Yeah, I know this book’s been out for ages and the hype around it’s died down, but I can’t very well keep up with all the latest and greatest books coming off the Christian presses and read every bestseller that’s made it big, now can I? The correct response is: no, of course not. Anyways, I’ve heard great things about Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World ever since the book came out, but I forgot about wanting to read it until recently when meeting with my spiritual director. She mentioned she had a copy of it.
I enjoyed the book, just as I imagined I would. The more in-depth, story-like approach and commentary on the trio at Bethany was easy to read and the author’s personal struggles to balance work with worship I could identify with all too well.
For years, I’ve had trouble with living out the “be still and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It’s easy in a world in which your worth is based on what you’ve accomplished, how much you make, the awards you’ve won or the possessions you’ve accrued to believe the lie that your value comes from what you do rather than who you are as a child of God.
After having read The Better Part by Thomas Keating a while back, I’d spent some time contemplating the necessity of quiet time spent in prayer as an essential ingredient to loving and serving others generously. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve focused so much on what I’m getting done that I neglect to spend time in “the Living Room” as Joanna Weaver puts it—sitting at Christ’s feet listening attentively.
Matthew Kelly talks about the need for “carefree timelessness” in our relationships with others, particularly our loved ones. That same element is needed to develop and maintain an intimate relationship with the Lord.
It can be awkward and uncomfortable spending time alone, in silence with God when we’ve been away for a while or haven’t ever cultivated a personal relationship with the Lord to begin with. Listening and listening well is quite possibly the most important aspect of intimacy, yet it’s hard to do it well, on a consistent basis, and frequently enough that we remain connected on a deeper level.
Author Joanna Weaver gives a number of good suggestions and practical solutions for common excuses for not making time for prayer and/or neglecting the service aspect of living life as a Christian.
The Bible Study included in the book is a great resource for groups as well as individuals seeking to apply these ideas and principles to their own lives and see how they have been and could be affecting their journey of faith as well as their personal relationships.
The concept of balance between prayer and service isn’t new, but it’s one I know I”ve often needed to be reminded of over and over again.
Quiet prayer takes discipline and practice, as does the service we’re led by God to carry out (versus the things we do for recognition or reasons other than out of pure selfless love for God and our neighbor).