Therefore hiding in busyness whether spiritual or relational really boils down to a fear of loss of control of who we have defined ourselves to be. A busy person likes to be known as a busy person and usually is not afraid to admit that they are busy. In fact, it becomes a matter of pride, almost like “I’m busier than you are” because what they are busy about is what defines them. For instance, if the busy person is overly involved in volunteer activities, then they are defined as a giver. If the busy person is overly involved in art projects, then they are defined as creative. In order to maintain the giver or creative title, the busy person remains busy in those areas because they like to be known as a giver or creative. In this way, the busy person is controlling how they are defined by others and worse, how they are defining themselves. If they were not busy, the busy person fears they would lose control of their title and be subject to whatever someone might say about them. That is frightening.
When my daughter was born, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home and take care of our son and daughter. I left a job I loved because the demand of my children and the job was too much for me. I had no idea what to do with myself the first year and completely lost the professional title that defined who I was to anyone around me. Prior to kids, I would say that I was a “Corporate Trainer” and that would tell you a bit about who I was and what I was like. But later, my days were filled with nap schedules, shopping, cooking, feedings, and play dates. I didn’t do anything else and did not like the title of “Professional Burper”. And then it happened.
Our homeowners association had an opening and I wanted a new playground for our kids to play on, so I ran to be on the association and won. One committee led to another and then another and then another and the next thing I knew I had a new title of “President” and was over committed and busy all over again feeling much more comfortable that I had a title that I liked.
And I like titles. I like titles because they define me without having to get honest with who I really am. Instead I can hide behind a title that is created because I hide in busyness. I imagine that Martha was similar in that she liked being the older sister and liked the authority and responsibility that the older siblings sometimes enjoy. She liked being the sibling that the others depended on and her dependability became her title that others knew or they would not have come over with so many people for dinner.
But this is not the way Jesus recommended, He recommended being still and letting God define our roles. God gave new titles to several people in the Bible transforming them completely. Jacob who was the deceiver was given a new title of Israel. Paul who was a murderer of Christians was given a new title of apostle. What if we stop hiding in our busyness so that we can define our own titles and let God title us instead? Imagine the peace, the quietness and the assurance in your heart that comes from knowing your title is given by the Creator. Mary allowed Jesus to define her and when He did, she no longer needed to be busy.