By Emily Goss
I have this really ugly habit of turning on my own when the going gets tough, almost like animal instinct. My walls come up; my claws come out; my words get harsh; and I busy myself even more... but, mostly, I am downright mean to those I love.
Because, I can’t really lose it on the bag lady at the grocery store, or scream at my child’s teacher, I resolve to not make a spectacle of myself to a complete stranger, but boy can I unleash it behind closed doors at home.
Just this past week the kids had been sick and I had, once again, filled our calendar to capacity. I was trying to be the “fun summer mom”, falling completely back into the old habit of not leaving any margin in our life. We were bone-tired, taking care of whiny kids, and tensions were high.
Instead of confiding in my husband, admitting my weakness, and asking for prayer, I let my flesh get the best of me. I became distant and cold. I let pride wrap its gnarled, bitter fingers around my heart and convince me that I could do it alone.
You see, pride has such a sneaky way of making us believe when we need help the most, we dare not ask, so the cycle continues: I need help but I won’t admit it, which makes everyone else believe I have it all together (a giant lie), and thus exhaust myself to the point of frustration with those I love.
My behavior reminds me of the story in Luke 10, where Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary. Luke 10:40 says, “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 was distracted. She had Jesus right there in her home and she was distracted by all she needed to get done. In her defense, she was probably doing what most of us do daily. Cleaning, cooking, making sure the house is in order and all of the to-do’s are checked off the list. I mean someone has to do it, right?! But somewhere along the way, she became bitter and resentful toward her sister for sitting at Jesus’ feet instead of helping her.
She had turned on her sister. She said “my sister has left me to do the work by myself. Tell her to help me.”
I love Jesus’ response to Martha’s flustered statement. “And Jesus said, ‘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: 41-42).
It is easy to become worried and upset about things when our circumstances are not ideal, especially if we have not been grounded in God’s word. The day that I let my pride take over and hurt those I love could’ve been an opportunity for me to spill over Christ’s love instead of spewing frustration. I should’ve asked for help instead of bitterly doing things my way. I should’ve stopped and sat at the feet of Jesus.
Friend, life can just outright beat you down at times. Frustration, anger, and worry can fill our hearts so easily. Let’s resolve to sit at the feet of Jesus in those moments. Even if it’s taking a short deep breath and exhale a quick prayer “Lord, I need help.” Let’s commit to choosing “what is better” as Mary did. Only one thing is needed and that one thing is Jesus.
Word of the Day:
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2 (ESV)
Jesus, I confess my natural tendency towards pride and doing things on my own. I know I need your help. Help me to see that you are the one thing I need. Fill me with your love and grace so that I can spill that onto others. Amen.