it). I feel like I have to put my work first.

But there He sits, awaiting my attention: Jesus, true Order, the One who holds all things together.

(How could I have missed this all along?)

There He sits, loving to set thing aright, pull things together, and create peace in the midst of chaos. Jesus is passionate about order. He’s always hard at work, purging, organizing, cleaning, straightening out. Always. And when it comes to His beloved children, He just can’t stop Himself.


(Maybe that’s where I get it from?)

At the crack of dawn, He’s at it, beckoning me – and all the other Martha’s – to come into His presence so He can take a good look at us. He wants to gather us close, straighten us up, dust the worldliness from our eyes, and restore our bedraggled souls.

He wants to bring order to our universe.

So, He beckons us to sit with Him first thing in the morning.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, that bringing peace into my hazy, distracted, over-committed soul is far more important to you than organizing the toy room.

And yes, thank you for first-things-first, springing that trap.







2 responses to “When I Can’t Stop. Being. Martha.”

  1. Jamie Avatar

    I have been bowing to the idol of a clean, tidy house this week, claiming it is love for my family that drives me while I run roughshod over their tender spirits. Thanks to Jesus for forgiveness and grace lavished on a repentant heart!
    Last night my 7 year old, who I had been so hard on all week, quietly washed all the supper dishes to surprise me when I finished tending to the sick baby. Talk about humbling.
    So good to hear from you again Laura!

  2. Laura Avatar

    Thank you for sharing that, Jamie. I agree: thanks to Jesus for forgiveness and grace. What a blessing to walk with Him in all of our stumbling, straightening, and surrendering.

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