top of page

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

Reflecting on this book and contemplating my book review, I took a moment to allow the messages to sink in. Our Shared Bookclub hosted a lively online book review session on Tuesday. However, I felt compelled to take my time on this particular review, I wanted to impart some insightful messages that are pertinent today without losing the essence of this story. But to do that, I briefly want to share the storyline and build the context here.

The entire book is centred on the infamous story titled, Mary and Martha Worship and Serve – in the Bible (Luke 10: 38-41). It remains a favourite and familiar story or struggle for any spirited and submissive God-fearing woman.Or maybe for any woman who is bound by duty and devotion.

Martha’s personality resonates deeply in most women; it may represent the (albeit busy) state of affairs in the world today and/or the current condition of our hearts. It might even remind us of a season of our lives, where we were pulled in all directions. Its no surprise that Joanna Weaver, the author, starts Chapter 1 with the probing, full frontal question – have you tried to do it all?

Mary, her younger sister, on the other hand, is collected and calm. She is where she is supposed to be, unapologetically sat still and silent, in awe of and intently listening to Jesus. Quietly, filling up her empty cup. Her personality is in contrast to her older sister Martha’s. She is doing the ‘one thing’, and has chosen that good part (NKJV).

In answering Joanna’s question above, it’s a yes from me! I have tried to do it all, unashamedly. In my defence, I believed I could and gave it a good go at it. But I’ve learned and grown in those seasons, some of those lessons were identified in the book.

In light of this story and my own experiences, I am reminded of a cute quote that I came across, it says: Children spell love, T.I.M.E. It’s a sweet and innocent remark yet limited perspective from a child. But, is it really? I can’t help feel that this is a light bulb moment for most of us today. Here’s why.

The things we truly love, we pay attention to and spend time on. We spend time with our loved ones, on our passions and anything that is of utmost value to us. In the context of Martha and Mary, we have, perhaps, lost track of time and misplaced our good intentions with checklists and chores. This story is reminding us to pause and take a long hard look at our Martha world, what does that look like to you? When we compromise our peace and wellbeing, regardless of what personality type you possess (a Mary or Martha type), we are in grave danger (no pun intended).

As a coach, I’m discovering that time management is a growing area of concern, not just for my clients but for me, personally. There is never enough hours in the day! Actually, this is a screening statement or moment of self-realisation, it indicates that I am doing more than I am capable of or I have taken more than I should. It starts with being over-zealous, leading to being over-committed, and ending up over-burdened. Consequently, becoming unhappy, unproductive and unsure about everything.

Time is non-refundable, use it with intention.

I have had to take a good look at my Martha world and be ruthless in eliminating things that robbed me of my joy or have been done for all the wrong reasons. I scheduled regular breaks into my diary, for the next 6 months. Basically, blocked out time for myself. I have reviewed my workflow, and made a commitment to keep my weekends and evenings free. Every task I undertake has a set time to it, (including a set timer) to keep me on track. I uphold my morning devotions as it is my quiet time and makes the most significant difference to the rest of my day. These are small yet effective steps that I feel is best practice, one I recommend and have put into practice myself.

So in retrospect, children remind us of what’s important and we should pay attention to them more often. I couldn’t help wonder about lockdown, how it was a blessing in disguise to many especially to me. A government-imposed lockdown is extreme yet necessary at that time and unlikely to happen again. Perhaps with some self-control, I can conduct self-imposed lockdown intervals to pursue a Mary spirit in a Martha world. For now, lets start on focusing on what is important each day, that one thing!

On that final note, I wanted to add that Martha is the heroine in this story for me, in my humble opinion. Later on, we find out that her life was transformed by that situation, demonstrating her teachable spirit. And this is my final takeaway message; we are capable of good change. We just have to be willing to listen, learn and sometimes, let go.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and read. The opinions above are all mine and not intended to be anything other than my personal interpretation of the book.

Leonora x