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“Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38)

I don’t know about you, but I used to find this passage a bit perplexing on a few levels. First off, since I’m usually the one cooking and serving, it seemed like Jesus was a little hard on Martha. But on the other hand, Jesus was her guest so it seemed rather ungracious of Martha to be complaining to Him about the work. How unwelcoming is that?!

Now it’s clear someone had to cook and serve but what was the ultimate point of it anyway? To make guests feel welcome and loved, is it not; to spend time and enjoy their company, and with Jesus, to listen and learn from Him…to experience His presence and His love. Hence Mary clearly had chosen the better part.

Poor Martha, worried and distracted by many things…apparently it was more than just the cooking and serving. Perhaps her obsession with it was a way of distracting herself from her other worries. Or maybe her worries kept her so preoccupied she didn’t have the bandwidth to realize how ungracious she was actually being. Or maybe quiet time would make those worries more pronounced so she stayed on the move. Like so many people today she may have been on autopilot…(but of course, she couldn’t know that since that term was yet to be coined).

I think as we move into this new year, we can learn a big lesson here. What is the “better part” in your life? Why do you do the many things you do? It’s so easy to get caught up in doing what the world expects and try to turn your life into the perfect Pinterest board. Or maybe you’re doing the things you chose to do, but you’ve never stopped to evaluate why and if those things are even making you happy or getting you closer to your goals.

There are a lot of reasons for the anxiety epidemic today. Not knowing what matters most, not living your calling, and constant busyness are a big part of the problem.

Take some time in prayer to discern what God may be calling you to. Your state in life is a really good guide to keep you on the right track. If what you’re doing doesn’t align with your state in life, chances are it won’t bring you true happiness…and it’s probably causing you a lot of stress. It’s kind of like driving with your emergency brake on.

Give this some thought: As insignificant as you may feel in the overall scheme of things in the world, God has a perfect plan for your life. There is something only you can accomplish. And, (this is really important so pay close attention), He designed you for happiness. Let me repeat that…He designed you for happiness. When we live in sync with His will, when we use the unique gifts and talents that He gave us, we thrive. And everyone around us does as well.

Now don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean life will always be easy. That doesn’t mean there will be no suffering. But when we are living according to God’s will, it alleviates so much unnecessary suffering and angst.

If you find yourself stuck or can’t figure it out, talking to someone objective, who shares your values can be such a worthwhile investment. If it’s past pain, trauma, or dysfunction holding you back, reach out to a Catholic therapist. Therapy can help you find insight and healing to be able to move forward, free from the past. If it’s current stressors or a lack of discipline or direction, reach out to one of our coaches. With a little help, you can better discern your calling and formulate a plan to move you forward. It’s a new year and a new decade…perhaps a new life plan is in order too.

May God bless and guide you.

Allison Ricciardi, LMHC
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