At any given moment, I’m probably a little too much. I probably identify too well with anything that even conveys “too much.” I’m probably carrying too much in my hands. I probably think too much. I probably say far too much. I feel far too much. I laugh way too much. I’m probably wearing too much makeup. I’ve definitely put too much time and effort and hair product in my hair in the morning.
Balance has never been my strongest suit, and simplicity has never been my style.
I’ve been slow-cooking some deeper musings about how to achieve the balance and simplicity so admired and respected by seemingly everyone else, how the virtue of humility and enhanced emotional intelligence could be the key to balancing the scales when my “too much” is showing.
In Academic Leadership Land where I live and work and learn, these concepts seem to be the cure for everything. Having trouble communicating in your relationships? Try using your emotional intelligence and seeing the other person through a humbled lense of yourselves. Want to lead your organization better? Be humble about your strengths and shortcomings as a leader and exercise and encourage emotional intelligence in your teams. Boom.
I’m not knocking the power of humility or E.Q., nor am I denying that I could probably use a whole lot more of both in my life. In fact, you could probably never have too much of these things.
I’m just wondering where the “too much” is actually derivative from. Is it because there is too much of something else? Too much passion? Too much creativity? Too much ability? Nah, that’s not right.
Maybe the “too much” happens because there isn’t enough of something else.
Jesus called out a dear sister named Martha for being a little too much at a house party she was hosting. #BeOurGuest
She was probably the perfect hostess in many ways. She had probably cooked and prepared the perfect meal, putting a little too much food together as what was actually needed. She probably cleaned a little too much considering her guest was the King of #NoJudgment. She probably was thinking too much about making her guest happy through all the details she had control over—through perfect lighting, perfect decor, perfect party planning. She was probably a woman known for being a little too much.
Her sister Mary on the other hand?? That woman couldn’t care less about all the things Martha was worried about. She’s known for being a free-spirit. A simple soul. Able to live-in-the-moment without worrying about the future. If Martha was too much, then Mary was like the third everything in “Goldilocks & the Three Bears”–just right. Mary was charming for all of this, and I’m sure Martha could appreciate her sister for these qualities.
That is, until Martha’s too much wasn’t being appreciated because of Mary’s just right.
Here Martha is trying to keep her well thought-out party rolling in the kitchen, while Mary is being Mary again–sitting on the floor at Jesus’ feet like the charming little hippie she is, hanging on every word he said and completely forgetting that SHE lives here and should be part of the hosting responsibilities. #MuchToDo
“Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. ‘Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.’“
Jesus, in all of his kindness and ability to see right to the heart of our issues, saw Martha’s too much for what it really was.
“The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
Luke 10:40-42 MSG
These are thoughts I wanted to write about in a different post, but I want to throw them in here, probably because I’m putting too much thought into what could be a simple message.
Martha and I might struggle with the same “too much” because we share the same fear of being “not enough.” We might share not having enough security in our selves and our relationships to stop pushing too much and giving too much and trying too much.
And, I know Jesus sees our “too much” and smiles because he sees the potential it has to be greater when properly channeled, when there’s a secure root that centers us and keeps us from being swayed and pushed over by what we perceive is “not enough.”
Disagree as you would like, but I really want to believe there are plenty of things in life that should seem “too much” because there’s not enough of them in the world already. The difference is that these same things must be rooted and established in the security of unconditional love before we unleash them to the world. And there’s not many places to find such a love in this world. But, when you find it and when you know it to be true, your “too much” can become like the third everything in “Goldilocks–“, not because you purposefully held anything back, but because you’re simply sharing the overflow from what it feels like to be fully known and accepted no matter what.
“And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.
Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights!
Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19 MSG