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Episode 28: What is a Moment of Holy Uselessness?

overwhelm podcast Jul 05, 2022

It’s a holiday week, so let’s take a little “vacation” break from answering a question. One thing I like about holidays is that they are like periods in a run-on sentence. A moment to pause and take a breath so you can say or write the next sentence more thoughtfully. 

After traveling through a very busy June with a little guilt that I should have been balancing my life better, I took a few days on the lake with girlfriends. I was reading a magazine and the author of the article posed a question, “Can we afford a moment of holy uselessness?”

I don’t really like the word uselessness so it caught my attention . . . then pairing it with holy? It did bring to mind the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 when Martha is pulled away by the bustle of the kitchen and Mary chose to sit at Jesus' feet. 

As I reflected on usefulness, I felt this release from my over-busy June and the guilt that I had been too much of a Martha. I’m confident I was in the right place and it was the right time to be in my Martha-moment. I’m also confident that I want to be in that simple space of learning how to receive from Jesus in this Mary-moment I am now entering. 

Sometimes I need to be a Martha and sometimes I need to be a Mary. The secret for me is discerning which moment I am in. 

Holy uselessness is those moments simply for no other purpose than to know Him. To RECEIVE. To hang out with Jesus.

What moment are you in?

I considered holy moments of uselessness where people in the bible simply RECEIVED. Maybe they will be an invitation to you like they were to me:

Noticing and Wandering

Like Adam and Eve walking in the garden in the cool of the morning noticing the goodness that God has created.

Listening and Soaking

Like Mary responding to the invitation of Jesus to sit at his feet.

Eating and Sleeping

Like Elijah in his exhaustion and disappointment with God was led to the brook where the Spirit fed him, and he rested and then fed him and he rested.


Like Mary, the mother of Jesus as she heard great things and took them into her heart to think and meditate on them.


Like the wedding party and the feast where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine so the crowd could experience celebration and joy. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus’ first miracle was “useless”?


Like the lame man who could do nothing but receive from four friends who brought him to Jesus and tore the roof off to receive the healing and forgiveness of our savior.


Like Peter at the sea of Galilee with Jesus after his denial and Christ’s resurrection. Jesus asks Peter 3 times if he loves him. Each time releasing the doubt, the grief, the shame, the lies to receive truth and love.

I’m going to practice some of these other moments and invite you to do the same. Let me know how it goes for you and what you notice!

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