All too often lately I have been saying to myself, “this is too much.” My plate is too full. Too many commitments. Not enough time for the things I think are important. I feel like an awkward juggler who hasn’t quite mastered keeping all the balls in the air yet.
This feeling is often confirmed when I get told by people, “I don’t know how you do it.” I am told this by strangers who find out I have five children, or by the struggling mom who just had her second (or first) baby. I am told this by the grandmother who is done raising her children and lacks the energy to take care of small children for extended periods.
I often find myself stumbling with a reply of some sort. “I don’t either.” I say. Or, “well, I don’t have babies in the house anymore.” Sometimes I reply, “the kids play so nicely together.” But this isn’t what I want to say. Those replies are not the truth of what I know deep down.
I can “do” my job as wife, mother, committee member, daughter, sister, friend, care giver because God has given me the strength to do it. He graciously provides me with what I need.
A passage we read at church on Sunday from 1 Kings 19 really stuck with me. This is the story of Elijah as he was running for his life from Jezebel. On his journey, he was ready to give up. He asked the Lord to take his life. This is how the Lord answered him:
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
Ha! The angel told him his journey was too much for him. And it was. He was about to travel for 40 days and 40 nights! Without much food or drink! And in knowledge of a death threat! Of course asking God for a way out seemed like the better option.
But the Lord provided for him in his time of need. He gave him physical food and water and allowed him to rest before the long journey.
I am amazed that God knows what we need and he provides it. Sometimes, we simply forget to ask for help.
I feel too busy? I’m feeling too stretched? Am I trying to do it all on my own strength? Or have I prayed to God in my despair and asked him to take it all away?
Sometimes we do need to take things away to make our lives more manageable. But sometimes that can be an excuse to get out of doing really hard things. Things that God has called us to do, but we really don’t have “time” for.
I’d like to be more discerning in the times where quitting is more attractive than staying. I’d like to call on God for his help and strength before I throw in the towel and say, “it’s too much!”
Of course it’s too much. The journey is too much for us.
But when God comes along side us with fresh, warm bread and cool water and allows us to nap in the shade, we are given a renewed strength to continue the journey he has asked us to walk.