I have shared in previous blog posts that I am more of a “Martha” than a “Mary”. I am more comfortable scrubbing toilets, setting up the dining room supply area, and unloading a truck at an Emmaus Walk than I am at praying for the team and those attending the retreat. But my physical limitation due to a deteriorating hip has forced me to cultivate a “Mary” attitude. While I suspect that the good Lord is using this to grow me, I have been a little slow to take heed and there have been consequences (see blog post: When God says “No”).
This past Emmaus Walk I am proud to say that while I did some of the “Martha” stuff, I also learned when to quit and desist, using my abilities to verbally teach others how to organize, set up, and execute, rather than physically doing it myself. Instead of “Show and Tell” it was “Tell and Delegate”. And guess what? It all went well. The world didn’t fall apart because I wasn’t physically involved 24/7. But I did.
It had been a busy week. There had been a plethora of other demands – ones that don’t necessarily require physical activity but did require an emotional and psychological stability, strength and perseverance – questionable in my normal state. And it was in those moments that I realized that I was compensating by overdoing it with mental tasks, organizational skills, and support opportunities to the point that I feel like a nursing mother dog with too many puppies and not enough milk! I was tired, sore, and wanted to run and hide where no one needed me and could find me. “Calgon, take me away!” for those of you old enough to remember the commercial. Or, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”
I have obviously not found the balance and am still being “Martha”. When will I learn to say “no” to new requests, keeping only the ones I can physically AND EMOTIONALLY manage? The problem is that there is so much I want to be a part, so much I can do, so many people I want to help, to share life with, to be with; it’s hard to discern when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. Have you ever felt like that?
Coming close to an emotional lava spew, I finally retreated to the sanctuary of our living room. In the quiet moments (after I whined, complained, and moaned to God, of course) – I just sat. I waited – waited for God. I waited for the quiet voice that told me to “hush, and just be”. It was then I realized my state of being was totally self-inflicted! Again! Rather than a sore body, I have a sore soul. While God does ask us to do really hard things sometimes, I was using my energy and emotion on things not by God’s urging but for my own glory. And then was too exhausted to hear his requests, or do so begrudgingly.
Holly Gerth, in Your Already Amazing writes: “Change is outward while growth is inward.” While I had changed my outward behavior, I had not changed my inward need for busy-ness, and self-achievement. While I may have changed outwardly; my soul was stunted of growth.
Have you been where I am? If so, I pray this pray for both of us: Heavenly Father, thank you for using all my circumstances, whether physical or emotional, to grow me. May I be used for those assignments You place on my path and in my heart and give me the wisdom to know the difference. Lord, you know just what a work in progress I am. I thank you for your patience, your grace and for loving me where I am at. I may not always be in perfect balance, but I pray that I stay right by Your side.