It is easy to feel overwhelmed as a wife and mother to 7 little ones who not only stays home, but homeschools. I often feel like I can't keep up with all that I have to do! This morning was one of those times. I started my quiet time with the Lord and decided to make a list of everything that was on my plate, even my imagined burdens, in order to give it over to God. My list became a page long! It was easy to despair as I read over my list and thought, "How in the world can I do all this?". The truth is, I can't. But, that doesn't make me feel better! It makes me feel frustrated. I began to pray about it and realized that often, when I am overwhelmed, it is because I am comparing myself to someone else. The goals I have for myself are often because I see someone else accomplishing something or having something, and I want that, too. The ironic thing is that I often take the BEST of 10 women and want it all rolled into 1 in me! I see that so-and-so always works out, so-and-so is so good at crafts, so-and-so always has a clean house, so-and-so always keeps up with correspondence, so-and-so is never behind in laundry, so-and-so is great at keeping a schedule, so-and-so always knows the right thing to say, so-and-so has had an easy adoption experience, so-and-so's children never misbehave, so-and-so makes gourmet meals and then I take all that and heave it upon my shoulders as the expectation of myself and lo and behold, I am discouraged. I don't know if you ever feel this way.
Here is what the Lord told me:
First, I have to STOP comparing myself to others. Instead, I need to run the race that the Lord has marked out for ME and run at the pace he sets for me. I am not called to run another's race or at their pace. Sure, there are people who often run alongside us for a season, to encourage us, to challenge us, to push us toward godliness, but we are not required to keep up with anyone. We are required TO FINISH. That's it. Persevere to the end. Paul says in Acts 20:24, "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may FINISH THE RACE and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me, the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Yes, we are required to "run in such a way as to get the prize" (I Cor. 9:24), but that exhortation is intended to spur us on to finish, not to be better than everyone else!
In Galatians 5:7, Paul says, "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" Ouch. I fear that more often than not I am my greatest stumbling block in this race. I am the one who keeps me from obeying the truth because I begin to compare myself to others instead of keeping my eyes on my own race and on Christ!
Hebrews 12:1 says " . . . let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance THE RACE MARKED OUT FOR US."
Yes, on one level, we as Christians are basically all running the SAME race--the race of a life of being sanctified with the finish line being eternity with God. However, the paths He has chosen for each of us individually are SO different. Sometimes, we hit an obstacle and have to slow WAY down. Should we grumble as we see others passing us, effortlessly? Are they not running their own race marked out for them?
I was encouraged when I finished my quiet time that I don't need to accomplish half of the things I felt burdened by. I don't need to be like so-and-so. I need to run this race that God marked out for me with the gifts AND the weaknesses given to me. In fact, I can't do anything anyways without His help! I can't fix Abbie, I can't have joy in all circumstances without His doing it through me. In my own strength, I can't do it. So, I laid down my burden at the cross, and as many times as I go back to pick it back up, I will have to lay it down again because it hinders me from running my race!
In Christ, Laura