“But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,” Luke 10:41 ESV
Oh goodness I have my Martha moments! I am a highly sensitive person and I suffer (for various reasons I won’t bore you with) from hypervigilance, which means that I am on constant alert. I can never seem to relax and I too am anxious and troubled about many things at once. I am like Mary a lot too, but Martha takes up the lion’s share of my time. It is exhausting. My husband says I can leap to terrible conclusions in a single bound of thought. I catastrophise and I really have to work hard at remembering that the Lord told us not to worry and remind myself I have given everything to him to deal with.
Anxiety is a horribly stressful thing to live with and it can quickly spiral out of control. The only way to survive it I find is to pray, to have Mary time to balance out the Martha. Some people struggle to spend time in prayer. I find it absolutely imperative, or as Jesus calls it, “the one necessary (or needful) thing.” We all need to sit at the Lord’s feet, but if we are prone to having our shoulders start creeping up past our ears whenever they are given half a chance, maybe we need it even more. And perhaps, then, even my anxiety and stress can be seen as having a use, since it sends me scurrying back to the Lord and his word so often!
People might seem surprised that I have this problem, this thorn in my flesh. I am often told that I look serene or that I seem peaceful, and I hope, deep down, that I am those things, because I am grounded in God and rooted and established in his love. But I wanted to share this weakness (one of many), because I think it is important to remember that we none of us know what the person next to us is suffering. It is not obvious, and most of us will not volunteer our Achilles’ heels. But life is so tough, isn’t it, to go through holding all these things in, and pretending that all is well?
I wonder if everyone who knew Martha thought of her as very capable, strong and diligent. I wonder if Jesus was the first person to see the pain of the anxiety that was driving her? His sight, his comment, is not a condemnation, I hear it being spoken so gently to her and I imagine Jesus putting his arm around her shoulders as he says it (even though that would have been improper for a Rabbi, but when did that ever bother our Lord?). I imagine too, that it was healing for her to have her weakness given voice, to have it addressed in this way, by her very dear friend, teacher and Messiah.
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