Mara No More (Friday Bible Study)
Ruth, Chapter 1
Some would think that it’s a little too late for resolutions. I say differently. It’s never too late. With that being said, today marks the day that I (you) no longer call myself (yourself) Mara
I’ve decided to be the best at my opportunity and blessing of life. I’ve chosen to let go of those voices that tell me I’m horrible, disappointing, irresponsible…a failure.
This morning I woke up doing what I often do, Instagram stalking. 🙋🏾yep, that’s me. For shame right? As someone with my spiritual background is/was always encouraged to wake with God first doing the total opposite, drugding through the mud of social media.
Instagram is known as a place for cyber debauchery but I say to you that it can also be a great place for inspiration.
When I want to be inspired, I scroll through the muck to find women, who I believe are beautiful, doing “something” with their lives, women who are fit, spiritual, or who possess their own sense of quirkiness, a strong but beautiful femininity (Within the boundaries of decency of course)
I suppose I do this because I’ve been in the muck, possessed by a “Mara” spirit for so long, the part of me that desires to overcome can only imagine doing so by viewing and living vicariously through others via pictures, images.
A “Mara” spirit is what overtakes you in periods of self loathing, discouragement, lows.
What is a “Mara” spirit?
It’s actually something I coined and is a pull from the name Mara, a name Naomi in the book of Ruth gave herself after enduring the torment of losing her husband and two sons. In the story, Naomi decided after her tragedy to return to her homeland. Upon returning, she was greeted with everyone praising her, calling her Naomi, a name with heft, wealth.
Ruth 1:20-21 “Don’t call me Naomi, she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty.”
Naomi, unable to identify with her own name, chose to be called “Mara” instead. She implored the people in her homeland to call her this because it was more appropriate due to her circumstance of loss.
This touched me in a very personal way. I am married with two sons, and while reading immediately connected and placed myself in Naomi’s shoes. It was automatic, by default, my mind went there. Many would agree that Naomi had every right to rename herself Mara. Nothing compares to loss. Especially a loss involving those we love. Mara equated to grief, a “stilled” and doubtful period for her. A period where growth, encouragement and hope go to die but I say only temporarily.
What if your loss isn’t a loss of life, but a loss of faith?
Is the grief from a loss of faith as strong as the grief experienced with a loss of life and does it give you the right to place yourself in “Mara” mode?
I think so.
My loss of faith sprung me into a downward spiral. Everyday, my mara spirit meant declaring that I was a loser, broke, troubled, unforgivable, spiritually dead and I’ve lived like this for years now.
It even caused to pick up bad habits associated with these ideas.
But today something changed.
During my Instagram flow, I found one woman who clearly wasn’t living in “Mara”.
She found ways to express herself and celebrate her beauty through dance and the arts. She was confident enough to present her expressions to the people. She was Naomi. She was Full.
If I’ve learned nothing in my 36 years, I’ve at least learned that no one travels through life unscathed. We all go through “it” and have done something.
Inside I yearned for her type of fullness. I viewed each pic with angst because I believed and told myself that I had to get “there”. Not where she was literally but figuratively. I wanted to reclaim my name and live in it as it was meant to be.
First, I began by telling myself that I was forgivable, beautiful, and valued. I decided to challenge myself to a 30 day mental transformation. Yes, I know this sounds very “self-helpy and oozes of naïveté but what is the other option really?
What do I really have to lose and what’s the worse that could happen, I come out of this with an amazing story to tell? A story of victory?
That can’t be a bad thing.
My transformation incorporates spiritual renewal, fitness, healthy eating, expunging bad habits and feminine grooming and relishing in the divinity of my womanhood, a special privilege bestowed upon me by my creator. Seriously, what is more divine than being a woman?
Here’s my question to you…Will you join me?
If you’ve been stuck in a “Mara” spirit due to a terrible loss, I challenge you to choose Naomi again, your name again.
To live and know that loss is inevitable but not the end.
I must warn you that the hardest part will be conquering the pain and persistent voices that remind you of your loss and demand that grief be mandatory but be encouraged that you can push through.
I’m still reading the book of Ruth, so I’m unsure of the outcome of Naomi’s story, but if I know anything about the God she served, it’s that triumph is mandatory.