How many of us lie in our beds at the end of a busy day, reflecting and feeling the weariness weighting us down? I’m probably not the only one. But it’s when I wake up in the morning feeling that weariness that I know I’m in trouble.
I’ve reached that place again where I’ve run nonstop for so many days that I’ve lost track. My refrigerator is empty, my dishwasher is full. My hamper is full, my closet is empty. My checkbook is unbalanced, my bills are unpaid… Guys, I love to look like I have it all together, but the truth is that I really don’t.
Last weekend, I picked up our book, “Fight Back With Joy” by Margaret Feinberg. And I read, “Living openhanded toward others when your spiritual pocketbook is empty seems like an impossible task.”
That resonated with me so much! “Empty” describes how I’m feeling pretty darn well! Last night, my counselor sat across from me and knew the burden I was carrying before I even opened my mouth. Her first question was, “What’s on your schedule for this week that you can cancel?” I apologetically shook my head and said, “Nothing. I have… obligations.”
I could hear St. Francis of Assisi’s words in my head: “For it is in giving that we receive.”
I came home from counseling last night and dove headfirst into client work. It was nearly 10 before I realized that because I hadn’t made my laundry a priority, I was going to have nothing to wear to work today….
After I started the load of laundry, after I put aside the client work, after I had done my last project and put everything away, I turned off the TV and to the quiet hum of the dryer, I ran into these words from Jennifer Dukes Lee:
“Personal strength is not necessarily a virtue. Neither is got-it-togetherness. Clearly, Christ has a soft spot for weaklings. He repurposes human weaknesses, using them as doorways through which He escorts great power.” (from Love Idol, by Jennifer Dukes Lee)
It sank in slowly. It is a good thing that I give. It’s a good thing that I care about and take care of those in my life. That’s what God told me to do. God didn’t mean for me to make myself so busy with doing good things for good reasons that I drive myself into a nervous breakdown or an early grave.
For the record, I know that’s not what Margaret was suggesting in her passage…. I just have to speak to it from where it’s working in me….
Philippians 4:13 says that we can do all things when Christ helps us. But that’s conditional. He is always there to help, but He’s not going to make me accept His help. And I have real trouble with this. I’m not good at asking for help, accepting help, or even knowing when to ask for help. And here I have to stop and laugh because I just had a visual of myself as the Grinch’s poor, overloaded dog trying to pull a sled that was way too large for him…
As a kid, I was taught that when I get to the street, to look both ways before attempting to cross. Maybe it’s time for me to stop, look both ways, take a breath, and ask for help in crossing the street. And along the way, I’m going to pass out hugs, smiles, prayers, and red balloons.
How do you handle the balancing act of doing for others and doing for yourself?
This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Margaret Feinberg’s book, “Fight Back With Joy.” You don’t have to read the book to throw in your two cents! If you’ve written a response to this post, please run over to Jason’s and link it up at the widget you’ll find there.