So now what? I’ve taken an entire day off. I’ve rested physically by sitting and reading and NOT working. I’ve rested spiritually by spending quiet time in the pool of Living Water that just happens to fill my Bible and my bookshelves in the multitude of Christian books I’ve collected and I’ve rested emotionally by spending time with my husband and my kids, the way they make me laugh always fills me up. But now I’m back to Monday and facing what feels like a tidal wave of work to do. How do I deal with this? Lord, How do I keep from losing my newly found peaceful sanity on the first day?
Well, two short chapters before the Ten Commandments were passed down, Moses was dealing with this same problem. He had an entire nation of people all looking to him to solve their quarrels. To be their judge and to be their intercessor to God. Moses’ father-in-law noticed the problem immediately and said to Moses “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning til evening?” (Exodus 18:14)
Why is it that as moms we alone stand as the “do-er” in our homes? Is your home like mine was? I was breaking my back and my spirit trying to do everything all by myself, and I still catch myself doing it to this day! My kids had no chores, my husband went to work, but came home and did zero around the house. I did nearly EVERYTHING for my family while they “stood around” and did NOTHING! TV was their best friend. It took several years of frustration and tears and trying to do it all myself and not succeeding to finally help me realize I am not able to do this all myself! Even more, I was never created to do it all by myself! God has NEVER expected that from me or anyone else for that matter! So who am I to expect it from myself? I mean really? Please!
Exodus 18:17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law had it right! Delegation is the way to go! Doing it all yourself wears out everyone, not just you! Cause if Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy! And I have been that Mama! Just this weekend in fact! I was sitting in the umpteenth restaurant for the weekend, attempting to have a conversation with my brother (whom I never get to see) over my son’s head. Which wasn’t too big of a deal until he started holding his balloon above his head trying to balance it there. So now I had to not only yell over the din of the restaurant noise but I also had to keep moving back and forth to make eye contact with the person I was yelling down the table to. I was tired from ballet recital week, trying to run a household and a ministry all at the same time and the stress of trying to do it all myself caught up to me and I snapped right in front of God and everyone. Thankfully I didn’t yell at my son like I wanted to. God is gracious and kept me from hurting him in that way. But I did angrily snatch the balloon from his hands and put it behind me. My family was shocked! They’ve never seen me react to any child that way. Probably because it’s so rare of a reaction that it shocked me just as much as it did them! Immediately I was desperate to get alone, get away, get sane. But I couldn’t, there was nowhere to go. I was in a crowded restaurant in a busy town. How do you find peaceful solitude in a place like that?
In that morning’s devotional it talked about how Jesus would spend His day surrounded by the masses but in the evenings and early mornings He would retreat alone to the hills whenever possible to pray and be with the Father. I suddenly understood why! Because He was EXHAUSTED! It’s one thing to be physically exhausted, but if you’re spiritually exhausted… there’s no pushing through it! There’s no moving on until you’ve rested in the LORD in prayer. I didn’t know this until this weekend. And I didn’t really understand it until right now. Yes, I was physically exhausted, but I snapped because I was spiritually exhausted. I was done dealing with the masses and the chaos and all their pain. I couldn’t respond to their needs because mine had become so overwhelming. My own pile of needs got so high that I couldn’t see over it to be able to see what anyone else needed. Or maybe it was that I had taken on so many other people’s burdens and responsibilities for them. I had gone so long without passing those burdens on to God and asking Him if I even should continue carrying them, that my arms were so full I just couldn’t carry anything else… including a conversation with my brother. My mom’s concerned “Are you OK?” got answered with an exhausted “I’m tired” sigh, but I didn’t realize why I was so tired.
I took the first opportunity I could to retreat to the restroom where I found solace in a stall only big enough for ONE! ME! Alone. There were other people in the room but none of them could see me and that, at least in some small measure, helped. I took as long as I could – without drawing even more worried suspicion from my already concerned family – to pray and just BE with God for that briefest of moments. I came out able to finish the rest of the evening we’d planned with as much composure as I could muster. But it wasn’t much I have to admit.
I am resolving to do my best to get back onto the schedule that God keeps giving me every time I’m frustrated – pray and write and sing daily, no matter what! It’s just what keeps me healthy, wealthy and wise. Staying grounded, rooted in His Word, it’s the only thing that works for me. That and remembering to delegate! My children are four, nine and thirty-five they’re fully capable of pulling their own weight and putting away the dishes and cleaning their own rooms! Hmmmmm….. I just got a new rule from the LORD for my family and I like it!!! The TV is not allowed to come on unless ALL the chores (including Daddy’s) are finished! We ALL work together so that we can all rest together too! We’re a team at the Knochel house, and there’s no “I” in team now is there??? Looks like “I” won’t be doing all the work by myself anymore!
God bless you in your own efforts to find ways to manage your home without doing it all yourself!