I was in a conference call this past week going through the ever growing list of tasks that I had to accomplish in the coming week. Normally I am fairly adept at prioritizing tasks in order of most to least important, but for some reason I was really feeling the weight of it all once I hung up the phone. The analogy I used in my last writing about a backpack being shoveled full of rocks seemed more tangible than ever. When I threw 12+ hours of Ironman training, quality time with my wife, eating and sleeping in the mix, and I was pretty sure I would collapse from the weight of it all.
That evening as I was processing this stress, I took some time out to read my daily segment of scripture on my iPod “One Year Bible”. Apple would be proud their product is being used for the greater good. It’s really incredible how loud and clear God speaks to us in time of stress. I sort of equate it to the brilliance of a small light when you are in a dark space. It encompasses your soul. A friend of mine sent me a quote recently from CS Lewis that sums this up nicely: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Sometimes we just need to be ready to listen.
The reading for the day was from the Old Testament book of Exodus Chapter 18. Moses was the catalyst God used to deliver the Israelites from captivity. He was in a leadership position with the people, and was trying to do everything he could for them. This chapter talks about how Moses was spending every waking hour trying to bring resolution to a myriad of problems and disputes. People were literally lined up asking Moses for solutions, and he was burning out. When his father-in-law came to visit him, he told Moses “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.”
This is how I felt at work last week. Not that I am anywhere near as special and important as Moses, but it seems like sometimes everyone at work is looking to me for the solution to their problems. I joke all the time that I am just an underpaid shrink.
So the story goes on that Moses brings his most trusted people to the table and asks them for help. This is one thing that I am not good at doing, but there is such truth to why God places others in our lives. Without community, we will all eventually fail. Moses’ most trusted advisors became his assistance in time of need, and Moses was finally able to come up for air.
The lights went on in my mind and I realized that I didn’t have to do it all. I could ask for help. While this does not seem like a big deal to some, for me it was as if the weight of my rock-filled pack began to lighten. I didn’t have to prove anything by carrying this pack up the hill all by myself. Once I swallowed my controlling pride, I was able to collect myself and move on with the tasks that lay ahead. Half of the weight on my back was self-inflicted stress. The best part is that God wants to take this pack and lighten it. We just need to reach out for help.
I love how God opens our eyes in the dark places in our lives. I am finally getting to a place where I notice Him more in the light-filled spaces as well. Little did Moses know, his lessons learned in delegating responsibility would apply to some yuppie thousands of years later. Thanks Dude.
Is the weight becoming too much? Give it up and ask for help. You will be happy you did.