Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: My Martha and Mary Experience! Luke 10:38-42
This past Sunday, we hosted our small group for food and fellowship. My husband had a fantastic idea to have a grilled cheese bar where people could get there sandwiches made to order and could choose whatever fixings they liked. It was a SPREAD, you hear me? A SPREAD!!! Brisket, chicken, bacon, eggs, onions, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado, and an assortment of breads and cheeses. It was a great time and I truly am grateful to be able to have a home to open up for others to come in. It’s actually a common goal that Melvin and I share. We really do LOVE to entertain and we even think of it as our marital spiritual gift.
Now…with all of that being said, this has been a process and a learning curve that I have had to go through. As a woman, I think we want the beautiful home with beautiful decor and delicious food. For myself, I want to create an experience for my guests. I want to give you my best because like Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:16, I want people to leave my home refreshed and feeling like my honored guest! A good thing, right? Can be but it comes with a downside. These desires cause me to obsess over things like checking off the massive TO-DO list that I will construct, cleaning diligently and preventing my family from occupying the areas that have deep cleaned. They literally are walking on eggshells around me. Oh and let’s not talk about my attitude….talk about SPICY! I’m stressed, overworked, and flat out miserable!
This plagued me and my poor hubby for years until one day, I got tired of hosting events due to all of this stress. I wasn’t a joyful giver, I wasn’t loving…I was actually short and rude. We are all familiar with the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…the average man that when under certain circumstances morphed into a belligerent man. Well, guys that was me and if left unchecked can still be me! It’s like two different people co-existing in my body. On one hand I want to have any and everybody over so I can serve and love all up on you but then the process of getting there would get me all bent out of shape that by the time the event actually started, I had a scowl on my face and was overwhelmed to the point of discouragement and the inability to enjoy my guests.
Of course, a familiar passage that’s shared in many Christian circles about this very behavior is the story of Martha and Mary. I think most women can relate to the story of sisters, Martha and Mary. For reference, see the verses below:
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a]Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NIV
I sooo want to be Mary. Being able to sit down and enjoy the beauty of my company but then my inner Martha starts to come in and I get to thinking about “Who’s going to organize the food?” “How do we keep the children entertained?” “Oh man! I forgot about this or that!” All of that floods my mind and there I go, rushing down that rabbit hole!
Well this past Sunday after all of our guests left and the smoke cleared, I started to reflect upon the day and started to realize the growth and transformation that I’ve had. It got me to thinking of what has helped me in the area. By no means have I mastered this but I can definitely say that I have improved leaps and bounds. Here are some of my tips:
Prayer with Preparation: I’ll just tell you now, prayer is laced all throughout this thang. I pray over if I should even host an event. I pray for God to prepare my heart. I pray that I remember the overall goal as to why I am having people over and that is to encourage and love others. I pray for me to clearly see what needs to be done. I pray that I can get done what needs to get done but be okay with what doesn’t. After that I make my TO-DO list. This may include the menu, decor, responsibilities needing to be delegated, etc. After praying, my tasks seem to be very focused and streamlined.
Communicate with Melvin: Early on, I would feel like I needed to do everything myself and then get upset that Melvin wasn’t putting in the effort I was. Here’s the thing…people can’t read your mind! We would get in so many petty and stupid arguments all because I wouldn’t just tell him what I needed of him. The great thing about most men is that they look at the big picture while we women are detailed focused. We can’t see the forest for the trees. I cannot tell you how many times Mel has saved me from myself because of this. Mel doesn’t get overwhelmed like I do. He typically is the one that cleans before an event because it doesn’t bother him. He rolls up his sleeves and gets to it while I’m somewhere stress over how much I have to do…overwhelmed into inaction!
Do what I can & let the rest go: this is simple. First, I plan ahead. Cleaning and grocery shopping is done a day or two prior to the event then I prioritize what has to happen and what would be nice to happen. Once my ‘must haves’ are checked off then if I get some other things checked off, it’s a bonus and mentally it makes me feel like I have rewarded myself or accomplished more.
You can’t do it alone: I already mentioned how I ask for help from Melvin and clearly let him know what my goal is. I also outsource other services. One thing is hiring a maid service. This has taken a HUGE load off of me. I no longer have to stress over this, my time is not taken up with this and I can use that time to do other things on my list. Lastly, I use grocery shopping services like Instacart and have my groceries delivered to my doorstep. I wish I would’ve known about Instacart when I was pregnant!
Well, I hope this gives you some ideas as to what you can implement to help your Martha spirit turn into a Mary spirit! :0) Tell me know what you guys do. I would love to add more helpful tips to my regimen. Let’s keep the conversation going!