Because The Striver In All Of Us Needs A Place To Rest

My parents should have named me Martha. I’m totally a Martha. I’ve never met a project I shied away from. Always felt at home with my head down, my focus narrowed to accomplish a goal, complete a task. That’s always been my specialty.


But as all Martha’s know, sometimes we get tired of trying. Sometimes we grow weary in the work. We’ve grown so comfortable with our doing that we have forgotten how to simply be. We long to sit like Mary at Jesus’ feet. We do. We crave a bit of quiet in our souls.


To be honest, one of the hardest things for someone like me is to stop running and sit still. I understand Martha’s frustration. I can imagine as I read Luke 10:38-42 (NIV) the conflict burning relentlessly inside her heart— wanting so badly to be at Jesus’ feet yet at the same time, feeling entirely helpless to leave her familiar habits, to let go of her to-do list, to walk away from her agitated unrest. Unpeace.


While it feels like striving is the only thing that keeps our unpeace at bay, the one quantity we can control, perhaps even the only place that feels safe, I am reminded that we were not made for safety. We were created for connection. We were made for meaning.


We were not made for safety. We were created for connection. We were made for meaning.Click To Tweet


Like Martha, our striving keeps us from exhaling into to the thing we long for most —peace. Striving chains us to our distress while keeping us from being present with ourselves, present with our Savior, and present with those He has put in our lives.


I love what Jesus says to Martha. He calls out to her in Luke 10:41 (NIV), Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, 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.


It seems His presence is what we need most. Jesus assured Martha that the presence Mary experienced sitting at His feet would never be taken away from her. His presence would be her companion when the first splash of morning sun shone down on her eyes and it would be there with her until she settled her head on her blanket at the end of another day.


Why would we hold onto our striving instead of claiming His permanent presence or His powerful peace? Why would we want our doing instead of His delight?


Somehow we mistakenly believe that we don’t have time for His presence. We quietly whisper that being like Mary is selfish when there is so much work to be done. We console ourselves with the thought that one day we’ll have time for rest. Time for His presence.  Yet day after day, the time never materializes, the moments never appear. And His presence is right here waiting…waiting to be experienced, waiting to be enjoyed. Savored. Celebrated.


For every striver, perfectionist man, woman, teen, who longs to find hope, rest and peace.


What areas are you striving in today?


At work…

At home…

At church…


This week, find a moment when you can choose not to strive, and choose a moment of presence instead. Find a time to lay aside your tasks, your busyness, and intentionally run to sit at Jesus’ feet, drinking in His love, His life, His passion and purpose for your life.


My prayer for the “Martha” in all of us is that we would experience the words of one of my favorite modern hymns, the heights of love, the depths of peace; when fears are stilled, when strivings cease. I pray we would, know Him as our Comforter, our All in All, and more than anything that, here in the love of Christ we all would stand.


Here in the love of Christ we stand.Click To Tweet


This is the presence that Christ has for you today!








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  1. As always, Lisa, your words are filled with wisdom and encouragement. Thank you! Hugs!

  2. All of us “Friends of Martha” need to be reminded regularly that there’s not one thing we can do to make ourselves more valuable in the Kingdom of God — or one bit more beloved by our good Father. I’m trusting for grace to take this to heart and to end the ceaseless striving.

    • I love your words, Michele! Busyness never earns more love, more acceptance, more value from our Heavenly Father. Our Belovedness is sealed forever. Period. We can rest in that. We can find rest in Him! Blessings dear friend!

  3. My mother’s name was Martha, and what a striver she was! And what a role model, not only for me, but sadly, for my daughter, as well. We seem to be constantly on the chase, to finish a project, to prepare a special meal, even to complete a Bible study. What we lack is the peace that only Christ can infuse in all of our tasks. Thank you for the reminder, Lisa, that we are called to more than the tasks of life, but also for taking time to receive the Master’s touch.

    • lisamurray

      June 21, 2017 at 6:41 AM

      Amen, Alice! Doing will never give us the sense of meaning, hope, and peace that being in God’s presence can give. And oh, how I need a as much hope and peace as I can get! Blessings:)

  4. Love this post. Sometimes I’m guilty of not being able to rest if everything on my to do list isn’t done. But God has been working on me about this. Lately I have stopped right in the middle of what I was doing to sit in my War Room and allows God’s presence to strengthen me.

    • lisamurray

      June 21, 2017 at 6:43 AM

      Great idea, Timberley! When we recognize our striving, that is the perfect opportunity to stop and make the choice to sit at HIs feet and soak in His presence. Have a great day!

  5. I love those words spoken by Jesus to Martha. It just makes me want to spend more time in his presence, always striving to listen to him and be near my Lord.

    • lisamurray

      June 21, 2017 at 6:44 AM

      So glad to have you here, Rachel! Yes, this passage calls me, frees me, and encourages me to remember my highest calling and priority. Take care, friend!

  6. Can so relate to Martha. I was raised to be a Martha. A doer, and then more doing. Learning to be a Mary. It is hard, but worth it. Thanks for this powerful post and reminder to strive less and just sit in his presence.

  7. Hi Lisa!

    Thank you for sharing this! Just recently, I had to do something about my day to day schedule because I wasn’t finding any rest. I will try to squeeze in a Bible study here and there but it just didn’t feel the same. I always had something on my mind that I know needs to be done. Luckily, my husband wakes up very early to work and I started getting up with him to make his breakfast. (He wakes up at 4:20 am). After making him breakfast and kissing him goodbye to work, I realized how much time I had in the morning. I didn’t need to start work till a couple hours later so I took the time to sit down and just read God’s word. Today has been day 2 and even though I just started I feel more at peace than I have in the last couple of months.

    So reading this post brought a smile to my face when I realized what I did for Jesus and what He’s giving me back: REST!

    Thanks again for sharing!



    • lisamurray

      June 26, 2017 at 2:45 PM

      What a beautiful testimony of God’s rest, Martika! With our busy schedules, sometimes we have to intentionally schedule times or rest or they occur. Hope you have a great day!

  8. Lisa- thank you for this post especially today! I’ve been feeling overwhelmed at all the things that are left undone. I’m restless and feel weary.
    I need to spend some time in His presence!
    Visiting from #TellHisStory

  9. I love talking about “Martha.” I did a study on her once and it changed my life. I am a Martha through and through. What is so cool I believe Martha did figure it out later. She was the one that ran out and met Jesus. She learned how to sit at this feet.

    I struggle so much with rest I have to schedule it. It works. I try to make a habit of sitting with God each morning. Part of my time is spent listening for his voice.

    I love what you said, “This week, find a moment when you can choose not to strive, and choose a moment of presence instead.” I am going to try and add more of those moments throughout my day.

    Thank you for your wonderful post.

    • lisamurray

      June 26, 2017 at 2:48 PM

      Maree Dee, As a fellow Martha, I’m so glad you have learned through her story the need for each of us to find rest in our schedule. Moments of presence for me are true gifts and have transformed how I engage my relationship with Christ. Blessings!

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