Do you ever have those days when you’re giving it all you’ve got and it just doesn’t seem like you can meet the demands of your life? I’m having a string of days like that. Please tell me you go through times like this.
When I focus on one thing, ten other legitimately important things aren’t getting done. Deadlines loom, hundreds of actual emails (not spam) come in, yet I can either respond to those or I work on the time-sensitive projects and phone calls that can’t be delayed. All the while I’m planning showers, hosting dinners, getting mission trip updates and attending meetings for the trip I will be taking this summer, texting and talking to family members and friends who I love and want to engage with, and there’s social media notifications and messages popping up all over the place. Oh and I’m a parent, wife, daughter, sister, worship leader, neighbor (a pretty negligent neighbor, but still) and pet owner. There’s a teeny bit of sleep, exercise, laundry, meal-making, tomato-seedling-babying, prayer, reading, personal writing squeezed in there somewhere.
If you told me about your week you could likely tell a similar story or crazier. I have dear friends whose child has been in and out of the hospital with health issues and trust me, they’ve had a far more demanding few weeks than mine. Yet they wouldn’t trade their load for anything. Neither would I. Even when it’s all good stuff (or most of it) – stuff we willingly signed up for – we can only do what we can do.
This is why I love the story in Luke 5. When the crowds were pressing in on Jesus, he got into a boat and floated out into the water to teach them. (Way to create a boundary, Jesus! May I learn from you.) Then, after Jesus was finished teaching, he told Peter to go out deeper and put his nets down. What Peter says in Luke 5:5 is classic.”We worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing!” But then he adds, “But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down.” And wasn’t he glad he did what Jesus told him to do when those nets were so filled with fish, they started to break?!
Peter’s best wasn’t enough to catch a single fish the night before. But when he went deeper and obeyed Jesus, he couldn’t have imagined the blessing that followed. Peter and Jesus remind me that I can’t be my best self when I’m trying to it all in my own strength. I need to listen for the voice of Jesus, go deeper, and just do what He asks.
Jesus doesn’t ask us to do everything everyone else wants us to do, and he doesn’t even ask us to do all we wish we could do. We just have to listen for the things He calls us to do and He will multiply our efforts to accomplish more than we could do in a hundred years without him. That’s a relief to me, and I hope it helps you if you feel overwhelmed.
Take a deep breath. The people around you may not understand how hard you are trying, how much is coming at you, or how defeated you feel when your best doesn’t keep all the plates spinning perfectly. But were we put on this earth to make everyone else happy? (No, we were not.) Remember the One who knows your heart and loves you whether or not you do all the things; He is ready and waiting for you to row to deeper water and listen for His voice.