For the Girl in Search of the Real Thing
“It’s the Real Thing” was the original slogan for Coca-Cola in 1971, but today it seems to be the motto for the never ending search for something authentic. It’s expected for bags to be knockoffs, pictures to be filtered, news to be fake, voices to be auto tuned, and most things to be photo shopped to enhance the aesthetics. It takes a keen eye to recognize authentic verses artificial. Keeping up with multiple images to impress people is exhausting. When we do this, are we too caught up in our own expectations, others expectations, or a combination of both?
In this season, God has really put it on my heart to not exhaust myself by keeping up with expectations, but to strive to live in HIS image. Keeping up with the world, even the Christian world, can be draining. For example, there are endless things that we can fill our schedules with in a Christian Community- small groups, bible studies, worship nights, church services, serving others, etc. These are all GOOD things, and these are all GODLY things when done with the right heart. However, if we do these deeds with the expectation that they are what makes us Christians then we may find ourselves at the mercy of putting everything in front of God.
In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus visits Mary and Martha as he is traveling through their village. Mary chooses to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him (v39) and Martha is distracted by all the preparations that had to be made to host Jesus (v40). As Martha feels neglected by Mary, Jesus explains to the sisters, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed- or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42).
This story has collided with my heart as I realized I find myself exhausted when I’m being a Martha and not a Mary. Martha was preparing a place for Jesus. I imagine this to be cleaning her house, cooking the best food for Him, basically all the things one would think they needed to do when hosting the King of Kings. Today, this could look like a perfectly aesthetic social media, with an amount of followers that makes you worthy of being a true follower of the King. But Jesus tells us to be like Mary, to sit at his feet and listen. He wants us to be more attentive to Truth than to the expectations that the world creates.
Mary was being prepared by God to go out and run her race. Don’t assume that this is an invitation to always sit at the feet of Jesus and drop all responsibilities. Instead, Mary was disconnected from the world’s expectations and plugging into Jesus alone. She did not let the task at hand distract her from the person she would have been doing the task for in the first place. This can be a tricky balance of rest and Kingdom work. John Piper proposed an interesting question, “How do I work hard and yet be able to say when I am done: God’s grace was the worker in and through me?” When we take time to sit in awe and study the words of our Savior, we become the authentic Christ follower God created us to be. By radiating Christ-like authenticity, we can live like 1 Peter 4:11 commands:
“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”
Whatever season you are in, work to glorify God, but do so in the confidence of the authentic version of yourself. God’s word is the true “real thing,” so use the Bible as a tool to figure out who He created you to be. Remember that you have nothing to prove with all the artificiality. You have already been accepted, and the price has already been paid and secured for you by Jesus’ blood on the cross. As a Christian, you are working from a place of acceptance, not striving for it.
So join me, and let’s be “the real thing.”
Maggie // @maggie_yow