Asking me to be still with Jesus is like telling a dog to sit-and-stay in a squirrel sanctuary. I’m just not wired that way.
For years I’ve felt like a second-class Christian, guilty for not being spiritual enough to rest in the presence of my creator. Having cancer didn’t help. You’d think it would as I was physically still, confined to bed much of the time, but emotionally my mind churned and I still found it hard.
Maybe you’ve felt that way too. Like you want to sit and Jesus’ feet but find yourself running around getting things done, even when life’s hard, then feeling guilty for doing what comes naturally to you.
If you’re a Make It Happen Captain and someone who likes to get things done, I have good news for you from my friend Katie. She’s wired to be an A-type doer whose felt this guilt as she strived to get more and more checked off her to-do list. Here she reminds us that it’s not important whether we sit and listen or stand and work. What matters is our spiritual posture, knowing we don’t need to earn God’s love.
I took some time to ask this Modern Day Martha, and author of Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done some questions about her new book.
1. Why do you think the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10) causes so many women to feel guilty?
Since Jesus told Martha that she was worried and distracted and that her sister Mary had chosen what was better, we often feel guilty for being wired like Martha. We feel like Mary was the poster child for getting it right and that Martha was discounted because she was worried and distracted.
Many of us have tried to shed the skin of efficiency because we’ve misinterpreted this passage to mean there is something wrong with being made like Martha. But in John 11:5 we see that Jesus loved Martha and her siblings. His correction wasn’t a scolding but an invitation to walk in freedom instead of fret.
2. We usually assume Jesus was criticizing Martha for working too hard. Would you say that is true?
I don’t think Jesus was criticizing Martha’s work ethic (in Luke 10:41-42). In fact, unless He was going to multiply loaves and fishes, someone had to prepare the food. Instead, Jesus addressed Martha’s heart. He wasn’t asking her to stop being a doer, rather He was reminding her that she was a daughter too.
We assume that Jesus was asking Martha to sit down physically like Mary was, but what if He was inviting her soul to rest—even while she continued working?We assume that Jesus was asking Martha to sit down physically like Mary was, but what if He was inviting her soul to rest—even while she continued working? @katiemreid on Click To Tweet
In John 12:2, we see Martha serving again, yet Jesus doesn’t correct her this time. Here, Martha serves from a place of strength and peace instead of a place of striving and stress.
3. You write in your book, Made Like Martha, that many of us assume God is mad at us or disappointed in us. How have you found healing in your life from that assumption?
When you view the world through the lens of perfectionism, you often feel frustrated with yourself and others (and even God) for things not turning out like you want (or expect) them to. For almost forty years I felt like God was mad or disappointed in me. I was expecting myself to be flawless, which is completely unrealistic. It was a losing battle.
BUT, God knew we’d never attain perfection apart from His supernatural intervention which is why He sent His unblemished and only Son to die and rise again. If we choose to believe in Jesus as Savior and confess Him as Lord, we are made clean; perfected, because of what Christ did on our behalf.
For me, the healing came when I realized that Jesus died for me and His love for me was not based on whether I succeeded or failed.
If we are in Christ, our position in His heart is secure. He loves us…even when we are short-fused, whether or not we have a quiet time, even in the midst of tackling our to-do lists.
4. How can we think of Jesus’s words to Martha as an invitation rather than as a criticism?
I think this goes back to what we believe about Jesus. He wasn’t out there pummeling people with judgment on earth (although He had every right to do that), He led with kindness and compassion without compromising the truth. He didn’t mince words with Martha, but demonstrated care and concern by inviting her to choose what was better, as Mary had. Again He wasn’t saying that Mary was better than her, simply that she had chosen what was better in this instance.
Jesus was inviting Martha to exchange her striving for settledness because that was good for her. He wasn’t asking her to become someone else or someone more, but to remember who He was and who she was in light of Him.
5. The idea of keeping things balanced can feel like an uphill climb especially when life’s hard AND busy. How do you personally maintain balance as a busy mom and working woman?
When I hear the word “balance” it makes me think of my one and only gymnastics meet, where I fell off the beam multiple times and was totally embarrassed. I tried to perform perfectly and toppled under the pressure.
The same happen to us if we are approaching balance as something we need to perfect. I prefer to use the word stewardship. I can’t do it all, but I can do the next thing well. It’s impossible to give equal attention to everything on my plate, but I can ask God to help me see who and what needs my attention at present. When I think of all there is to do it is overwhelming, but when I focus on what’s next, it’s seems more doable.
We are humans not machines and we will not always get it right, but when we receive God’s grace and extend it to others, we learn to work from a place of peace instead of striving, knowing that it’s not all up to us to keep the world intact.
Tell us more about yourself, Katie. We want all the fun stuff!
- Lipstick or mascara? Black Mascara!
- Romantic comedy or action thriller? Romantic comedies!
- Salad or fries as your side? I like both with ranch…so it’s a toss up…if I have to pick, tossed salad. 😉
- Batman or Spiderman? Spiderman!
- Winter or summer? Summer…sunshine, a good book, the hammock…divine!
- Snow White or Cinderella? Snow White is a brunette but I like Cinderella’s storyline better.
- Singer or dancer? Singer for sure…but dancing energizes me (except when it wears me out). Also, in my mind I’m a better dancer than I really am.
- Last book you read? An Imperfect Woman by Kim Hyland–good for the heart of the recovering perfectionist.
- Person you’d like to meet most? At the moment? Billy Graham’s mother. I think it’s fascinating to learn about those who’ve played an integral role in the life of those who’ve done great things.
If you want to find out more about Katie, read her book or connect with her outside the book, you can find her on her below.
Katie M. Reid encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life at katiemreid.com. She is a devoted wife and mom to five (loud and wonderful) children. She is a fan of cut-to-the-chase conversations over iced tea. Katie is also a national speaker, co-host of “Stop! Hammock Time” on Facebook Live, and author of Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done.
Author of Made Like Martha + Speaker + Inspiration Doula