If you are the kind of woman who feels like you have more to do than is humanly possible, then I am here to reassure you that you are not alone. You are not even weird! It is often the case that although we can feel truly grateful that God has kindly given us a whole lot of responsibility, we can still be slightly (or vastly) overwhelmed at how we are going to be faithful over it all.
Apparently God wants us to be needy people, because He delights in giving us more grace. He is a bountiful Father, bestowing on and enabling His people to do what He calls them to do. Remembering this helps us keep our perspective when we start to feel overwhelmed and understaffed.
For example, a young mother with several children can feel like she needs another set of hands (to put it mildly). But for some reason, God has only equipped her with two. So, she should not refuse to use the two she has because she needs four. But she ought to see that God must not intend for her to do more than she is physically able to do. She has limits! This ought to be a comfort.
This is rather like the parable of the talents. If we use the two we have wisely, we will reap a bountiful harvest. In other words, we work like the dickens and ask God to bless it, knowing that there is still lots to do and many things we have left undone.
But, like I said, it is good to be needy. It reminds us that we are human. It gives us compassion toward others who are needy. And God uses the community to minister to one another. Sometimes the need may be met by a friend who wants to help. It may be a mother, a grandma, a neighbor, a teenager. Or, it may be there really is no one to help. This is an opportunity to trust the Lord.
So we need to learn how to adjust to what our capacity really is and thank God that we are finite. His grace really is sufficient, but if we never had cause to need it, we would lose the benefit of experiencing it. Sometimes this grace teaches us to sort out the important from the unimportant. Could be that you have to throw away your to-do list because something urgent has interfered. You may realize your daughter needs to talk, though you had some other things you “needed” to do right then. Wisdom instructs us to make choices all day long, and we want to choose well.
Sometimes I have seen women hit the wall. They feel frustrated by all they have to do, and they feel like giving up. I suggest an alternative. Dump the backpack out on the table and take a look at the burden you have been carrying. Ask your husband to help you, or if you are unmarried, ask a friend or a parent to help you sort things out. What is really essential? What can be removed? And how can you get help to do the things that are still necessary?
Consider what help is available and what you can afford. Do you need a babysitter, a mother’s helper, a house cleaner, a tutor? Can someone else be paid to help with the business? It is much better to recognize our limits and get some help before we collapse under the weight. And sometimes pride keeps us from admitting that we need help.
Many of our duties are legitimate, obviously. And it can require much labor to do the bare minimum. But some duties may be imaginary. Who told you that you had to have your Christmas cards addressed and stamped by Thanksgiving? Or that you had to make quilts for all the relatives? Who is insisting that you volunteer for every cause?
I remember deciding that I just could not babysit for friends anymore. Life was just too full. And there was the time I put the sewing machine away for a few months when my kids were little, because it distracted me away from my more important duties. And when the kids were small, I decided not to read fiction for a while because it was too hard to put it down when I needed to start fixing dinner, so I saved the fiction for times set aside for relaxation. (Non fiction did not present the same temptation!)
God wants us to do our duties cheerfully, working hard to His glory and for our good. Being tired is not a sin. We don’t want to be workaholics who never sit down to flip through a magazine; nor do we want to be couch potatoes, letting the whirl around us take its own course, unguided and without oversight.
But I see more women who are doing too much than I see women doing too little. I think we need to be realistic about our responsibilities and abilities, and then do what God has given us to do, counting on Him to enable us to do it. Once we have sorted things out this way, we still have great need for His strength day to day to exercise a godly stewardship over the good things He has given us to do.
So let’s all be grateful that He only gave us two hands. We are limited by only having two. What a blessing that is! And we have tremendous opportunity to use them well. It really is amazing what two hands can do.