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Monday, September 28, 2009

martha's fasting

confession time: as silly as it sounds, this week i'm starving my inner martha. and by martha i mean both the mary's sister martha and the martha who makes things on tv and puts out some fun magazines. if this is confusing to you, i apologize. it is pretty early here and i didn't get much sleep last night. perhaps if i tried to explain? yes? no? who cares? well i will anyway, if only for my own illumination.

you see, i have a very addictive personality. not in the drugs and alcohol sense (although i admit that eating carbs comes close--ugh, stupid carbs) but in the doing things sense. whether the doing things is making cool stuff or just cleaning the house, i have this driving need to accomplish things. i sew, i bake, i clean, i paint, i DO--constantly. and if i don't...well. i feel like a useless lout for starters.

but is that really who i am? is all my joy tied up in what i can get done in one day, or whether or not somebody else is wowed but my spectacular (okay, okay, mediocre) talents?

that right there is one problem. another is the whole unwise steward thing. i make fun of girls who go clothes shopping every week and yet i could go to joann fabric three times a week and still think of something else i want, or convince myself of something else i "need." the result? money down the drain. or at least stacked up in neat color-coordinated piles in my fabric stash. why do i have a stash? if i only bought what i needed i'd never have more than a few stray scraps lying around. my frugality has gone out the window lately when it comes to my "little projects."

that was problem number two. three is worse: i'm an obsessive and impatient martha. when i'm working on a painting or a sewing project or even if i'm just cleaning the house, i'm focused. so focused that i forget to eat, drink, go to the bathroom, and God help you if you interrupt me for anything short of an emergency. i hate this about myself. i know that God has given me the abilities i have, and that i shouldn't squander them, but i know that irritable obsessive-compulsive jenn is not the intended by-product of using those skills.

but worst of all, my doings nag at me. if i try to sit down with the kids and watch a movie, if i try to read a book, i'm always thinking of what i "should" be doing. heck, i can't even go swimming without noticing the dirt at the deep end and busting out the pool broom. and this has spilled over and consumed my spiritual life. this horrible nagging mental list of things i'd either rather be doing or that i've convinced myself i can't relax before doing looms over me every time i think of praying and reading the Word. even this morning at three a.m., when i was praying about these very things, i started to think about a new sewing project. innocuous enough, something that would be a gift for art, but still! the very fact that i can't even PRAY without getting distracted shows how out of control this has gotten.

so martha is fasting--for a week, for a month, for as long as it takes me to get my priorities straight. the sewing table has been cleared off, the stash stashed away and the machine covered up. my paints are in a bin, and all chores not strictly necessary are on hold. because i know how wrong it is that i spend a huge amount of time trying to please myself or others and a fraction of that trying to please God, and that knowledge nags at me much more that my self-imposed to-do list does.

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