How much is too much?

Do you ever feel like sometimes there is just too much on your plate? Hungry little hands grabbing for a piece of you that you can’t spare. Too much to do and not enough time? One demand on top of another, all needing to be done yesterday…

I’ve had days like that. If I’m honest, I’ve had years like that. Worries and cares in my life pulled at me and stretched me thinner and thinner (physiologically, not physically!) until deep dark issues could be seen poking through my coping abilities.

I’d like to say I said a magic prayer and all my worries went away, my cares vanished and my burdens disappeared instantly. But it didn’t.

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Imagine, if you will, that the burden you carry, that I carry, is a giant sack of rocks. Heavy rocks in a rough hessian sack slung over my shoulder. I can’t rest. I can’t set it down. No, onwards I am urged. To greater heights. To lower depths…

And then– I read a truth in God’s word. You know the kind that makes you sit and listen. The kind of truth that resonates. A prick in your spirit that makes you say “Ooh.” That truth I read- sets me free… Free of all the rocks I carry, all the burdens? No. Might just be one rock that I offload. Might be handful of pebbles. But when I pick up that sackful of cares and worries it is a bit lighter. I’ve replaced those cares with something else and my steps are easier.

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Or, each time I said ‘no, I’m sorry, but I can’t take on that important xyz job’ because I know it will be too much for me, and will take valuable time away from my family. Ah! 🙂 Another rock offloaded.

A lesson learned. A truth told. Might just be something as simple as: I can’t please everybody. I don’t have to please everybody. Only God. Can’t you just hear those rocks tumbling down the hill out of that sack?

Forgiveness given. To choose to forgive somebody–regardless of whether or not they admit wrong, or say sorry–and let go of that hurt. Forgive not because they deserved it, but because I don’t deserve forgiveness, and yet God forgives me and asks that I do likewise. Ping, thump. There goes another burden from my heart.

We weren’t designed to carry burdens of worry, care and pain. That’s not in God’s original plan for us. Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I think his burden is truth, love, forgiveness. That’s the burden he offers us in return for the heavy load we carry.

Think about it…

John 8:32
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Galatians 5:13
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.

Hebrews 8:12
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

Is your burden heavy today? Heart breaking the things going on in your life? There is a cure. Stop. Yes, right now. Pause for a moment. Rest. Shut your eyes, take a deep breath and enter God’s rest. Trade burdens with Jesus. Hand them over, you don’t need to carry them. They aren’t helping, they are weighing you down. And they aren’t yours. They are lies the devil has convinced you to carry around. Switch your burdens with Jesus.

Truth.

Love.

Forgiveness.

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🙂 Have a great day!

It’s the little things…

It’s the little things that make up our lives.

Little choices.

Little words.

Little actions…

and little known results.

Song of Songs 2:15

15 Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom. NIV 1984

Last night one of my daughters decided to be helpful. She took the pumpkin pie out of the oven and scooped out all the filling. She put it into containers and then put it in the fridge. I came into the kitchen and freaked out a bit. My lovely pumpkin pie was ruined. 😦 I yelled and sent her to bed.

Then cleaned up the mess and thought about why she did that… thought about her heart motive. Shame-faced, I realized she had taken out the filling so she could put the pie in the fridge without it being too hot and cracking the glass shelves.

Oh. I felt bad. Really bad. My thoughtless words had crushed her spirit. My little choices, little words could and did have a big impact on her.

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I apologized. Hugged. Prayed. Made things right.

 Little actions.

But what about when we are adults and other people don’t say sorry, or make restitution? What then?

Should I hold onto that hurt, that anger until they apologize? After all, they are the ones in the wrong, not I.

In a perfect world this could happen. The world we live in is sinful and broken, and for some people it would be a cold day in hell before they’d even dream of saying, “Sorry.”

A quote that I love says: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

 

Sometimes the other person is totally oblivious to the hurt and pain they have caused. The only person being hurt by my unforgiveness is… myself.

I have learned the best way to deal with hurts is give them to God. Sounds cliche? Yes, but it works. I tell my heavenly Father that I’m hurting (acknowledge the hurt), ask Him for help to forgive, say the words out loud (ie: “I forgive you, MaryBeth for spreading that lie about me.”) and then carry on. Sometimes I might need to repeat this several times, but when I look back on a hurtful situation the sting is gone and just the scar remains.

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV1984)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I owe God a far bigger debt than the person who has wronged me.

What about you? Have you thought about how you deal with hurts? Is there somebody who has hurt you? Or is there somebody that you need to say sorry to? Ask God for help, he’s always listening… and sooner is always better than later. 🙂

Images courtesy of: <p>Image: <a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net&#8221; target=”_blank”>FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

The Measure of a Person.

Have you ever measured yourself? I don’t mean with a pencil to add to those special milestone marks on your Mother’s doorframe. I’m talking about measuring yourself with an internal ruler.

How deep is my love for others?

How wide is my understanding of another’s trials.

How far will I stand up to help someone?

Or, to look at it from a different angle:

When I look at myself, harsh ruler in hand, do I compare myself to Joe Blow or Susie Do-good and come up short. Inches short… What then?

2 Corinthians 10:12
 has the answer. “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

See? Comparing ourselves, in both our qualities and faults is not wise or beneficial. Verse 18 of that chapter says: “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”

On the flip side of that— is how I judge others…

What sort of ruler do I use to judge others? Now, discerning and judging are different. For eg, if my daughter wants to hang out with a group of girls who back-chat their parents, steal and use foul language, then I’m going to be discerning and say to her, ‘You know sweetie, I don’t want you hanging out with them, I don’t think they are a good influence.’ Or, if some sort of multimedia makes a poor use of my time then I could decide to limit how much time I spend on Facebook/the internet/email interaction.

Judging, on the other hand is to set myself up in the place of God to decide the consequences of a person’s action/words. God alone knows their backstory. He alone knows their heart motive for doing/saying something. He knows all the facts. I don’t.

An example of this would be me walking along a road and find a cow stuck in a bog. I could berate the cow for being so stupid as to find itself in such a fix and how it was an inconvenience for others to pull it out etc etc. But what happened before I came along? Did the cow fall in herself as she attempted to help her calf, or did someone push her, or just fell in because of sheer ignorance to the locality of common bogs. You get the point though, a person/cow’s reasons for finding themselves in a fix might be very different to how it appears.

Matthew 7:2 
sums it up: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

So, how then am I to measure myself, judge myself, to get it right?

I start with a perfect measuring line, a perfect ruler. Something or Somebody to measure myself against.

Jesus.

But wait, I fall short of that also, this time far shorter than when I compared myself to Susie Do-good. Now what?

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Sin covered? Check. Made perfect? Check. So, now when God looks at me he doesn’t see the crooked ruler I use against myself, with the edges worn and numbers tattered from years of use, no, he doesn’t see that. He sees Jesus and His perfection.

And the measure he wants us to have?

John 17:13
 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.

He wants us to have a full measure of joy.

I pray that you also will know and have the full measure of joy that he offers.

How about you? How do you measure yourself? And is your internal ruler getting a bit hard to bear? Perhaps it’s time to trade it in…