Several years ago, I found myself in a place where the busyness of life wasn’t just a season, but a way of life. When your kids are small, you just go with the mindset that “this too shall pass”. You imagine that as they grow older their schedules slow down and therefore, so will yours. Well, I’m into my 28th year of parenting and it is showing no sign of slowing down. Add to that jobs, extended family obligations, volunteer activities, and the “change of life” and you have a recipe for MELTDOWN.
I could always pride myself on multi-tasking and juggling many balls in the air, but that skill seems to be waning as the years pass by. This hasn’t been a welcome revelation! I found myself dissatisfied instead of joyful – not the demeanor I wanted as a Christian woman, but one that had become commonplace in my life and home. People became irritating in their needs and I became critical of their lack of effort. I’m sure their effort hadn’t changed much, it was just that now, I was unable to enable them as I had once done.
Like the popular song from Disney’s Frozen goes, “Let It Go” became the voice of reason, but how? How do I let things go? Who gets the first “no”? And where does my importance in this “thing” or with this “person” end up? I found myself struggling with those thoughts. Then during a casual conversation with a friend, they remarked “Oh, we have a bet going that you would NEVER let him help you”. A bet? Really? They were so sure of my response to things that they could bet on my behavior!
It was difficult to hear those words, but they say the truth hurts and this was a truth that I needed to hear at this time. I remember looking up, on the defensive, and saying “I would love for him to do this, but why would I ask him to go out of his way and do this for us. He does this everyday and is so busy himself, it would be selfish of me to do that”. My friend, gently looked up at me and said, “Linda, he’d do it because he cares about you and helping you gives him the opportunity to return that care to you.”
Wow! My inability to ask for help, and do it all myself, deprived my friend(s) from showing their love and care for me. In my act of trying to be selfless, I was in fact, just the opposite. How many times do we drive ourselves crazy trying to “do it all” and be wonder women (and men)? We think by letting go of our ability to do it all, we are letting go of our importance in our families and our circles of life.
As I prayed and asked God to show me a better way and to help me “let it go” with grace, I was reminded that throughout scripture, we’re told stories of how God sends us people to help us; people who will share the burden with us. Even Jesus throughout his ministry accepted help when his body was weak. Simeon helped carry the heaviness of the cross, while Veronica wiped the bloody sweat from His face, but probably the most significant moment of all was when Jesus saw His family and friends at the foot of the cross – knowing they really couldn’t take away His pain or fear, but embraced their prayers and comfort during His suffering.
“You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” Exodus 18:18
When I hear these words, I am reminded that no one can do it all, but collectively we can accomplish great things.