I’m sure you’ve heard of the story of the sisters Mary and Martha. Jesus arrived in town and became their guest.
Martha scurried about cooking, cleaning, and serving while her sister didn’t lift a finger to help. Mary just sat there, at Jesus’ feet, hanging on His every word.
As time passed, Martha became frustrated at her sister’s apparent lack of concern She wasn’t making herself useful all. She took her frustration to Jesus and almost demanded he make her sister join in and help her.
The reaction Martha received from Jesus may not have been the one she expected to receive.
“And Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 41-42 (KJV)
Martha was doing what she was taught to do – serving. Mary was doing the opposite of what she was taught, but exactly what was right in the moment. She was taking a break from the business of life, resting at the feet of Jesus, and listening to her Savior and what He had to say.
Mary understood in that moment that what she was getting from Jesus was more important than keeping herself busy alongside her sister.
Life has a way of keeping us busy with all the responsibilities and tasks that demand our time, attention, and energy.
Of course, someone has to do those things or they just won’t get done. However, busy is not always what we are called to be. Busy is not always the most productive thing.
Sometimes, following the example of Mary is exactly what is most important in the moment.
Check out today’s Mimika TV episode Busy isn’t a Badge.
Listen in and be inspired.
Busy isn’t a Badge
Welcome to the Unstick Your mind podcast on Mimika TV. Get ready to get unstuck, align with your true purpose, and unlock your God-given potential.
This conversation is what I like to call an evergreen conversation. No matter what happens in life, there’s always going to be moments, situations, circumstances that kind of where the mud gets slung and we kind of like, “How did I get stuck?” Where we feel like we’re in a car, pushing our foot on the pedal on the metal and nothing is moving. We’re just throwing a whole bunch of mud, making a whole big mess, and yet we’re not moving. So that feeling of being stuck, and I come from, in terms of what I do now, is a long way from where I started because of these issues of feeling stuck and trying to find a solution. Life throws us lemons so we make lemonade out of that, right?
So we don’t get to choose our path oftentimes, but sometimes we look back and we can see how God was at work in our lives. That even though at that moment, we’re kicking and screaming, like, “Get me out of the furnace, this hurts.” I look back and I go, I’m so grateful for those opportunities, because they definitely did refine me.
So long story short, I was born and raised South Africa. I met my husband when I was 16, as a teenager. So we were childhood sweethearts. We just celebrated 30 years of being together. Now we really feel like old farts. The kids are like, “Oh my gosh, you guys are so old. Like seriously.” So we’ve been together for 30 years and married for 25. And we’ve had three kids in three continents. And growing up in South Africa with it being so volatile, the rest of the world didn’t really care to know what was going on in South Africa. So we were always thinking, how can we aspire to grow and be better than what our environment is giving us.
So we had the opportunity to immigrate to England in 2000. And I would not advise it doing this way. I was 11 weeks pregnant with my second. I had a two-year-old. And we literally sold our whole life, our cars. And within six weeks, we had moved over. And then within three weeks of arriving to England, my daughter got pneumonia and was hospitalized for a week. So talk about stress. We call that our bootcamp years, where you know God’s got something for you. He’s kind of hazy about the details. I’m like a detail. Like give me the blueprint. Like I want to know when, the GPS coordinates, and exactly where we are going on this. But oftentimes in those opportunities, he doesn’t really tell us what’s ahead. We just have to trust the process. But we have been here for 15 years and established ourselves. And as immigrants to this country, we had to definitely go through the ringer in terms of being legal.
We now are American citizens, gone through the whole U.S. immigration process, which was like I could grow trees with the amount of paperwork I had to submit. But even during those opportunities and those experiences we go through, everything is refining. I look back and I go at the time I was squealing like a stuffed pig, like, “Get me out of here, get me out, this is not fun.” But I look back and I go, I’m really grateful for those opportunities because they really did grow something in me that I didn’t know at the time that I needed. So learning to trust God and not being able to see the blueprint.
And let me tell you, I’ve had these conversations with God. I’m like, “Okay, where we going? What time? Should we plan?” And he’s like, “You are the worst backseat driver any time. Like, can you just relax? Stick your head out the window, enjoy the journey.” Where I’m like, “Oh, I think we can take a detour here. The GPS says…” He’s like, “Are you done? How about now?” And I’ve had to learn through a lot of experiences that being in the driver’s seat, even though I’ve invited God to be the driver in my life, I kind of always want to take it back. Like, “Okay, God, I pray for this. Oh, but I need to sort it out,” because I’m a fixer.
So any other fixers and recovering perfectionists out there, I had to give up my membership to control freaks anonymous. And ever since I did, I’m feeling so much better. But I do have to remind myself to take my sticky fingers off things because I tend to want to overanalyze, overthink. Lots of us women are in that situation, where we’re like, “God, I would like to have this. And I know you have a plan, but can we kind of do it this way because it’s kind of that’s how I’m expecting it to happen.” And he’s like, “No, I’m doing it my way.” And I’ve realized that it’s just easier to say, “Okay Jesus, take the wheel. This ain’t working. Clearly, I’m not qualified to run my own life because I mess up.” So it’s so much easier to kind of just rely on what the Holy Spirit wants to show you.
Busy isn’t a Badge
I went through what I call a life-changing altering season where I was pushing and pushing and pushing myself. Because I, through those years of moving, never know when to really relax. I don’t know if anyone else can admit, I find relaxing kind of hard. Like when people say, “Just relax,” I’m like, “What does that mean? Do I have to think about things? Should I be planning something when I’m?” So I’m very much where resting has been a challenge and what that resting doesn’t mean just taking a nap. It means taking a nap from your worries and your brain because we tend to overanalyze, us fixers type, perfectionists. We always over overanalyze, overthink, and our brains just never get a rest.
And eventually what happens is, if we don’t read the signs, talk about a journey towards somewhere where we don’t know, we end up putting more pedal to the metal and pushing harder. This whole hustle and grind mentality that the world has sold everybody is a total lie. It’s actually opposite to God’s way of doing things. With God less is more. And it took me quite a few years to learn that the hard way. So of course, when the world is telling you you’ve got to do more, you’ve got to multitask, especially when you’re a mom and you’re a business owner and you’re a wife and you got your fingers in lots of pies, it’s very easy to want to take on more because our brains are wired to have that gratification, that sense of achievement.
I love lists. I love to tick off my list where I feel like I’m achieving something. But sometimes what happens is our brains get stuck in this loop of where the hormones eventually and the adrenaline starts to kick in and then you get stuck in survival and crisis mode where everything’s a fire, everything’s a drama. Everything has to be, if it isn’t going from one thing to another, there is no margin in between. And there are signs often, like health problems, relationship problems, patience problems. Like I know when I start yelling at the people behind the wheel, and the kids, they’re like, “Oh, oh, something’s wrong with mom, better take a step back very carefully before you get in the firing line.”
And I’ve realized over the years I just thought I would wear my burnout as a badge of honor, thinking I was some hero because I could handle so much and I would do so much. And thinking that makes me important or makes me stronger than everyone else. And then you’re like, “Well, I can handle more than you.” I mean, obviously we don’t verbalize these things but it’s the thoughts we have. And then what happens is we get stuck on this loop of almost like going on a merry-go-round and we never know how to stop. And you know what happens with the merry-go-round, it just gets faster and faster and faster. And then it’s even harder to keep your bearings.
So 2016, I had that experience where it was like a trifecta. So early 2016, I had a business failure, a launch that I’d spent a lot of money on that didn’t go very well. And at the time there were signs that one of my kids was dealing, we had mental health issues and then things were just getting from bad to worse, school, not sleeping, not eating, depression, anxiety. And believe me, as a fixer, we went to the doctors, the psychiatrist, the clinicians, the testing, read all the books, tried and did everything to try and fix things. So of course, as a fixer, I had to go into do mode and do as much as we can. And I realized I just couldn’t manage.
And God, in his graciousness, that even though the business thing had failed, there was a reason to that because he knew that I needed this time to work through the issues with my son. I wouldn’t have had the mental fortitude and strength to deal with clients at the capacity. So even though at the time I felt like I was failing, it was more of a protection. God was protecting me for what I know I needed. You know when sometimes things work and then they don’t. And when they don’t, you hit like a steel wall. No matter what you do, you can claw, you can cry, you can scream, when God closes the door, I would advise don’t be as stubborn as I was and sit there yelling there for him to open it up when he’s clearly shown you there’s a different path. I’ve learned that the hard way.
Busy isn’t a Badge
But after dealing with this with my son and then I had the issue with the business failure and then ended up in debt, six weeks later, my mother-in-law passed away from cancer. Now, that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back because her and I were very close. She actually helped me as a teenager through a whole process of inner healing and prayer. My addiction of choice was people pleasing and performance. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was smart. I didn’t want to be teased anymore for being different and whatever, fill in the blanks. We all have that kind of story.
So my mother-in-law, we had grown very close. And she was a wrong woman of faith. She had her own ministry. She would pray for people. She had a healing ministry and she would pray for people and they’d get healed, yet when she got cancer, she just didn’t get it just basic. She got a brain tumor. They had to radiate her spine. She lost the use of her legs. She couldn’t walk she was in so much pain. And she just withered away. It was so sad. And she was in South Africa. And at the time, dealing with my child and all this crisis we were in, I couldn’t travel to go and see her. So when she passed away, it literally broke me. I have never felt such physical grief as I’d had. Like my body was burnt out, my mind and my emotions were spent. I had nothing left to give.
And then I had on top of it a crisis of faith. And I talk about getting angry with God. Like, “God, how could you let her pass away? She loved you. She did all these things for you.” We all have those moments in life where we are like, “Why do I believe this? Like what is this?” It’s great to go to church and tick the box and say, “Yay, signature, I’m a Christian.” But what does that actually mean when the rubber hits the road, when you are challenged with these things and you start to really realize. And God’s like, “Well, do you trust me?” And I was like, “Right now, not so much. We’re going to have to do some talking because there’s going to be some issues.” And he’s got big shoulders. And I would cry and scream and shout in my pillow and have the dear diary. Like… the whole letting it out, which I think is very therapeutic. And it really tested me through this whole process.
And I am a journalist. I’ve been writing ever since I was a kid. And to me, I just journaled this whole process. And the Lord really showed me is that he said to me, very clearly, I remember standing outside in my nighting gown feeling very sorry for myself, having a pity party. And he said, “It’s time to be well.” And I was like, “Okay, what do you mean well? What does that mean?” And he started take me on a yearlong journey of inner healing, of working through things that I thought I had dealt with. Like the junk in the trunk that seems to be packed away and we think, “I’ve dealt with that, we’re done, forgiven, done, walked away.”
That’s not exactly how it works in life. Life and healing with the Lord is like an onion. It’s a layer. Like we go through it and maybe we’ve forgiven and we’ve worked through [inaudible 00:11:31], but then we have to come back. And of course, you know what happens when you peel an onion, right? There’s lots of tears and snot and crying, which is good because that’s part of the healing process. So through this whole process, I just documented everything. And I closed my business down. I didn’t need the stress. For two years, I just went AWOL. Well, for a whole year, I wasn’t even on social media. I have this automated software that would post some quotes and things. But most people didn’t notice. And I thought the world would come to an end if I wasn’t on, doing my thing.
And it was just a time for me to be spending time with myself, my family, with the Lord. I spent a year volunteering at one of my local churches in the video production under a 20-year-old, who was technically my boss. So talk about a humbling experience. Because I remember God saying, “You can’t sit in this corner and have a pity party for the rest of your life.” He said, “You need to be useful. How about if you take your eyes off yourself and go do something for someone else?” And that to me was the biggest breakthrough because I could start to see there were other people in need. There were other people who needed what I had and even though I wasn’t feeling all that fancy in that moment, I could really provide some value and encouragement and help to somebody else. And that really helped me grow through that process of what I call the furnace, where he’s burning off all the stuff we don’t need.
Busy isn’t a Badge
And having been in the church and volunteering, I was working Saturday and Sunday. So I was saturated in the word. I wasn’t escaping. And during that process I wrote a book. I was like, “Okay, this is stuff I’ve gone through.” And eventually the Lord said, “No, you need to share this.” I’m like, “I say what? Excuse me? No one’s meant to see this. This is very raw and vulnerable stuff. Like really? Who’s going to really…? What are they going to think if I’m not perfect?” Oh, shocker, right? I’m actually human. And after a bit of wrestling, I realized that, again, about the service thing, that God says, “There’s somebody out there who’s praying for a solution to their problem and you are their solution. So it’s actually an act of selfishness withholding what you have to give. That gift I’ve given you isn’t for you. It’s actually for others.”
And once I’d got my mindset around what I’m doing and the way I’m living isn’t for me, what I’ve experienced isn’t a punishment. It is actually a refining. It’s getting me to a place where I can become valuable to someone else. Because I know when I was in that situation with my child trying to find resources, there was nothing that was written from a mother’s perspective. There’s lots of clinical psychology books about stuff of how to deal with mental issues with kids. But nothing that really spoke to me from a spiritual perspective. So I was like, “I’m going to write a book that would be for what I wanted, what I wanted to hear.”
So that was in 2018, the book came out. And I’m so grateful to see how the Lord has used that book. Like if I have a bad day, I just need to go to my Amazon reviews and read how people are actually finding life and encouragement and breakthrough just by me being brave enough to share my story. And the book continues to sell. And that really set me on a trajectory of really questioning what am I doing this for? I was in business and in marketing and all of the hustle and grind things. That doesn’t feel right for me. That’s not what I want anymore.
And I had to really sit and think this is an opportunity when things close down, or when businesses close, or when a job goes, or clients leave, we can sometimes see it as if there’s something wrong with us. But sometimes I really believe in seasons, that there’s a season and a time for everything. And that what I’d realized is that God was trying to change and shift me into a new season but I was resisting the change because I was so used to holding on to the old because of the comfort. Because our brains are designed to seek comfort. We do not like discomfort in any way. We have that survival, that sort of primitive brain part of us that’s always fight- flight. How do I get out of this? This is uncomfortable.
But what many people don’t realize is actually when you lean into the discomfort, when you lean in to the pain and you actually relax is actually when you start to see the growth. I grew up as a ballet dancer. So this is something that I was taught physically that even when you’re trying to learn the splits can be painful. Or even going on a rollercoaster. If you’ve ever tried, you tense your body up and you’re like, “Oh, this is going to hurt.” Yeah, it hurts. But if you actually try the opposite of actually relaxing in it… You see kids, they’re like, “Ah, ah,” got their arms up. I’m like, “What is wrong with them? How are you doing that?” And I soon realized that they had the secret sauce, which was just to relax and allow yourself to go with the flow. It’s like trying to swim upstream.
When we actually go with the flow, with the current, there’s a lot more strength and power in that, which is God’s flow, God’s current. So if you in that situation where you feel burnt out, exhausted, frazzled, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually drained, maybe you need to ask yourself are you fighting against the current? Are you fighting against what God is trying to show you, that oftentimes he will show you more than once. He’s a God of confirmation. He will always show you. Send a friend, or maybe you listen to a podcast, or maybe by listening to this today. I always say, if you’re looking for a sign, this is it.
I’ve prayed that before and literally saw a sign on the highway that said, “If you looking for a sign, this is it.” No joke. God will show you when you need to see. And I’ve just realized that the more we fight things and we try to hold onto what once was, it’s like trying to grow a crop with dead seed. It just doesn’t work. If we look at nature, we see how God is. We have seasons. He doesn’t stay in summer all the time. We can’t be in harvest all the time. The same thing that when you going through a winter season where it feels like it’s dark, it’s dry, there’s no seed, you can’t see anything. That’s when the germination and the nutrients get revised.
And I’ve realized just to embrace the season I’m in instead of always wanting, because I’m such a future-orientated person. I play chess in my mind. I’m always thinking 3, 4, 5 steps ahead. And being present was such a challenge. Why couldn’t I just enjoy where I’m at? And I tell you, I’m not completely there yet. I still have to remind myself not to freak out, not to kind of get too far ahead. This is life. We have to just roll with the punches. That especially for us perfectionists, if things don’t go according to our plan, it kind of gets frustrating and we get annoyed, thinking we can push things. But what I’ve realized is that it’s not perfection we need. It’s more excellence. And oftentimes, God’s like, “Okay, well, I just need you to do this one thing today. I need you to unpack the dishes. And once you’ve done that, fabulous. You’ve actually did what I expect you to do. I didn’t expect you to take over the world. I just wanted you to do this one thing.”
Because it’s important for your brain. And the way, as a mindset coach, I went back to school after this whole process. And after writing the book, the Lord sort of leading me into marketplace ministry. So I still talk a lot to business owners, but I bring my faith and I’m very vocal about my faith now and how your mind is so important. Because I realized during that whole process, my mindset was a hot mess. I couldn’t grow. Even in my business, I would keep hitting road blocks and ceilings that I could never seem to break through and kept repeating the same old patterns and habits until I realized really everything starts with your thoughts. If your emotions, like a lot of us are just driven by emotions, but we never correlate the fact that our emotions are triggered by our thoughts.
Everything, like your results, are based on your thoughts. If you think you’re going to be successful, you’re correct. If you think you’re going to fail, you’re also correct. And it’s almost seems like not rocket science, but it clearly is. A lot of us get into a habit, and myself included, we let our thoughts run wild. We just let them. We think we just have to believe anything that pops in our mind. And we have to remember we have our conscious brain and our subconscious brain. And the subconscious brain is like a little two-year-old having a tantrum.
So I have had two-year-olds having tantrums, believe me. I’ve had to walk out of them, rugby hold, like football hold, under the arm, kicking and screaming like a wet fish out of water. We know what that’s like, right? Sometimes our brains get like that too, where we think everything’s, a mountain is a molehill. We start making a big drama out of things and start imagining the worst-case scenario before it’s even realized itself. And then we wonder why we confirm what our worst fears were, it’s because it’s what we were thinking about and the seeds we planted and then it’s like we make things happen. And we wonder why we keep reliving Groundhogs Day.
Busy isn’t a Badge
So what I’d realized, I had to go back to the beginning. I had to go back to where does it actually start. And this is what I love about science is catching up with the Bible. Obviously we knew that. You know how where God says you need to make over and renew your mind daily as a habit. So kind of like I think of it as cleaning out the closet. We can’t leave anything stuffed in there that’s going to affect us. We have to think, am I thinking according to what God’s thoughts are for me. Like identity. Like women, we especially suffer from a lot of identity issues, especially if you’ve had anything traumatic as a child, or when you’ve grown up, or maybe you’ve had rejection issues, or whatever it is. We’ve all have some story. And a lot of us do suffer a lot with the self-worth thing.
And what happens is then we think that, because of our version of ourself, is how God sees us, which is not actually true. We need to learn to really understand what’s truth and what’s lies. Because what we think of in our lives aren’t necessarily truths. But a confirmation bias says, if you seek out and you believe in something, you will start to get that confirmation of what you believe. So in other words, if you believe that you are unworthy and fill in the blank, you will start to hear more of that.
It’s like if you ever driven down the road and you’re going to buy a car and you never really think about it. And you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to get…” Like for me, I have a blue RAV, Toyota RAV, and I was like, “Oh, that’s so unique. No one’s ever going to buy a car in that color. No one’s that brave, right?” And since I bought my car, you know how many Toyota blue cars I’ve seen? It’s because before I didn’t notice it. I didn’t really notice that it was even a thing. Now all of a sudden the confirmation bias has set in. Now I’m like, “Oh, there it is. There it is. There it is.” And we start to see it.
So the same thing happens with negative news. That’s why I feel like watching the news is so toxic for us because having been someone who’s written and worked in PR and marketing, I can tell you there’s a lot of lies than what is actually being told out there because it’s based on probing us for a reaction. They want the clickbait. They want to get your reaction. They want to get your emotions going so that you want to learn more because the brain naturally likes drama. That two-year-old, the one that likes to have a hissy fit, she likes to have a lot of drama. So if we know she’s freaking out, she’s going to start to confirm. She wants to bring her drama friends to the party. And then before you know it, everyone is having a screaming, crying, two-year-old freak out match.
If you’ve ever looked after two-year-olds, you know one goes and then next, they all set each other off. Which is why it’s important to really filter who we listen to, our friends, our inputs, watching TV or radio shows, our podcasts, our books, are things we watching. It’s really important to understand junk in, junk out. So we need to make sure that we are filtering that. And that’s part of what I feel God expects of us, is taking care of our temples, is our minds, our bodies, our emotions.
And so I would just challenge everyone today that no matter where you are in life, that you aren’t a collection of your past. Your identity is not in your circumstances. Your identity is in who God says you are. And who he says, the last time I checked was that we are loved. We are chosen. We are protected. We are bought at a very high price, which means I’m valuable. So we need to start believing that. Even though the brain might start to say, “Well, I don’t have confirmation of that because of my experiences,” I can guarantee you that your brain is showing you there are some challenges that are required for you to challenge your thinking.
So if you haven’t yet done that, let me invite you to what I call a mindset makeover challenge, is to start to really make sure and to think about what you’re thinking about. Like a lot of us go to the gym or have like maybe a diet meal plan. But none of us really think about having a mindset diet. Let me think what I’m actually thinking about and write it down. Like a food diary. You’ll be surprised that when you start to take stock of what it actually is that you’re processing and you’re thinking about, and you start to write it out.
Typing is great, but there’s something about using your hand and a pen and paper that uses another part of your brain that starts to really engage your subconscious, because it slows you down into connecting with your emotions and your thoughts. That writing actually what you’re processing and then reading it back, you often will start to see the truth from the lies. And start to really get a habit. And it’s like an exercise habit. It doesn’t happen just once. Like in order to lose weight, you’ve got to go to the gym a few times, right? And you’re not going to see the results right now.
It takes, the research is shown, 63 days to form a new, assign a path in your brain and a new habit. So the 21 days is just when people get started and they give up and they wonder why. But really, it’s we need persistence and perseverance, like the whole scripture about running the race. I finally realized what that means. It means not giving up, just saying no matter what my circumstances are saying or showing me, no matter who’s freaking out around me, the house could be burning, but I am still going to sit very still and listening to what God has to say for me, because he will always provide an escape route. And oftentimes, it’s something so simple that we not even looking at it because we think it has to be complicated. Sometimes I’d be like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t manage.” And he’s like, “Go take a nap.” I was like, “What?” He’s like, “Yeah, you need to go nap. You ain’t good to go. You are dangerous for everyone. Like for your sanity and the safety of the family, you need to go nap.”
And my husband’s like, “Oh boy.” So when I’m processing and I get really upset, I don’t eat, I clean. So everyone in the house knows, “Oh, oh, when mom’s got the sponge and the antibacterial wipes and the gloves on, you just better get out of the way because she’s working through things. And it’s like either the floor gets a workout or you’re going to get in trouble.” So they’ve all realized that, to give me that space and we all have our ways of processing. And I also love, I took up figure skating at the age of 33 as another personal challenge. I never did it as a kid. Because I was determined to rewire my brain and to learn new techniques and new skills.
Busy isn’t a Badge
So I can guarantee you, you can teach an old dog new tricks. I’m at 45 now and been doing this for about 12 years. And I can tell you it’s much harder as an adult, but persistence is key and practice, practice, practice. So if you have no mindfulness or what the world calls mindfulness, what we call prayer and contemplating and just spending time in the word and with God, doesn’t have to be religious, but whatever you find is your best way to connect with the Lord, whether it’s putting on music, going for a walk, going doing a dance class or doing a pottery class or whatever it is, you need to find that time because self-care is really, it’s biblical. It’s important because we cannot do what God has called us to do if we are running ragged, burnt out, frazzled.
Because at the end of the day, I always say the man is the head of the home, but the woman is the heart. If her heart is broken and heavy and she can’t carry a load, it affects everybody in the family. So let me invite you today that me challenge you also to take stock of your thoughts. Start to take a thought diary and to think about what you’re thinking about and start to process and sift out the lies from the truth. And the Holy Spirit’s very good at showing you that. Like, “Nope, that’s not true. That’s a lie.” And oftentimes I find if I’m struggling with something, I’ll just start to look for a scripture on that, like fear or pride or judgment or criticism or whatever is that you’re feeling you’re struggling with. There’s always an answer. So I hope that’s of encouragement to you today.
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