“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord replied, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it and it will not be taken from her.” – Luke 10:38 – 42
It has been 2 months and some change since my last post. I was all prepared to give you the top ten reasons (excuses) why I have not written in all that time, but decided to come clean. The truth is I am a Marthaholic. And I fell off the wagon.
I became a Marthaholic back in my early 20’s when I was a young mom fresh out of college. You know, during my experimental phase. There was a lot of pressure at the time. I had all of these kids and felt lost, insecure and well, vulnerable. All I was looking for was a little pick me up.
It was the typical story of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and hanging out with the wrong people. All the other stay-at-home moms made it look so glamorous. They said it would take me to a new level of self-awareness. Through peer pressure I was talked into trying just one “hit” of serving on a committee to see what it was like, assured that I could quit at any time.
It felt so good at first: completing a task, seeing immediate results for my labor and, oh, the praise! I felt productive, valuable, popular even. Plus, all this work was for God, so surely my labors would put us on really good terms.
But then I had to sign up for more and more things to maintain that spiritual high. I said yes to church committees, volunteering at the kids’ schools, organizing bake sales. It wasn’t long before I was the coordinator for multiple teams and the word “no” was deleted from my vocabulary.
Naturally, I started having problems balancing it all, so to get everything done I had to turn to ….I started making…to-do lists (Cue ominous music).
By the time the kids were in grade school there were signs that the disease was taking over my life. I’d be baking cookies in the kitchen and one of my kids would walk in and ask which committee they were for and could they have the burned ones? During “snuggle sessions” with my husband I would be mentally making meeting agendas. There were calendars and daily planners strategically placed all over the house: on the fridge, in my nightstand, in the glove compartment, and a little one in my purse for emergencies. The lowest point was when I realized it had become a habit to write stuff on my to-do list – that I had already done – just for the rush of crossing it off.
Troy, my parents, his mom and my sisters staged an intervention, confronted me with my Marthaholism, and urged me to turn my life around.
I went cold turkey, quit everything, started homeschooling the kids (the only socially acceptable reason for resigning from all mommy extracurricular activities in suburbia), and started practicing the responses I would give to those women who would try to pull me back in. “Let me pray about it,” and “I’ll ask Troy and get back to you” became staples in my vocabulary (Straight up saying no was still beyond my weak abilities). It was rough at first, but with the support of my husband, family, and a few fellow addicts I made it through the worst of it.
Yet recently I fell off the wagon as I have so many times since. Just like every other addiction, once a Marthaholic, always a Marthaholic. Next time, I’ll tell you how it happened and define Marthaholism in more detail.