Perfection is a word that rings in the ears of most women in our culture. Whether in the work place or at home, the expectation of perfection is all around us. Or at least we think it is.
Growing up in a Christian home, I learned the story of Mary and Martha. These women loved Jesus and had Him in their home many times during His adult life. The first time He came into their house, along with several men, these sisters were excited. Martha got straight to work making lunch for everyone present. She knew what was expected of her in the culture she lived. However, Mary’s excitement came out as she followed the men into the main room and sat at Jesus’ feet to hear His teachings. This was unheard of in the culture. The story continues with Martha becoming quite irritated that Mary was not in the kitchen helping her prepare lunch. Scripture says Martha was “distracted by all the preparations” when she stepped in and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.” (Luke 10:40 NIV)
Martha not only expected perfection in herself and her hostess skills, she expected her sister to help. But in her distraction, she was disconnected from what was actually happening in her own home.
Too often, our expectations of ourselves and others get in the way of the connections we were created for. Today, making lunch is no longer a major production. We can easily make sandwiches, open a few bags of chips and serve it on paper plates with little clean up afterward. But instead of taking the extra time to connect to what is important, we fill it with other things. It may seem like it is getting worse with all the electronics we stare at as we sit with others, but, in reality, before electronics, it was the newspaper or the television, the chores, cooking, work, etc. The list of distractions in our world has always caused a great disconnection among people and what is truly important.
The Lord answered Martha, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42 NIV)
So, how do we become less distracted and more connected? We make a choice.
This story is still a favorite among women in Christian churches. I hear many of them comparing themselves to the sisters. Most say, “I am a Martha.” I have rarely heard, “I am a Mary.” Why? Because it seems shameful, lazy, and does not meet our expectations of what a woman should be.
So, let me say this: I AM A MARY! I would rather forget my phone and sit with a friend over a cup of hot tea than make lunch, do chores, or go to work. I know I drive my husband crazy sometimes when he comes home to a sink full of dirty dishes, but my kids were cuddly today, or we chose to spend the day with friends at the zoo. And guess what!? The dirty dishes were still there when we got back. But the time I have to truly connect with my children, with my friends, with my spouse, that time is fleeting. So for me, I choose connection! Even when it’s hard. Even when I’m busy. Even against expectations.
Connecting is a choice that can change who you are. Choose what is better and find the joy this life has to offer.