Heavy Duties

What do you do when your duties seem to outweigh your abilities? Or your to-do list is looming over you like a big black thundercloud? You’re starting the week out with more work, activities, plans, assignments, and commitments crammed in than seem humanly possible to fulfill. And you don’t have enough help. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there, and you may even be at this very tight spot right now.

First off, go ahead and acknowledge that it is humanly impossible. You are going to need great supernatural strength and help. Then humbly ask God to be your help. Ask Him to organize and guide your week. Commit it all to Him and then set your alarm clock by faith, committing Monday morning to Him, and go to bed.

Then, when the alarm goes off,  turn to what can be done on the human level. We can ask for strength and wisdom and grace, but we still need to get it all done. God isn’t going to actually do it for us; He is going to enable us to do it with our own feeble brains and His mighty arm. It really does help to take one day at a time. Maybe just one hour of each day at a time. Each day has enough trouble of its own. So, what does Monday look like? It is usually do-able, if you take it one task, one job, one hour, or one item on the list at a time. We can get enough grace for the moment; it’s when we get  anxious over it that we get bogged down, down, down. But getting grace for Monday morning, for the 9-10 a.m. slot is entirely feasible.

Sometimes God gives us “hunker down” times when we have to put on our hip-waders and plod on through the bog. Eventually, if we keep plodding, things will open up. Those plodding times can be very fruitful times, even if they are difficult. So don’t lose heart. This may be a short time when you feel smooshed, or it may stretch out longer. But either way, you will not be forsaken or deserted by the God who loves you. He will help you through this.

And the other thing to remember in the midst of heavy duties is this: it could be far worse and far more difficult. Look around the world for a moment. Consider the earthquake devastation in Haiti, for instance. That is real trouble. That is extreme trouble. Consider how your troubles measure up to that. I bet your troubles are not as bad as they could be, but I guarantee that you can always make them worse. Your work load is not a national disaster. Thank God for His sovereign majesty and power and admire His providence. This will put your week into perspective.

Then walk on into Monday morning with your sleeves rolled up and pray as you go. God will bless you.

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23 thoughts on “Heavy Duties

  1. Thank you for this timely reminder — working outside the home in a season I had not planned is great cause for me to trust the Lord and roll up my sleeves. “He giveth more strength as our labors increase!”

  2. Definitely there are times when we need to drudge on through, you know “pull the boot straps up”. But I find in myself that I over commit and therefore need to drop somethings ( and of course that includes pressures I place on myself- which then breeds anxiety). We need to know ourselves and our limits, not in comparison to our neighbor or friend. Know YOUR limits and work within them.

  3. Thank you! i tend to be very good at the making it worse by freaking out and this is a great reminder to live by faith, even in this busy week. Thanks!!!

  4. This is just what I needed to hear, for this exact week. Thank you for the timely reminder! It is a blessing to read your blog on the rare opportunities I am able to!

  5. Thank you for this good word. I so often find myself trying to get back to what I know for sure I ought to be doing, and no more. Wife, mom, homeschooler…then? Well, some times it is hard to discern what else there ought to be room for. Thanks for the reminder to do the work, trusting Christ for the strength to do it.

  6. Years ago on the morning of what promised to be an overwhelmingly difficult day, I was struck to pray that the Lord would be the “architect of my day.” The image in my mind was of the Lord constructing my day in such a way that all of the pieces fit together into a perfectly beautiful whole. I still pray that many a morning… and as a single homeschooling mama, I have many many many days filled with things that threaten to overwhelm me. I still feel peace come over me when I pray that prayer.♥

  7. Nancy,

    Thanks for this great post!

    At present, I’m sick with a fever and cough, as are my five children. My husband is in Tokyo (for work and also visiting with our dear friends at Mitaka Evangelical, Ralph Smith’s church) for a week.

    Needless to say, i was feeling a little overwhelmed today. Your words offered great encouragement.

    May this year bring to you and yours many happy memories and opportunities to serve Him.

    Much love from Japan,
    Sarah Joy Albrecht :)

  8. Most homeschooling moms can really relate to that Monday drudgery. I have 4 kiddos to educate and a medically fragile infant. I have to gear myself up on Sunday evening, put things into proper perspective, and plan, or it feels like a whirlwind of a day on Monday. It’s also comforting to understand that you’re not alone in your “plight” and other moms are doing it and doing it well. 😉

  9. ” So, what does Monday look like? It is usually do-able, if you take it one task, one job, one hour, or one item on the list at a time. We can get enough grace for the moment; it’s when we get anxious over it that we get bogged down, down, down.”

    This business of taking it one item at a time has been a tremendous blessing to me. Seeing how God does give grace and direction as I rest in him moment by moment.
    I think that my dramatic nature and the tendency to want attention have driven me to very often look at the whole big overwhelming week and freak out a bit, when I only need to take each task as it comes and walk through it in obedience.

    Thanks for another encouraging post!

  10. Wish I would have read this yesterday! What a great encouragement… I will take this into tomorrow and, with GOD I will make it a better day!!

  11. Thanks for the encouragement. I tend to get worked up and then discouraged each morning. But thanks to God He has provided strength through the wisdom of your words to help me to take baby steps throughout the day to get it all done. I can only think of what I need to do in the next 30 minutes, set a timer, and go at it.

    Thanks a bunch sister!

  12. This is so good. I find myself not always so overwhelmed with WHAT needs to be done, but HOW it needs to be done: honoring the Lord and loving my children with kind words, smiles, encouragement, and not drill sergeant-sounding harshness or irritability in my voice/face/actions.

  13. Thank you; this is so encouraging, and just what I needed right now.

    Once I heard a great sermon about “the urgent vs the important.” It has helped me a lot in times like this to keep the difference straight between things that seem urgent (like a ringing telephone or being late for an appointment) and things that are really deep-down important (like an important conversation with your teenager or taking a moment to deal lovingly with your toddler’s fears instead of just pushing him to hurry).

    Most of my days I know that I won’t get to the end of the “to-do” list anyway, so I try to arrange everything that I can in a “triage” order, starting with the really important things. That way I know at the end of the day, at least I’ll have got those done, even if a thousand urgent interruptions keep me from reaching the bottom of the list. It helps me roll with life’s punches!

    Matt. 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. :-)

  14. This is wonderful! Prioritizing tasks can be such a help, as is the 30-minutes-at-a-time approach! :) Being a good wife, a good student and a good employee can make you feel pulled in all different directions – only God’s grace can help you accomplish everything (and not fuss about the things that fall through the cracks).

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