As I am halfway through a 75-hour double shift work week, I have been strongly reminded several times the importance of balance and pace. It is easy for me to log on at 6 a.m. and work straight through the days until 6 p.m.--often forgetting meals, other chores needing to be done, and even using the restroom! If we're too busy to remember using the restroom, you know we've got problems!
So as I wake every morning I am strongly convicted by the Lord to remember to put Him first. If we don't put Him first, the rest of our day will sadly become scrambled, hectic, and frustrating. Only through His strength can we handle extra work hours, single parenthood, chores, errands, bills, the constant demands of life on a daily basis. We have Bible study this night, group on this night, kids activities on this night, school assignments on this night--and that's in between just trying to keep the house clean and work your regular job! It's enough to make anybody exhausted and want to run away.
The way we handle these things (and even find joy in them) is by coming to the Lord. Even if you have to do it 20 times a day and take just 5 seconds to say, "Lord, I need patience and understanding right now". I have had to repeat that morning, noon, and night these past several days and will continue to. What I have found is if I do not start my day with the Lord, if I do not come to Him continuously throughout the day with each trial that comes upon me, and I do not end my evening with Him...my days, weeks, and months are a lot harder to get through. I start my day and devotional time, giving the first 15 minutes of my day to just Him and I. This puts my mind in a calm place and my heart in a peaceful place so that even if I am attacked from the very first moment that I begin work, I will approach it in a beneficial and positive way, whereas I probably wouldn't have if I did so on my own strength.
Psalm 28:7 ESV: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts."
I come to him in petition throughout the day whenever something is starting to fester and I can feel it boiling up and starting to make me angry, hurt, stressed. I just close my eyes and ask God to please calm me, give me patience, energy, and determination to follow through with this day and be the best I can every minute. And then at night after the chores are done, the work day is over, the house is cleaned, the kids are in bed...that is "me" time. That is my last hour of the night alone with the Lord. Electronics are all off, all of the lights are off in the house except the one lone bed light on my nightstand, the house is silent. I spend an hour with my sole attention on Jesus--whether it be doing Bible study, reading a fiction or non-fiction Christian novel, or just sitting with my eyes closed in silence and listening for His guidance and giving time to feel His comforting and loving hand upon my shoulder. This makes all the difference in how I not only handle the day when I wake up in the morning, but how I will handle the next day as well.
Ecclesiastes 3:9 MSG: "But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift."
So let us remember that we are NOT meant to carry these burdens within our own power. The Lord's yoke is easy, his burdens are light. Our yokes are hard, and our burdens are heavy. We have to make so many different decisions, have so many different emotions, and have 24 entire hours in a day where things can go wrong or we can approach things with a negative attitude. Only through continually coming to our Father and through His strength, His guidance and His love, can we withstand the daily trials that we face.
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The decisions we need to make, the deeds we decide to do, the words we decide to use. Let them all honor and glorify Him and let us make sure we are living our calling and God's purpose every moment. That can only be achieved by coming to Him. He will be our strength, He will be our motivation, and He will be our sustenance. You can do this, God equipped and designed you for this long before he even created the world!