Monday, July 14, 2014

Overwhelmed, Burnt Out and Just Plain Exhausted

     Having raised four normal, healthy and very active children, I can say "Amen" to the title above.  There were days when I felt overwhelmed as I homeschooled them, cooked the meals, did the laundry and delivered them to the many activities they were involved with in our community.  At other times, I felt burnt out and just plain exhausted because I had no extended family around my husband and I to assist with the children.  However, I did have some precious friends in Christ who came to my aid.
     Both ladies could see that I needed some quiet time to work on lesson plans apart from the children; so for about one week, one of the ladies lent me her kitchen table in the afternoons while the other dear lady helped to clean my home for me.  What a treat!  The children were looked after, I got my lesson planning done for the upcoming school year, and I had a time in which I could enjoy some quiet.  I needed that, but I resisted the whole proposition at first.  My pride made me want to do it all on my own.  How foolish!  However, there was another person in the Bible who thought he could handle things all on his own.
     In Exodus 18:13-24, we see Moses sitting to judge over people who had disputes from the rising of the sun till evening.  Verse 13-14 reads:  "The next day Moses sat to judge the people from morning till evening.  When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, 'What is this that you are doing for the people?  Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?'"  Now, Moses' father-in-law Jethro had a good point.  How can one man keep up a schedule like that without becoming overwhelmed, burnt out and exhausted?  However Moses pointed out that he had to settle the disputes arising and make the people know God's statutes and laws.  While this seems legitimate, Jethro pointed out that it was not effective in verses 17-18:  "Moses' father-in-law said to him, 'What you are doing is not good.  You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for this thing is too heavy for you.  You are not able to do it alone."
Big Ben in London reminds us that
we must use our time wisely.
     Most of us can speculate as to how Moses might have felt being offered unsolicited advice from his father-in-law, but Jethro went on to tell him a plan to have wise men who loved God help him in judging the many cases that needed to come before the Lord.  By breaking down the task, the people would receive justice and Moses would be relieved of having all the burden thrust upon him.  Surprisingly, Moses listened to Jethro.  We read in verse 24:  "So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said."
     There are two things we can draw from this story and apply in our own lives if we will.  First, we need to listen (verse 24) as Moses did.  He accepted his father-in-law's sound advice.  Secondly, we must be willing to accept help (as described in verse 25).  There are times when we don't accept the help we need due to pride, but that is not always the case.
     Sometimes life is just moving so fast with so many demands piled up on us that we hardly have time to react or even contemplate asking someone for advice or help.  Ah, but God reminds us in His Word (as seen in this story) that we need to surround ourselves with wise counselors who can offer us advice drawn from their experience and wisdom.  We don't have to run in circles pretending to be "Super Dad" or "Super Mom".  We can listen to a wise father-in-law as Moses did or a dear Christian friend as I did when I was overwhelmed with busyness in my life.
     Taking prayerful advice and learning to delegate responsibility helped Moses deal with a large responsibility.  He was not less of a person for taking this action.  In fact, it made him a more capable leader because he was able to use his time more effectively.
     Those ladies who came to me many years ago and offered me relief were blessings in my life.  I am happy they saw my need, approached me and gave me the opportunity to have a mini retreat.  We all need to be able to accept help, advice and godly counsel when it is offered.  Then we need to act on it so that we will not be burnt out or overwhelmed.  God cannot use us when we are carrying a load by ourselves that we were never intended to carry.  We must allow others the privilege of helping us.  Both the person who helps and the one who receives will be blessed.  Selah!

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