Martha Syndrome

I like doing stuff.  I just do.  But tonight I’m sitting in the evening sun, Jamie Grace on quietly, browsing Pinterest (don’t shoot me!) and thinking of some stuff I want to do, like, two hours ago… (make some beds, do my nails and wash my hair).  I would feel lazy but I’m just too chilled to do that right now.  Maybe at eleven I will when I go to crawl into my bed and discover I need to hunt out some sheets and pillow cases but right now, nope, no guilt.

I believe we were put on this earth for a reason.  Of course I believe that.  I believe God has plans for our lives.  Of course I believe that.

And I also believe many of us (maybe particularly woman) have this busy button that turns us from human beings to human doings.  Maybe for some of us we do need some fireworks up our…ahem…backsides.  But most of us are living life like it’s a sports car and our foot is stuck on the accelerator.  Now, I’m not much of a car person, but I think I can safely say that no car can run like that without a) running out of fuel, b) going so fast it’ll eventually crash or c) just falling to pieces around you.

It seems more spiritual to be busy, doesn’t it?  (And yes, I feel like I’m just writing up what Mum’s been telling me for years here!)  At the risk of being too honest, I feel like I’m making my Father proud when I’m flying around doing stuff.  Yes, a clean house is lovely, and having a mountain of ironing done is fab, and doing all my uni work weeks ahead of schedule is beyond amazing.  But when I start defining my worth by what I’m doing, I start slipping.

It’s the Martha syndrome.  There are times it’s called for (try inviting guests over then sitting in a chair and asking them to make the food and clean the bathroom…yeah, it doesn’t work) but there are times we need to rest.  There, I just diagnosed myself – it’s Martha syndrome.  I feel not only like I’m flunking life by sitting still occasionally, I feel my value in God’s eyes is slipping.  And it’s stupid stupid stupid.  I am valued in God’s eyes because of who I am and Who I am trusting on – not because I managed to run around like a gazelle-with-a-lion-after-her all day and got super amounts of stuff done.  Truth be told, when I start running myself like that, I’m often less effective than if I’ve taken half an hour out to go for a walk or read some of my book.

I’m not advocating laziness.  But for those of us with Martha syndrome, the Doctor diagnoses rest.  Periodically.

“Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to Me.  Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with Me and work with Me – watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message).

Truth is, yes, I do feel tired, worn out – I do pressure myself to ‘make God proud’.  He didn’t ask for that though – He asks me to come to Him.

Hmm…writing this post is just giving those who love me ammo to remind me of it when I start running myself into the ground again… (you’d be surprised at the accountability that comes having written words down for others to see).  I know I’ll need nagging to always live like this – with rest an integral part of my day.  And I think it looks different at different stages of our lives and for different people.  Better add that disclaimer. 🙂  But yes, the aim is to fit more rest into my life.

And I just realised I spoilt that whole argument by writing this as I sat here ‘resting’.


2 thoughts on “Martha Syndrome

  1. elspeth says:

    Oh, I like this! A good reminder…I certainly struggle with the Martha syndrome sometimes, and isn’t it funny how our own standards of worth get muddled with God’s standards of worth in our minds?

    Enjoy a good rest, Martha! =)

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