Yesterday morning, my pastor got up and shared how he was visiting with dear friends the night before and couldn’t help but see an overwhelming consensus among the crowd. They were all tired and weary—every single one of them.
He wondered out loud during his sermon if the consensus was the same among all of us in the church. So, he went on to ask those in the congregation feeling burdened and overwhelmed to come forward for prayer. I was astonished with the hundreds who quietly walked to the front.
If you’ve lived on this big blue marble more than a decade or two, you know what I’m talking about. The pressures of parenting, working to put food on our tables, while reaching for this unseen goal of peace and happiness that seems to elude us more often than not. The American life both blessed and busy, we wake each morning to the crack of the starter’s gun and begin the rat race, only to fall into bed exhausted each night.
It’s no surprise when God speaks into our lives and gives us a task to do for Him that many times we’re the least bit interested. “Add more to my plate? Nope. Not me. Thanks for asking, God, but I’ll pass. Why don’t’ you ask Mrs. Hapypants. You know the one who seems to have it altogether?”
Some of us pretend we didn’t hear Him, burying the gentle nudge He is giving us in that divine direction. Some of us balk, and complain, “Lord, really? There couldn’t be a worse time than this.” Some hide behind false humility, “Certainly you don’t mean me, Lord. I’m not the one for the job. There’s many more who are more skilled, educated, talented…” Some of us grab the next thing He desires us to do and take off running, only to crumble in our own strength halfway between the start and finish line.
Which one are you?
I’ve been all of the above. A few years ago, God made it clear my name was on His to-do list. Not only to change me from the inside out, but included were a few tasks He had for me to accomplish. One of those was to write a book. I still remember sharing my frustrations with a dear writer friend. “I can’t do this. I just can’t.”
She replied, “You’re right, you can’t…but He can.”
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2Corinthians 12:9
From that day on, before I would touch my hands to the manuscript I would pray and give back the gift He was having me do. I would invite the Lord to enter in and give me the strength I needed to accomplish the task at hand.
Whether you’re writing a book, caring for a toddler, raising a teenager, or maybe trying to put the pieces of your marriage back together again, draw from Him before you put your hands to whatever He has for you today. If you’re frustrated and discouraged, or exhausted from striving that’s not from Him.
While in my Streams in the Desert devotion book this morning it said this, “Only God Himself who works without strain and who never overworks, can do the work that He assigns to His children.”
It went on to share a story about a man that made this process completely clear, “I came to Jesus and I drank, and I do not think that I shall ever be thirsty again. I have taken for my motto, ‘Not overwork, but overflow’; and already it has made a difference in my life.”
Lean on Jesus today. Hand over your to-do list. And, whatever He adds to that paper do it. Draw strength and peace from God before tackling the holy task at hand—without striving, because there is no effort in overflow.