by Evangelia Novarro
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you’re worried and upset about many things.” (Luke 10:41, NIV)
Every time I come across this Bible passage, I pause and feel God’s sweet conviction. He asks me, “What are you fussing and pouting about this time?”
Martha was bitterly angry at her sister. She probably felt like the victim who just had to take care of everything while others sat around and “chilled,” listening to Jesus. She was so annoyed she even dared to scold Jesus and told Him what to do. “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40).
Yikes! This woman must have felt so fed up to reprimand a Teacher of The Law. However, our sweet Jesus answered so kindly, full of love and full of truth. His answer to her was that what Mary chose was something better, that would never be taken away from her. Mary chose a teachable, peaceful, humble, quiet spirit. She chose Jesus’ feet. Even though she didn’t seem as productive as Martha, she was being obedient from the inside out. She was filling up her soul cup with living words. She had the right priorities. She didn’t feel compelled to do anything just to please her nagging sister.
Do you see this happening in your home, church ministry, or homeschool group? My husband tells me that sometimes I run around like a headless chicken; not a pretty picture, but you get the idea of a frazzled woman.
I can learn from Mary. God has given me enough time to do all the things He has called me to do. If I feel torn to many pieces, drained, and overwhelmed, I am probably trying to please the wrong crowd. I am probably listening to someone else’s orders for my life.
We all know there is an enemy of our soul. The devil wants to destroy us. He wants to kill our spirit and beat us down. Usually, most leaders in the homeschooling community don’t fall for the drugs and alcohol trap, but we can easily fall into the busyness and overcommitment trap. The enemy lies to us. He stretches us to our breaking point and then, when we fall, when we yell in anger, when we steamroll over our spouse’s heart, when we crush our kids’ spirit, he fills us with guilt and regret. Have you experienced this cycle? I am not proud to say that I have. If I don’t walk hand in hand with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I fall into the sin of overcommitment, and when I do fall, those who matter to me the most, suffer the most.
My priorities, in theory, are my relationship with God first, my husband’s deep needs second, my children’s deep needs third, my work as a homeschooler and homemaker fourth, and then ministry and volunteering is fifth, and so on. If I don’t live this order out, there is tension and discord in my home. My husband and my children are my first ministry. Isn’t this why I am homeschooling anyway? They deserve my best, not my leftovers.
Remember to nurture relationship inside your home first before you spread yourself thin in many directions. Maybe it’s time for a change. Have you ever had a family meeting where you asked everyone what they need from each other in order to feel more loved and respected? You can do it all together, or one-on-one in private. Try it! Pray about it first. Pray with your family before you start sharing. I am cautioning you, you might hear things you don’t want to hear. Don’t start defending yourself. Maybe as parents, we don’t know it all. Maybe there is room for improvement on our part. Listen to their hearts with a humble spirit and an open heart.
When you and your spouse are alone, ask him/her the same question. “How can I make you feel more loved and respected?” Be ready for an answer you might not like. Pray about it. He/she might be right. Am I a non-anxious presence around my family? My pastor keeps reminding me “God created you to be a human BEing, not a human DOer.” My family needs me to sit and enjoy them. The Lord needs me to sit at His feet.
Therefore, I have to set boundaries and guardrails. I want to be a cheerful giver, not a bitter, worn out giver. In order to have peace in my home, I have to pray and ask the Lord before I commit to anything outside of my top three (God, husband, children). When people start demanding and start chipping away at your time and energy, feel free to say “no,” or “I can do this after you do this first,” or “I can’t do it right now, but maybe later,” “Let me ask God first,” or “Let me talk to my husband first.”
You are allowed to ask for what you need in a humble way, also. Slow down, ask the Lord what it is that you really need. Then verbalize it and ask from the people around you. It could be something really deep like, “I feel very rejected right now, can you pray for me?” Or it can be something very simple like “Can you please take the trash out?” And remember to say thank you when they do!
You will be surprised what people will do once they feel loved, appreciated, and valued for who they are … Whether it’s your home, your church, or your group, once people feel they matter to you in a meaningful way, they step up and carry their load. They participate and take ownership because they belong.
In other words, if Martha was focused on Jesus; if she didn’t focus so much on the project but on Him; if she loved on her sister; if she were kinder and had asked humbly for what she needed directly from her, everything would have flowed smoother. Instead of demanding help, we ask the Lord for it, we receive it from His hand, and we give Him glory for it. We get the same result, or maybe even a better result, through a different route–God’s route.
Evangelia and her husband, Steve, have always homeschooled their two children, nine and twelve. She serves as the Board Secretary and Events Committee Lead for her homeschool support group, LIFE Homeschool. She is also known as LIFE’s ambassador, as she is always sharing about her group and the benefits of homeschooling. In addition to being very active in her community, Evangelia loves to listen to podcasts on her walks and hanging out with other moms.