Embracing a “Mary” Heart in a “Martha” World

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I

had just sat down with my latte and cracked open a new devotional. I was so excited to start digging in. This devotional was a few hundred pages and would probably take me a while to get through. I was ready to be challenged and learn something new. As I started to read the words, however, I felt discontent. Usually, I feel inspired the more I work through a devotional, but this time all I felt was a lack of peace.

Now I’ve never heard God audibly speak to me, but I could feel His spirit telling me that this wasn’t a season of learning for the purpose of fixing something in me–this was a season to sit and enjoy His presence. This was a season for reflecting on His sovereign grace and love. This was a time to be still.

A lot of the time I find that I’m uncomfortable with silence. Not just the absence of words, but calming my body and sitting without distractions. I struggle to sit and just enjoy time with my Heavenly Father. In my quiet times, I tend to want to learn and make sure that I am fixing whatever needs to be fixed. If I’m honest, I think I am uncomfortable with the fact that Jesus loves me without my having to earn it over and over again. He loves me just as I am and I struggle to truly conceptualize that. I desperately want to show God that I‘m working to become a better person. I want to please Him. I want Him to see that I’m an avid fixer and doer. But that’s not what He wants from me.

When was the last time you sat with Jesus? I don’t mean spending time talking to God, reading your bible, or listening to a sermon. I mean actually sitting down and allowing there to be quiet, soaking in His presence and His greatness.

We live in a culture that is fueled by performance. Our culture says that our worth comes from what we can accomplish, but the Bible says something entirely different. The Bible says our worth comes from the Lord, and the Lord alone.


“This life in Christ is not about what I can do to make myself worthy of His acceptance, but about daily trusting what He has done to make me worthy of His acceptance.”
The Cure

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The thing we have to remember is that we are not worthy because of anything we have done, but because of what He did on the cross. He loves us just as we are and He sees us through the filter of His grace. What God wants most out of us is a heart of submission and devotion.

Mary and Martha

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘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 10:38-42

I must admit, that I tend to have a mindset like Martha and I have quite a bit of compassion for her, as I completely understand her thought process. I’d be pretty irritated too if I were running around trying to get things organized and finished, only to find that the person who was supposed to be helping me was sitting immersed in someone else. But Martha missed the point. Martha was so concerned about her preparations for Jesus, that she missed that He wanted her to just BE with Him. Just like Martha, I can become so concerned with “doing” the right thing that I forget to let His spirit fill me, refresh me, and sit in His presence.

Does this feel familiar?

If so, how can we start shifting our heart to a “Mary” heart?

  • Shift your focus
  • “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”Psalm 147:5

    Where we focus our hearts is where we will draw our identity. When the focus is always on our inadequacies or on doing “the right thing”, we can lose sight of the One who makes us worthy. We need to keep our eyes on the only One who can sustain and fulfill our souls.

  • Take purposeful time to sit in His presence
  • “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”Psalm 46:10

    We will only be able to fully understand true intimacy with the Lord if we sit in the stillness of His presence. Turn off your phone, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea (latte for me ;0)), and sit down in a place you find peaceful. Ask Him to quiet your heart and your mind. It’s in these times that we are inviting the Holy Spirit in and asking him to refresh us. It’s in these times that we are asking Him to speak to us. This is our time to listen.


“We will only be able to fully understand true intimacy with the Lord if we sit in the stillness of His presence.”

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