In which wheels only spin

by Craig on January 31, 2012


And she went about cleaning, dusting, cooking, preparing…
looking to all the world to be occupied with purpose.
She gets the finger pointed at her for being too busy to listen to Jesus. (LK 10)

But I wonder today if, for some reason, Martha was intentionally avoiding sitting at the feet of our Lord.

Because if there was so much work to do, I don’t think Jesus would allow Mary to be such a slacker. After all, the house was probably the size of an average kitchen and living room. Jesus could talk and they could listen just fine as they boiled and broiled and served the food.

And did Jesus suspect as much as he told Martha,
“…you are anxious and worried about many things.”

I think there’s something behind those words. I’m working on that.

The darkness that I’ve battled through this month has abated. And with all the possible reasons for it except for the spiritual one being eliminated, I still recoil from even calling it…a spiritual attack.

It seems too lofty of an idea.
It seems too proud to consider…
that the Evil One would attack poor little nobody me.

It seems too “religious” all of a sudden…
seems too ostentatious…


…and I don’t want to use the words.

It seems I’ve totally forgotten…
what I wrote just a few weeks ago…

about “seeing” with first century eyes this year.


If it was a spiritual thing, it seems the tactics have shifted.
There was an on again off again pattern…
of darkness…then illness…then increased lack of sleep…
but as all those have lifted…now something new.

It’s an absence of motivation…
a desire to quit in the face of opposition…
and escape into a flurry of useless activity…
to avoid “the better thing”.

Constantly doing something…
cleaning drawers…dusting…planning…
wiping counters…playing with the cat.

Our Lord said that Mary chose, “the better thing”. I wonder if Martha was heavily involved in a flurry of activity subconsciously designed to avoid doing the “better thing” she needed most to do? What was going on with Martha to cause her to distract herself from “the better thing”?

Why am I distracting myself from doing the better thing?


I need more time to think this through.

It’s not a heavy thing…actually seems I’m stepping toward understanding.

thank you for allowing me to process this with you…

I heart that you’re here…

hope to see you tomorrow.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

A. January 31, 2012 at 8:59 am

Praying earnestly for you, Craig, as you wrestle with all this and try to make solid ground sense of it all.


Craig January 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm

A. I’m beginning to “see” now to act on what I see. God bless you my friend.


Debbie January 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I am listening and learning as I read. This is something really important for me right now and I’m so thankful that God is having you seeking Him about it too. (Because you’re smarter than I am!)
God bless you as you come and sit at His feet.


Craig January 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Debbie – then we are in the same boat – I’m writing and learning as I write (ツ) and you know – you know – you know YOU KNOW I’m not smarter than you! I”m just now learning things I should have learned a long time ago – THAT’S not very smart. But I’m learning. God bless you my friend.


Martha Orlando January 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I, like Martha in the Bible, used to be “worried and anxious” for so many things.
Things over which I had no control. Or, did have the control of my choices, and chose to dabble instead of do.
I so identify here, Craig . . .
And, grateful I have finally been able to leave my worries and cares at His feet.
Blessings to you always!


Craig January 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm

worry and anxiety – I can SO relate as well! But I’m thinking – because, like I said in the post, I’m working through this, I’m thinking there was something a little different about her worry, and her anxiety – a little more prayer on that – no digging deep into the words – just prayer – and I’m hoping tomorrow I will have an answer or two. And I think part of that answer, my friend, is what you wrote – I so heart reading my comments – because I learne so much – part of the answer is that we CAN leave our worries at his feet – but a little more. God bless you Martha, you’ve been a treasure to me since the first day I knew you read me.


Martha Orlando January 31, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Craig, your comments always touch my heart. I wanted you to know. Especially here.
You are such a treasure to me as well, my friend.
Can’t wait for your next writing.
God bless!


Craig February 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm



Dawn January 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm

St John of the Cross speaks of two nights a believer must go through to get to the heart of God (pure love). The first is to rid the soul of the affections and desires of sense and the second night join the purged soul to God’s spirit. St. John says there are believers who can withstand the purging of the soul, but a rare few who can withstand the pain and torture necessary to operate from the center of love itself. At the end of the first night and before the beginning of the second (if one ever even gets to venture the second) is an indefinite amount of time.

“The soul which God is about to lead onward is not led by His Majesty into this night of the spirit as soon as it goes forth from the aridities and trials of the first purgation and the night of sense; rather is wont to pass a long time, even years, after leaving the state of beginners, in exercising itself in that of proficients. In this latter state it is like to one that has come forth from a rigorous imprisonment; it goes about the things of God with much greater freedom and satisfaction of the soul, and with more abundant and inward delight than it did at the beginning before it entered the said night. For its imagination and faculties are no longer bound, as they were before, by meditation and anxiety of spirit, since it now very readily finds in its spirit the most serene and loving contemplation and spiritual sweetness without the labour of meditation….

St John continues, but I leave off here thinking. Suppose Martha were the better of the two sisters because she could center on God without need of stopping and meditating? What if her love of the Savior were so natural that it was like cleaning and preparing food and it mystified her why her sister had to stop to love on the Savior? I know Jesus said Mary had chosen the better part and He surely knew both sisters and their hearts, but could we be judging a similar situation in error? Are you really avoiding “the better thing” or merely able, now that you have looked the devil in the teeth and seen him for whom he really is, to go about your everyday things fearlessly because your strength in the Lord no longer depends on your feelings? Because being with Him is no longer hard, is that seen as less?

Just asking,


Craig January 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Dawn, first, you MUST write that review of this book. Obviously it’s going to have to be a series – it’s so deep I doubt you’ll want to confine it to just one post. I promise to come read them all. Secondly – you may be right about Martha – that view would be in the minority – but you wouldn’t be the only one to think it. This story isn’t a parable – it involves real people – and so a myriad of possible angles that we will never know in this life. what did Jesus know about Martha, what did Martha know about Mary, what did Mary know about Martha – and what didn’t they know – and so – yes, Martha may have gone through those nights of the soul – or she may have been avoiding – or she may just have been OCD, or maybe she was showing off and it wasn’t being noticed, any of a number of reasons could be true – we may just have to wait – but Dawn you have set my spiritual wheels in motion – thank you. God bless you!


Martha Orlando January 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Just wowing over your thoughts here, Dawn!


Dawn January 31, 2012 at 8:57 pm

You know, Martha, I picked this book up to read and I didn’t get it AT ALL and then I was fired from my job. All of a sudden, it made perfect sense and it was so troubling and soothing at the same time. I needed trouble to get it. I don’t think it’s a prerequisite, but it was my key.

Thanks for your encouragement,


Cora January 31, 2012 at 7:25 pm

I’m SOOOOO glad to see there are people besides me who are sticking up for Martha!!!! I’m a Martha. I rush around, I’m a “get it done if it needs to get done” type of person. I may fret, crab, worry, and rush around, and even complain that no one is helping me, but I get it done and you get the real ME with it. No airs, no worship, no big smiles, just ME. And yes, Martha saw what needed to be done and stressed over it because her usual helper and side kick chose a very inopportune time (so Martha thought) to worship! And I’d have been right there with Martha’s feelings.

Craig, I so appreciate your honesty and your openness in letting us walk through this dark night with you. Many of us have been there, tripping over ourselves as we made that journey like a blind person in an unfamiliar room. And I know that feeling — like a deflated balloon —- and moving like a robot through the busyness of a day. Soul rest. There are just times after a struggle that we need to rest. It may seem boring, a let down, worse than the fight in the darkness, but necessary for restrengthening. You will find your way, Craig. I know so because we are all praying, holding you up, knowing that our Heavenly Father will show you (and us) the way through to the light!


Craig February 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Cora, I never really worried about “losing” my way – even when it was darkest I saw light. The dark period was a very strange thing. I’m in the lighter phase now – but it’s still fraught with danger – and I’m still learning – and by the way – except for the way I’m going to interpret Martha tomorrow – I’m not much like her – I’m much more of a Mary – sit myself down with Jesus – listen – talk – let somebody else do the cooking and cleaning – that’s me – and it’s really good – or really bad – depending on how you look at it (◠‿◠) God bless you Cora!


Dawn January 31, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Cora (alias Martha),

You crack me up!



Craig February 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Oh,. you’re a Martha too, just admit it – leave for Cora alone!! (◠‿◠)


Dawn February 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Oh, very much so, Craig. It takes one to know one. Mary’s are oblivious.


Victoria February 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I am soooooooo seeing the value of waiting a day to read your blog Craig. I usually read them first thing in the morning, pretty much after you post. But I didn’t get the chance to yesterday, so today I read the blog and then I read all the comments and it’s pretty wowser.
I love all the different angles of looking at what might have been going on with Martha and I’m drawn back to the original thought that you started to hit on Craig. I think she was avoiding something and that busyness was a great distraction…an even worthy distraction. My guess is that she was avoiding the plunge into an incredible journey because the beginning of the plunge is so difficult. (almost always) Not only that, but once you’ve committed to the plunge, things change, and change is hard for most of us even when it’s in out best interest. Mary had reached the point of exhilaration that comes after the plunge and was able to do something beyond the norm from then on. (or at least we surmise from then on…fact is, she may have had to take the plunge more than once considering we’re growing spiritually until we die). I think that the good thing Mary did upon taking the plunge is open herself up to being able to take the next plunge and the next one. I suspect also that the exhilaration from the plunges is what we will experience in heaven non stop. Now that’s cool.
Craig… darkness knows you are about to dive and it’s first attempt to stop you was to overwhelm you. Prayer warriors got you through (but only because of your willingness). Now it is using distraction. Might I suggest you go for the plunge, because darkness has other ideas to prevent you from the journey and I surmise that he knows the potential of greatness for you on the other side and he will do what he can to prevent it. (and why not do what he can when he is so successful with so many of us. I don’t think he will be successful with you though because in spite of your hesitation towards the change that is coming, you want it more than anything, right?)
I want to look more at what Dawn offered…I’m intrigued.
God bless you on this journey, Craig.


Craig February 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Victoria, everything you said in that last paragraph, in my better moments, in my more confident moments, in the moments I’m not afraid of NOT being humble enough, that’s what I think too, but he’s been successful for a long time at slowing me down – and where he has failed at it – I’ve succeeded. The wrong thing to succeed at. No? But maybe last year’s name of “connect” – combined with this year’s name of “see” – maybe now is the time. I hope it is. And I like your take on Mary and Martha too – I think she may have been avoiding something – and I think Jesus knew it – anyway – that’ll be my take – a little preview for you (◠‿◠) God bless you Victoria.


Debra February 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm

I think Mary was intentionally avoiding the kitchen 😉 That’s what I do all the time. I’d rather sit at the feet of the Master ANY day than help out in the kitchen. They were wired different, the sisters. Some folks are just contemplatives and others are work horses and busy bees. In psychoanalyzing Martha, she seems to be a worry wart, and wants everything perfect. Ever noticed how apt Scripture is in showing opposite types? Saul and David, Jonathan and Absalom, Mary and Mary…


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