What happens when the helper is spread too thin?
As I wound my way through isles and stores this morning, I found myself near tears too often....silently crying out to Him to lift the burdens. My mind went to that rock Moses struck (Exodus 17:1-7) and water poured out for the people who were thirsty..... Rocks are made of solid, near unbreakable substance....formed ages ago and filled with markers of time. Moses struck the rock with a staff.....a piece of wood, something so much weaker than the rock itself and it split, pouring forth fresh water to quench the thirst of those who were grumbling and needy.
I can only hope that when I split it is the Lord's living water that pours forth.
While I may be compared to or referred to as the "rock" I am all too aware of my limitations. Its funny how some things occur to you but not until someone else speaks them out loud does it become a concept real enough to acknowledge.
"Prayer Warrior" is another label people place on me. I am blessed with gifts that do fit this description but I am more than my gifts. I fight the label because the label limits me....even more so it limits the perception of how God may choose to use me....or anyone else for that matter. God has no limits. For more than a year I was the lone prayer minister at our little church. The burdens started getting too heavy, combining with the burdens I already have....the ones that accumulate daily and I struggle to keep straight. I was sharing with a friend about how I felt on the verge of snapping from the weight of it all and that the only answer I felt was coming was that I needed to stop being the prayer minister. The idea of leaving our congregation without this service left me with the pressure of enormous guilt. But what good is a prayer minister that is so burdened that she doesn't have the properly prepared heart to intercede for others the way that they deserve? The way He asks. One Sunday as I approached to pray with the worship team before service, our pastor came down the stairs and called me to the side....I cracked. He didn't know that as I approached I was silently begging the Lord to relieve me...to rescue me....in that moment it was like He'd thrown me a life preserver. He heard my cry. My pastor was thrown off by my response....tears started to stream down my cheeks as I told him how weary I was and that I was struggling.
I don't remember the time line but at some point after all this my friend who I had confided in said that she was thinking about the situation one day and it struck her how obvious it was that I would be so tired, so burned out. This thought had occurred to me before but it wasn't until she spoke it that it became worth acknowledging. She went on to tell me how if anyone needed me, I was there...mentoring and providing wisdom or a listening ear to a neighborhood young man, a friend or whomever crossed my path. That daily I put in an hour or more with my father on the phone, assessing, listening and checking in with him on how he is doing but the conversation, the flow, is very one sided. I am advocating for our son, monitoring speech patterns, deciphering what on earth the teachers are seeing or hearing. Caring for our home, monitoring my food and symptoms, caring for my husband, being a step mom to a teenager who is all too quickly growing up pouring into my family to fill them up so that they are better equipped, when they leave our home, to battle the world they encounter......she went on about all the things that pour out of me in various directions. I got tired just listening to her. All these things individually are small......but together cause the mind to be constantly in motion....
Pride is my weakness so I've tried to not cling too tightly to the praise of that conversation and instead tried to be more aware of where I am giving the best of myself. My family deserves my best, everyone else should get the leftovers. So which is it that I'm providing my family?
Today I feel I've run out of best. I'm running on left overs. Yesterday I found myself both exhausted and ravenous. My mind alternating between filling up with too much to sort out and going blank. I am capable of so much more.......but find myself feeling like an outlet with too many things plugged into it...drained. Today I see that was a symptom......
tomorrow would have been my mother's birthday.
I don't want to feel the burden, every time I go to church, of the absence of the position I filled or have to keep saying no to praying with people.....the look I get in return, questions how someone so "gifted" like me could not. Which only serves to back why I say no. It's not about me. It became too much about me....which was a whole other burden. My gift should not become my identity. My gift should not become your god......and in some instances, for some people, it did. Therefore, I must stand immovable and say no....I feel the guilt, maybe some judgement, heaped on my head like coals but I will not stand in His way. When the Lord says to step down, step down is what I do.
Juggling is not my forte. Currently there are too many objects and situations in the air and I can't keep up. I look around my home and that is always the best indicator of my mind being too overtaken. A list of people and things.....situations....on a loop in my mind. Researching school for the Dude next year...home school? Teenage boy friends, co-parenting and trying to stay in the loop...stay connected. Senior father who doesn't seem to realize the world doesn't revolve around him....or the 1 grandchild he pays attention to out of 5. Christmas shopping I haven't done, the grand plans for fun and baking, the 12 days of Christmas surprise I was hoping to pull of for my Mr.... Trying to sort out current school issues....managing symptoms of allergies and trying to figure out how, when and where to get him tested, a dog who is going deaf and possibly having night time accidents...taking care of my own food junk and trying to lose weight. Holiday parties and gatherings to plan.....family dynamics and drama and I just don't have the energy for it. The list just keeps growing and I'm struggling to even remember what all is on it.....I feel helpless with our son...not supportive or encouraging enough of my husband during stressful times at work....I know something has to give. But what?
Today is just one day. A day where quotes like "I'm too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed" just don't hit the mark....counting my blessings make me smile but don't lift the burden....my Lord gives me peace that this too shall pass and that He will help me....but frustration and confusion linger.
Even the rocks cry out. We are stronger at our weakest. He is bigger than it all.