The Mary-Wannabe-Martha-Reality: Part 1

If you’re like me, you have a complex.

You have a desire, nay, a driving need, to DO, to DO WELL, and to HAVE DONE more, concurrently, and better than everyone else you know.

You excel at doing, and you draw your self-worth from how much you have done and how well you have done it.

You are a task-completer, a list-checker-off-er.  Your number one strength on the StrengthsFinder test is Achiever.  (PS. This actually means you have a bigger complex than I do because Achiever is only number three on my StrengthsFinder results. Nany nany boo boo.)

You feel as if every day starts at zero.  By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself.  And by “every day” you mean every single day — workdays, weekends, vacations.  No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied.  You have an internal fire burning inside you.  It pushes you to do more, to achieve more.  After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment.  – Tom Rath, StrengthsFinder 2.0 (p37)

Okay, maybe not all of you are Achievers, but a lot of you are.  A lot of Christians are, especially Christian women.  We’re taught early and often that we live to serve, and that our value both in our church community and in our homes is based on what, how much, how often, and how well we DO for everyone.

This is not news.

Martha, sister of Lazarus and friend of Jesus, would have scored Achiever as her number one strength, right above Responsibility.

That’s right. This is you, too, and a lot of other Christians.  Your word is your bond.  You always come through.  You never let anything fall through the cracks.

[You] take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion.  Your good name depends on it…. This conscientiousness, this near obsession for doing things right, and your impeccable ethics, combine to create your reputation: utterly dependable…. Your willingness to volunteer may sometimes lead you to take on more than you should. – Tom Rath, StrengthsFinder 2.0 (p149)

Super-DOer.  That’s you.

You have this need to achieve, and whether you want to or not, you find yourself committed to doing more and more.  You are the quintessential soccer mom.  You have it all together.

You are super human.

You are BUSY.

You are TIRED.

You are JEALOUS and CRITICAL of anyone who is not caught up in your whirlwind of activity and responsibility.  You JUDGE.

How do you have time and energy to do and be everything everyone wants and expects you to do and be?

You are a DOer.

So was Martha.

Okay, that’s not news.

Rachel touched on this when she said advertising tries to make us believe we aren’t enough.  Kathy touched on this when she said that well-behaved women won’t change the church.

What you need to know is what to DO about it, right?

To be continued…

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About Laura K. Cavanaugh

I'm a writer, spiritual director, and advocate of holistic body theology.

Posted on May 23, 2012, in BODY of Christ, Service, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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