Laughing At Spilled Milk: The Truth About Marthaholics


“Take my yolk upon you and let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” Matthew 11:29


“Jesus loves me.  This I know, for my completed to-do list tells me so.” – Marthaholic Anthem


From my previous post you now know that I am a Marthaholic who recently fell off the wagon.  But how?  And just what is a Marthaholic, anyway?

To get a good idea of what a Marthaholic is, let’s look at the woman we were named for: Martha of Bethany.  In Luke 10 we see that she is “distracted by the big dinner she is preparing.” Jesus confronts her, saying she “is worried and upset over all these details.” In short, Martha was so busy working for Jesus it never occurred to her to be with Jesus.

Marthaholics daily take up their crosses as Jesus tells us to in Luke 9:23, but then ignore the second half of the verse (and follow me). We do not put on our perfectly fitting yolks to work beside the Master (Matthew 11:29), but break our own path through life, pushing overladen wheelbarrows. Time with Jesus is not relational, but one more thing we want to accomplish to feel good about ourselves. Often it is little more than asking him to bless our plans for the day.

Marthaholics know that the “harvest is plenty and the workers are few,” and believe that our efforts can close that gap.   Therefore, when presented with a new opportunity, we think:

–          If I don’t do this, no one else will so,

–          If I don’t do this, the project will fail so,

–          If I don’t do this, God’s Kingdom can’t advance, Jesus won’t be able to return in glory, the evil one will vanquish the earth, and for all eternity the Cloud of Witnesses, Martyrs and Saints will look at me and say, “nice going.”

So, we pack our wheelbarrows with countless activities and obligations and the balancing act begins.

Now, wheelbarrows are fantastic for transporting a heavy load, but are rubbish for stability.  All it takes is saying yes to one thing too many and the whole thing tips over scattering mediocrity and failure in our wake. Not only does the quality of our work suffer, but our families, friendships, and personal health (emotional, spiritual, physical) do as well. Yes, when we reject the Yolk of Jesus and pick up our Wheelbarrows of Will we find no rest for our souls and burn out quickly.

I fell off the wagon recently because I looked at my calendar, saw an open space, and took that small window of free time as a sign from God that I was to say yes to a two month commitment.  I disregarded the immovables in my schedule such as:

–          A visiting aunt from out of town

–          My daughter’s prom

–          Easter

–          Two speaking engagements

–         Writing and delivering a sermon

–          A drama that needed writing for Holy Week

–          A part-time job

–          Moving boys home from college

–          My children like having food in the house

–          My husband likes having me in the house

–          Laundry

–          I enjoy blogging

–          I enjoy sleep

Instead I took up my wheelbarrow and started pushing it down my own path. To make me aware of my slip, God let me get pretty darned sick.  This seems to be the pattern.

Yes, the path of Marthaholism always ends in a crash and burn.  Next time we’ll talk about how to put the wheelbarrow down, take His yolk up, and find rest for our souls.

This entry was posted in Expectations, family, goals, home making, Housekeeping, Laundry, Letting Go, parenting, Self Control, Wisdom. Bookmark the permalink.

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