One time, Jesus and his peeps were passing through a town where two sisters lived- Mary and Martha. Martha was a do-er. She knew Jesus was of great importance and so she was freaking out; making all the food, making sure the house was no longer a disaster, preparing so that when He came, He'd feel at home and welcomed. Mary, on the other hand, wasn't so much concerned with any of that. She also knew Jesus was of great importance; so much so, that instead of thinking about making sure it was all perfect for Him, she just sat at His feet, captivated by Him.
Jesus was a Rabbi- a teacher- and when He spoke people listened and that's what He did for the most part. He spoke with authority and was all kinds of clever and He ended up being like a modern day rockstar ( but better). So naturally, when Martha heard He was in town, she started to buzz with her checklists and concerns. I get this. I am her. I am Martha. And then theres MARY, juuuuust SITTING there while Martha is sweating over the details.
If the story ended there I'd feel much better about myself. However... what happens next kicks me in the teeth every time I read it.
Martha gets super frustrated. She sees Mary just sitting around and Martha knows if she could just get up and help her things would get done and it would be much better all around for the guests' experience. She wants it to be a certain way- and she's good at making sure things get done so that the house is lovely and the meal is prepared just right so that... so that... uh... so uh... JUST BECAUSE, ok?
So she, feeling totally justified, asks Jesus assuming He'll take her side over her lazy bones sister "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”
Right? This is what I do to Jon. He's such a Mary. The house could be covered in poop and there could be nothing to offer our guests and he wouldn't know the difference cause he's so busy BEING with them. *scoff
Jesus turns to Martha, who I assume is just frazzled, sweating, looking for validation. He looks at this daughter of His who is working so hard to impress him and says "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Really? REALLY Jesus? Throw me a bone! I mean... throw... MARTHA a bone!
And here we are at the point of all of this. God came down as a man to show us what He's really like, and He does it in Jesus. We look at the way Jesus lived and get a glimpse into the way God operates. So here we have a picture of a woman who LOVES God. She thinks He deserves honor and by golly a clean home and a good meal, right? There's not much wrong with that. However... when that ends up sacrificing actually BEING with God, He lets us know which He'd like for us to let go of.
God prefers presence over performance. And I can't stand it. Why? I'm a performer. I worry about those details that almost nobody cares about... and you know what? They don't matter.
There are a few people to whom the details matter... the look of your home, the way your food is presented when they are guests.. But not Jesus. Nope. Not Him.
So yeah, I married a Mary. Say that 5 times fast. Jon is definitely presence over presentation. It makes me feel like the bad guy sometimes socially. A friend of ours will come over and Jon just sits with them and hangs while I'm sweating over EVERYTHING else. Guess who makes a lasting impression? Guess who makes the other person feel more important, loved and worthy? Yeah, not me.
Jon is teaching me how to be more present than perfect and its so freaking challenging. Its convicting and even embarrassing but... my prayer is that he becomes a bit more considerate of the work load and I become a little less.
My prayer is that I learn how to be. How to enjoy moments with my God, my friends and family without needing everything to look presentable first. I'm not just talking about the house. I'm talking about my heart. My jokes. I want to authentically be able to be with others as I am. Because at the end of the day, I'd rather live a life that's messy but soaked in presence and in really knowing and loving others, really knowing Him than one that's perfect and distant.
While it challenges me to serve a God who just wants me as I am- not a perfect performance, I'm also liberated by that. I get to swim around in a sea of grace that lets me be a hot mess without a damn thing figured out.
Lord, help me float around in condition-less love. Help me swim in Your grace.