Last month I fixed dinner for some long-time friends. The house was clean, decorated, and the food just needed to be prepared. Without warning, I could almost hear that foreboding music from a B movie, and a food mutiny took place before my eyes.
Pasta over-cooked itself. Lettuce and tomatoes refused to stay in my hand. Pots with clanging lids jumped out of the cabinets just to rattle me. Italian dressing escaped its bottle and seeped all over my counter. Inanimate objects, like pirates in cahoots against me, headed for the booty of my demise. Being the courageous culinary expert that I am, I wilted on the couch, ready to cancel dinner, and turn on Food Network.
God, I love my friends. What is sabotaging our evening?
In His kind and gentle voice, Jesus spoke some things I needed to hear in that moment;
“Colleen, you are too worried about the food, you are worried about the conversation. Truth is, you are actually upset about not being invited to those two weddings, and no friends’ Christmas parties this year, but we will talk about that later. Basically, you are carrying the weight of self-imposed expectations I never put on you.
You fancy yourself a Mary – sitting at my feet, serene and unmoved – but right now you are acting just like Martha. Stressed, bothered, irritated, and distracted from Me. She came to me in an emotional meltdown over her imaginary what-ifs, and completely lost sight of why I was there. Is this sounding remotely familiar?”
Yes Lord, it is.
I still had 20 minutes, so in an attempt to get off the ledge, I took a moment to read the passage so vividly before my brain. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus didn’t say:
“Martha, stop everything and go lie down. You deserve a break!”
Rather, He pointed to the real culprit.
“You are worried and bothered about so MANY (unnecessary) things! Just a few things are necessary. Actually only one. And Mary has discovered it.”
You are right Lord! I have been behaving as though you are not present. I have been more concerned about how I am perceived than about You and the people I love.
Timidly, I ventured back to the helm of my kitchen. Things didn’t look as bad as they seemed before. I methodically reclaimed each portion of my meal; scraping burnt garlic bread, corralling wayward condiments, and praying for the people that would grace our home in a matter of minutes.
As I did, the meal took its rightful place on the back burner, and our friends became real people with real needs and no checklists.
When they arrived, apart from my slightly askew hair, no trace of drama remained. We had an evening free of marauding intruders and bad music (Pandora helped). At one point while we all were laughing and reminiscing, I sat back in my seat and smiled, inwardly thanking Jesus for each person, and for straightening my priorities…just living the thing.