Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stand the Strain

"If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied." Exodus 18:23

With each passing moment the "to do list" grew ever longer. The house phone was ringing, the cell phone too. The builder came knocking at the back door. FedEx was ringing at the front door. Sick children were crying out from their beds, the cat wore new wounds from a lost tomcat fight and the new gallon of milk spilled all over the kitchen floor. The drier was buzzing, the washer spinning and mama was ready to be hung out to dry.

Have you ever had such a day? Maybe you've had a month of those days and you're wondering how you're ever going to make it. Relief seems so distant, maybe even nonexistant. It's these moments we all wonder, "How'd my mother ever do this?" Or, maybe we've played the lone ranger so often, we no longer recognize our need for help. Today's society calls us to be independent, self-sufficient until we pronounce, "I can do it myself!" as though it were a badge of honor.

Then, in a weak moment, we dare to answer one of those ringing phones and we hear, "Hello, my friend. How are you today?" In that instant we have a choice to live honestly and ask for help or hide the truth and and stay the lone ranger.

Jethro, Moses' father-in-law called on him in the desert one day. At first, Jethro just sat back and watched Moses work. He quickly recognized how overwhelmed Moses was, leading the Israelites in their physical journey through the desert, caring for their spiritual journeys, relaying the words of God, and listening to everyone as they had need. After a day of this, Jethro finally spoke up, like any good father-in-law would do. He asked, Why do you do all this alone, while the rest of the people just stand around all day? This isn't good for you. It's too heavy for just you. It will only wear you out. You cannot handle all this alone. And he proceeded to give him some sound advice: delegate; train, teach and empower other godly, trustworthy men to do the easy tasks and bring only the difficult tasks to Moses. "If you do this and God so commands," said Jethro, "you will be able to stand the strain..." (Ex 18:23).

It seems easier, in the heat of the moment, to handle everything ourselves, doesn't it? But, at the end of the day, we're spent...nothing left to give our spouses, our children or even God himself. Too many of those days strung together can lead to sickness or physical and emotional collapse. Then, we're no good to anybody and who will look after you?

Whether you're a lone ranger in your business, your workplace or at home consider the story of Moses and Jethro. In times when you become overwhelmed, seek a coworker, a friend, a family member who is willing to share your load. Then, at the end of the day, you'll find some of you left over to share and everyone will go to sleep full and satisfied.

Ring, ring. "Hello, my friend. How are you today?"


  1. I always hear something encouraging from your blog. Thank you for sharing, Dawn.

  2. It's so funny that you wrote this today. I was just telling David that between Friday nite and Sunday a.m. I have to work twice, go to the Pine Car Derby with Lane, have an all=nighter with the youth group, go to Lane's bball game, attend a memorial service and teach the Ladies Sunday School class on (of all things) PATIENCE! Isn't this classic? Someone asked me to make a meal for someone for Sat. nite and I actually said "No". (Do you think I'll lose my salvation for that? LOL) Great timing on this blog!!!!

  3. Kathy, thank you for your encouragement. I'm looking forward to peeking in at yours very soon. I didn't know you blogged until this week.

    Maine Gal, you had me rolling on the floor with your comment..."Do you think I'll lose my salvation for that?"...Oh my...if you do, I've lost mine a hundred years ago! Saying no is so freeing as long as you're saying no for the right reasons and, trust me, you are! Love ya!