The word martyr brings two very different things to mind. The first is someone who sacrifices their life under religious persecution. The other, as stated by, “a display of feigned or exaggerated suffering to obtain sympathy or admiration.” It’s the later I am writing about today.

I recently found a root in my heart that I am not proud of and I’m working to dig it up. There is this idea that sacrificing for others is a badge of honor. Similar to the story of Mary and Martha from Luke. I have noticed within myself this need to have others know my sufferings, to have others see me as sacrificial. Why? Deep down, I see it as honorable. I see it as doing the right thing even if it causes me to be run down, cranky, and not so fun to live with most days.

38-40 As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. 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.” 41-42 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: 38-42 MSG).

Martha is often seen as the wrong kind of martyr. I identify with Martha more than I care to admit. I want to be seen as working harder than others. I want everything to be perfect for guests. Deep down I know, I go above and beyond in hopes of some recognition. I want to be seen as sacrificial.

I’m not proud of these roots. I’m committed to digging them out. God brought this part of my heart to light. God challenges me to check my motives. God invites me to take these moments to Him for restoration. It is His promise to restore our hearts, removing historical junk (Hebrew 12:25-29 MSG). I continue to ask God to show me additional roots that need removal. This is my deep cleaning plan for the year. This is how I intend to continue to restore my heart and grow closer to Christ.

How about you? Do you struggle with the martyr syndrome? Do you have a plan to restore your heart and grow closer to Christ? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.

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