Most of us know the story of Martha and Mary. Martha is often known as the woman who was busy taking care of the household chores, cooking, and what not while her sister Mary chose to sit at the feet of Christ and listen to Him. A lot of people tend to look at what Martha chose to do negatively.
Throughout my life several people have given me different perspectives about Martha. One being that the Lord never reprimanded Martha for doing what she did. He didn’t stop her or tell her that she was wrong. It wasn’t until Martha told the Lord to have Mary help her that He said something.
Another perspective is that each of us show our love for someone in different in ways. Perhaps that was the case with Martha and Mary. Martha chose to show her love for the Savior by making sure that His temporal needs were taken care of. Mary chose to show her love for the Savior by sitting at His feet and receiving what He had to offer; His gospel.
Another perspective (which is my favorite) is that we don’t know where Martha and Mary were at in their testimonies. We build and fortify our testimonies in different ways. At different points in our lives we all need that “one needful thing” that will strengthen our testimonies. Maybe for Martha her one needful thing was to sit to serve Jesus Christ in the way that she did. For Mary we know that her needful thing was to sit at His feet and learn.
Suffering from anxiety came a lot from feeling the need to do so much to show the Lord that I loved Him. I was always kept myself on top of scripture reading, praying, attending the temple, going to church, and all of those good things. My anxiety would act up if I failed to do any of those or if I felt that I wasn’t doing enough.
On top of that, I would be so focused on work and school. The need to feel successful and independent caused me to be so busy. The work load was stressful and often caused me to have anxiety and panic attacks. There many times when I would myself being like Martha and saying to God, “Don’t you care that I’m doing all of these things and suffering? Won’t you send someone to help me?” No one was ever sent.
Even though I knew that I was suffering from anxiety and depression, my plan to overcome that battle was to suck it up. My plan was to continue to work and focus on school so that I could prove that I could succeed and be independent despite having a mental illness. Although I was able to continue to work and finished my 2016 winter semester with a 3.75 GPA, my plan of sucking it up made things worse.
My spirituality had declined a lot. I found myself not having time to study the scriptures, attend the temple, fulfill my callings, and so forth. The more I drifted away from the protection of the gospel, the more I experienced anxiety and panic attacks; sometimes depression.
April 17th, 2017 I was suppose to start my Spring semester of college. It was the last semester I needed to get my Associate’s Degree. Then, if all went according to my plan I would only have had a year left to get my Bachelor’s Degree and prepare for medical school. God had a different plan for me.
April 16th, 2017 (Easter Sunday) I was sitting in church listening to the different speakers talking about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Literally, out of nowhere the most quiet and subtle prompting came to me. It threw me off because it had nothing to do with what was being talked about in church. The prompting was to withdraw from school.
I didn’t doubt the impression. In fact I said to myself, “I’m not even going to pray about this because I don’t want to know. I don’t want to do it. But I’ll know it’s from God if a confirmation comes in Sunday School. Let’s be honest, it’s Easter. There’s no way I’ll get a confirmation.” I was a little late to Sunday School class, but the very moment that I walked into class the teacher said, “If God asked you to give up something that you worked so hard for, would you do it?”
When the teacher said that, I didn’t know whether to feel so surprised at what others would see as a coincidence or to cry because a confirmation had come. Throughout the class someone said, “Deep down inside you don’t want to give it up, but you have to.” The teacher then led us all to Doctrine and Covenants 78:7 which says, “For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.” I just knew and couldn’t doubt what God wanted me to do.
That day I called my mom and I couldn’t stop crying. She cried with me and said, “If this is what the Lord wants you to do, then you have to do it. Don’t wait. Act now.” I did exactly what she told me to do.
When I had acted on the prompting to drop my classes, I knew that what I had done was right. The thoughts that followed were that I needed to start focusing on my physical and spiritual. I remember the words coming to my mind so clearly saying, “For so long you’ve been like Martha, working and serving. Right now it’s time for you to put that work load aside and sit at the feet of the Savior. Right now your needful thing is to be like Mary.”
It hasn’t been the easiest thing to set the work load aside, but having done that I have come to see where I’ve been lacking physically and spiritually. I have come to learn that it doesn’t matter how much I work, serve, become independent, or achieve success. None of it matters if I’m declining spiritually and physically.