Tuesday, July 5, 2016

When Your Bucket Is Full

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31 - ESV)

There are times when we just can't take anymore. Life builds up and then the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" happens, and we spill out. Sometimes we spill out by ourselves. Sometimes we spill out on everyone else. 

We're all built to different tolerances. I think it is by design that women have babies and not men. I'm not saying that men have a lower pain tolerance than women, but I do believe there would be no human race if men had babies. We would have died out long ago. Men may have had the first child, but I think none of my gender would have gone through that a second time. Some tolerate massive pain. Others cry at a paper cut. Some juggle a dozen tasks at a time, and some handle only one thing at a time. We're like different sized containers. Some of us are five gallon buckets and some are like tea cups. 

There are things we can do to increase our capacity. There are things, like reprioritizing, that we can do to keep our buckets from filling up. Yet there are times when a huge bucket and right priorities are not enough. There are times when the last cup of water that's poured in our bucket is the tipping point. In those times, only God will do.  So, what are we to do about it?

First, humble yourself. No one can handle it all. God does not say He will not give you more than you can handle. He says, "Even youths shall faint and be weary."  Pride will not help you carry more. It will help you spill more. Humble yourself daily by admitting to God, yourself, and another human being that life is more than you are capable of handling.

Second, seek the Lord. That's what "wait for the LORD" means. It doesn't mean paddle as fast as you can till He rescues you. Waiting upon the Lord means to seek him actively. Seek Him early and often. Fill up on His Word, worship Him early and often (magnifying Him puts problems in perspective), and get yourself into fellowship where you can be supported by His people. 

Third . . . well, there really is no third step. There are only two. Humble yourself, seek the Lord, and then He will renew your strength. He may not increase your capacity. He is your capacity. He may not decrease your load. Rather, He will strengthen you to bear up under it. He may even increase your effectiveness through it. He will renew your strength so that you "mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

If your bucket has tipped over lately, or if your bucket is just a tea cup, there's hope and help. The Lord your God.

(Wrote this to encourage a friend of mine who's going through a tough time right now, and to encourage myself to seek Him continually.)