At the same time I have decided to make some major life changes. It has nothing to do with the new year, it has everything to do with turning 40 & realizing that I just spent the last ten years of my life doing nothing for me and as much as I could for everyone else. My life is completely out of balance and I believe it has led to some anger and resentment issues. Totally my own fault, nobody makes me not take care of myself. During the prayer for my Ladies Bible Study I was also praying for God to show me how to overcome my issues with not caring for myself. How in the world am I going to fit in working out and taking time to read & do things I love when I am already stressed out and tired out. I am fully extended in my day already. Goodness, God is amazing! I prayed this prayer on the treadmill, got off and went down to the living room to clean up some. I turned TV on and usually I put it straight on Nickelodeon for Braxton but I didn't feel like it this time. I put it on the TV Channel & saw Joyce Meyer was coming on. Yeah, that show was totally the answer to the prayers I had just prayed. Can you sing AMAZING?
So this next little area is a mixture of Joyce's preaching & some extra studying on my part and let's say it is a mix of Joyce and Jennifer doing a little ditty about finding balance in your life specifically for WOMEN. It SANG TO ME. Hope you enjoy it 'cause I sure did.
An Abundant Life for Women
Let's see what the Bible says about having an abundant life and filling our days with what is needed, specifically to a woman.
1 Peter 5:8 (Amplified Bible)
Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring (in fierce hunger), seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
Self-control: restraint exercised over one's own impulses, emotions, or desires
(Most translations use self control instead of well balanced. Well balanced is the closest true definition of the original Hebrew text. This makes WAY more sense also because self control means exercising restraint over the excess. Well balanced would imply that there is no excess but also no lack. Having lack in our lives creates jealousy, anger, bitterness & resentment. Satan loves to use these as a foothold as the Bible says. It makes much more sense to be well balanced.)
Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)
At the Home of Martha and Mary
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 only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
John 10:10 (KJV)
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
In these verses we have Jesus, Satan and a very stressed out woman. Sound familiar?
As women we struggle to find a balanced lifestyle. Home, work, kids, grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, laundry, cleaning, Bible Study, prayer time, volunteer at Church, and all the other aspects of adult life that we think we should be doing keep us busy. Where in the world are we going to fit in self care? A balanced mind & life, staying watchful & being cautious will serve us greatly if we are to recognize & defeat Satan when he attacks. Let's not give him something to seize upon. Martha is not balanced in her life at this particular time & this causes her mind to then become unbalanced giving way to anger and resentment. Don't you just know that every time she passed by the room they were all sitting in Martha just got madder and madder at Mary & also for Jesus for allowing Mary to sit in there with him while knowing that left Martha to do all the work. Those two things are a foothold Satan loves to seize upon. She is also denying herself self care and the feeding of her spirit in order to do all the things that she thinks must be done. Jesus says the spirit comes first, the chores of life come second. Let's apply this to our every day lives. What are we busy doing that we cannot self care & feed our spirit? Do we get angry with anyone because of this? Jesus wants us to have an abundant life, the Proverbs 31 woman can laugh at the days ahead yet she works hard. We must take the time to self care if we are to live balanced lives. Women lean towards self denying & not self caring.
1. A balanced mind should lead us to a balanced life. What are our daily excesses or daily thirsts?
2. Satan is looking for opportunities to seize upon in your life that are unbalanced and causing distress, anxiety and anger.
3. Women, especially working women struggle with finding a balanced and joyful life. We are busy like Martha. We are so busy in fact that we make it a habit to deprive ourselves of "what is needed" for our own lives because there are so many preparations that must be made. Somebody has to get all the work done around the house and cook dinner. (Joyce speaks many times about how she spent her young life always working around the house and telling the kids she could not stop and play with them because there was work to be done at home. She would also get so angry with her hubby because he would take time to enjoy his life and relax and play.)
4. Jesus makes it clear through the study of the Hebrew text that Martha was doing too much in her preparations. She did more than what was needed for her house guests and in her desire to provide a wonderful meal, a tidy home and comfortable lodging for Jesus and the disciples she deprived herself of what she really needed. Is there a need in your life that goes unfulfilled because you are busy doing the things that you think are necessary & important that must be done?
After studying the Hebrew also I realized something that I just know God spoke into my heart. I always felt bad for Martha because clearly she was working hard to clean, get the meal ready and such and when she asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her he tells her no. Mary has chosen what was better. I just assumed that Jesus was saying "No Martha, you will have to keep doing all the work by yourself. Mary is doing the better thing by listening to my teaching." I NEVER realized before that Jesus was not telling Martha that she would have to keep doing the work alone. He was saying "Martha, you are going overboard with your preparations. Come, sit and talk with us. It is more important to feed your spirit than supply me with an excellent meal. I want you to care for yourself first, then you may work about and do all the extras you like." He was inviting her to join them. He was pointing out that fretting to and fro working, shopping, cooking, laundering is fine but if you haven't fed your spirit, if you are doing that and miss out on an opportunity to feed your soul, you are making the wrong decision. I then realized, YES, I am unbalanced. I suffer the "Martha Syndrome". I have spent years denying myself what I needed because somebody always needed something and I placed that above my own needs on a continual basis. What did it get me? Resentful and over weight. Jesus is telling us ladies, stop your labor & feed your spirit first. Take care of yourself because if you don't you will be stressed out like Martha.
5. Women tend to get upset with their husbands because they do not hesitate to play and relax. Do they not realize there is work to be done in the house? Lists to be made, shopping to do, meals to cook, cleaning, etc? Let's ask ourselves who has chosen what is better in life? Men tend to understand that they need to take care of their needs. Women tend to deny their needs in order to take care of the needs of others. We suffer the "Martha Syndrome". I absolutely believe that Martha wanted to be in that room with Jesus just as much as Mary but she thought well somebody is going to have to do all this work, I guess it will have to be me and she set about doing it and got mad at everybody else for not helping her. Jesus says she should have sat down with them. What do we usually do as women? Are we a Martha or a Mary in our own personal lives?
6. We made fun of men because they always go out and buy what they need. Who has chosen what is wiser, the men for taking care of themselves or us ladies who in general will not make the purchases we need to make for ourselves? Who is living the more abundant and balanced life?
7. Raise your hand if you need a new bra but will not go out and buy one because someone else in your family needs something. Hello Mr. Conviction how are you today?
8. The Proverbs 31 lady in verse 22 says she is clothed in fine linen and purple. So the wife of noble character takes care of her families needs, the servant girls needs, the poor and needy and also herself? Let's ask ourselves what do I do to ensure I have a balanced and abundant life while also taking care of my responsibilities to my husband, children and home? What do I do to take care of me so that I can have a balanced mind and life?
9. Martha is worried and upset over many things concerning her house. She is doing everything by herself and it is really upsetting her. No one is helping her, she feels her burdens are unfair, all of this stuff needs to get done and I am being forced to do it all by myself because of the selfishness of someone else. Sound familiar? Who is our Mary? They are taking care of their needs and I am busy taking care of everyone else's. Sound familiar? They need to get up and help me! And with that Satan has found a way to devour us.
10. Jesus makes it clear that we should do what is needed but to go over what is needed and deprive ourselves of what truly is necessary is our own fault. So what is really needed?
1. To sit at the feet of Jesus. Relationship with the Lord is our first priority. To know Him, to study His word, to talk to (pray) to Him, our spirit life must be fed first and foremost.
2. To have joy. To have balance. A time to work and a time to play. To take care of our bodies. Do what is necessary but do not go further until our spiritual needs are met and any other needs necessary to maintaining our health and emotional well being. Then if we desire we can do all the other things we would like to accomplish.
3. Jesus makes it clear that doing all these things are fine but if they are interfering with feeding ourselves spiritually then we have made the wrong choice. If the things we are doing causes us to resent others and become off balance, we need to evaluate if what we are doing is really needed. Why am I feeling off balance? What is the root of my issue and how can I make things better?
4. Because I decide that something must be done (over and above) does that mean that I am entitled to help if nobody else in the house wants to participate in the work involved? Are they going to enjoy the fruits of my labor? Who am I doing this for? Is it really necessary? Have I met my needs first before extending myself to do more?