If I knew you were coming… I’d have baked a cake (according to the chirpy little 50’s song.) Or spent all week cleaning. Or had a meltdown. Or feigned a dreadfully contagious sickness and cancelled everything. Oh, the hassles of hospitality! It shouldn’t be this hard—am I right? Especially for all my super busy “Martha” types out there. So much to do. So little time. So much guilt and so little grace. Friends, stay with me, I have good news…
“If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake…”
According to The Free Dictionary’s Idioms, this well-known phrase is “an expression of delighted surprise at finding someone whose appearance was unanticipated.”
Can we get vulnerable for a second? I can probably count on my fingers the number of surprise guests who I would be genuinely delighted to find on my doorstep unanticipated. And most of them live overseas, so I feel I’m fairly safe in this area. Please don’t get me wrong—you can totally drop in on the fly and I will love seeing you (truly), but I’ll have a pit in my stomach when I discover you are staying for dinner and I only defrosted three chicken breasts. Or that you’re staying overnight and I totally meant to clean the bathrooms this morning. I like to have notice, just keeping it real here. Even an hour. Preferably, twenty-four.
I think part of my problem is that I literally would have baked a cake if I knew you were coming—because baking is my jam and I actually love doing it. And so my perfectionist people-pleasing leaks out into deep disappointment over the fact that I can’t do all the things for you. As in, give you cake. Perhaps you can relate on some level? Or perhaps I’m slightly warped in a loving, baker-ish kinda way. So I’m as happy as a clam having company with a wee bit of notice (and yes, I realize we are not supposed to put caveats on the “offer hospitality” Bible verse!)
And that’s where the guilt creeps in. I should be fine with unexpected guests, right? I’m a Christian and I know hospitality is a thing. I’ve even taken it one step further and discovered that it’s not about opening my home, it’s about opening my heart. So why am I not totally chill with it like my fabulous friend? She doesn’t break a sweat feeding ten extras with zero notice. It seems guilt readily links arms with comparison.
Of course, all the things we struggle with in life lead back to a heart issue. Our deepest longing to be the best version of whom God created us to be reverberates with every heartbeat. A regular reminder.
For the Marthas among us, we hear “do more…do more…do more…do more” thrumming loud and clear. But what if we listened for the kinder, grace-filled rhythms that Jesus offers? The whispers that we are loved and we don’t need to prove anything with our stressing and striving?
“When you stop trying to fix everyone and everything around you, you begin to experience joy and peace in a deeper way.” Katie M.Reid
May I introduce you to a brand new book by my friend Katie M. Ried, which turns everything I’ve ever thought about Martha on its head? I’ve had the absolute joy of being on the book launch team for Made Like Martha, which truly is “good news for the woman who gets things done”.
This book is SUCH an encouragement—especially for modern-day Marthas who are doers and list-makers and super busy women who feel the guilt that comes with not being “Mary” enough. In a refreshing twist to the usual messages on stopping the doing and focus on the being, Katie calls us to worship as we work, to embrace who God has made us to be and to know that we are enough in Christ. Tell me that’s not good news? 🙂
I have my Amazon affiliate link for you (full disclosure here) which basically means I get a very tiny commission while you pay the regular awesome price. Grab a copy of Made Like Martha HERE! You can also enter my giveaway for a copy (details below.)
“The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important?” Luke 10:41 (TPT)
It’s our presence that’s up for grabs here, isn’t it? Whether we are talking about guests in our home or time with Jesus, we get to choose whether the distractions of “doing” are going to outweigh the gift of us being fully present. Whether we can worship—rather than worry—as we work. Embracing who we are, knowing that we are enough not because of our cake or clean bathroom, but because of Him.
The good news is that Jesus knows how we are wired and He delights in us. Whether we bake a cake or offer coffee and conversation, He can and will use us to love on others. Guilt versus grace… friend, take the grace!
P.S. I’ll be giving away a copy of Made Like Martha in my August Giveaway for my newsletter subscribers! Not a subscriber yet? (Gasp) It’s okay, you can go HERE to sign up and you’ll even receive my free ebook Diamond Devos 31!
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: