I’ve reached an age where even watching kids run around exhausts me – let alone the running around that my schedule requires. Yet, I haven’t reached an age when I can retire. I don’t even really want to give up on any of my service projects, family time, time with friends, church activities or exercise time. Sadly, that means I also cannot give up my job, which funds all I want to do, but also requires travel and sometimes some very long days.
Unfortunately, I am not unique. I think if I were to use just one word to describe many of the women I know I’d have to say “exhausted.” Or maybe exhaustecated – a word I made up to combine exhausted by what you are doing and frustrated that you cannot get more done.
If you are a mother of young children, or active teenagers without driver’s licenses, or a grandmother raising her grandchildren for some reason, I’m sure you know just what I mean. Maybe you are a working mom, trying to balance home and job duties, feeling like some days you need an I.V. drip of caffeine just to get by until you get the kids to bed and can get some more work done uninterrupted by the needs of tiny people.
My husband, Wes, tells me that my problem is that I am trying to put 10 pounds of rock in a 5 pound bag. I think a lot of you may be in that boat too.
However, it isn’t really the physical tasks and action items that “es” me the most. It is the burden of worry and concern over people and situations I cannot control that really wipes me out. How about you?
This world is a place that attracts worry, sorrow, fear and frustration. There is sickness, war, abuse, poverty, slavery, and so much more. Our children face their own troubles and struggles, and that can add to a mother’s burden of worry. There are church conflicts that break our hearts. And there is no real chance that Calgon (bubble bath) will “take me away” – at least not for very long.
I don’t know about you, but I need the reminder we find in Isaiah 40:28 [CSB] - Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never becomes faint or weary; there is no limit to his understanding.
Good news! Since there is no limit to His understanding, you can rest assured that God understands your struggles, burdens, pain, tasks, duties and worry – as well as the “exhuastication” it all causes.
Even better news: God never becomes faint or weary. While He isn’t going to send angels over take care of the piles of laundry, run the vacuum or drive your son to soccer practice, He will take on the mental burdens - if we let Him. You can push the worry over your child’s current relationships or the concern over the state of the world off your “to do” list and onto His. You can give Him the task of making the world a better, safer place.
Wonderfully, there is even more good news in the next few verses of Isaiah 40.
Isaiah 40:29-31 [NKJV] 29 He gives power to the weak, And to [those who have] no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew [their] strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
If we will lean on Him, God gives us strength to manage both the mental and physical responsibilities that fill our lives. The key is, of course, be willing to at least give some of our burdens to God to handle. Perhaps I could at least hand over the things that He never meant to be my job – like fixing all the ills of the world - like calling my children into the faith.
Sure, we teach our children when they are young and do our best to model godly behavior. Yes, we pray for the world and help those within our reach. Isaiah 40 promises us that God will give us the strength we need to accomplish the responsibilities He gives us.
However, we should not take on the things He has not given us – like worry. 1 Peter 5:7 [NIV] tells us, Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
For me, the problem often is that I take things to God in prayer and then continue to worry about them or try to wrangle solutions for sticky issues. I am not going to eradicate church drama and power struggles, which break my heart, except via prayer for God’s guidance and wisdom on all (including me). Worrying about my children won’t change their lives. Praying for them will. Worry about anything is an unnecessary task on anyone’s “to do” list.
I need to leave these burdens with God. Doing that may not eradicate my “exhaustecation” but at least it will take a few rocks out of my five-pound bag and free me up to rely on God’s promised strength in taking on the tasks that He has given me.
I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.