When life gets overwhelming, do you ever wonder if God notices all that you are carrying? If He sees how hard you’re pushing yourself, trying to take care of everyone and everything that is going on?
You might be staying up late to pay the bills and wondering if there will be enough left over for Christmas gifts, expensive postage costs, and a holiday meal. You might be stretched between relationships at home, work, and online, and there isn’t enough time to balance them all while caring for aging parents in the midst of a pandemic and schooling children online for months now.
Last week, suffocating under the weight of it all, I told my husband I wasn’t sure how much longer I could do this. With a huge work deadline, horrible back pain that wouldn’t go away, and a to-do list a mile long, I was exhausted and tempted to quit everything.
I didn’t have enough energy to handle it all. I doubted myself and worried about my ability to manage life and fulfill all the roles and responsibilities God had given me.
And all my worries made me wonder. I wondered if God noticed and cared about the burdens I carried. I wondered why He wasn’t doing something to make my life more manageable. My days were consumed with doing things for Him and others, so why wasn’t He making my load lighter and my burdens easier?
In my frustration, I thought of Martha in Luke 10. Faced with her own overwhelming responsibilities, Martha wondered if Jesus cared:
She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Luke 10:40b (NIV)
Interestingly, Jesus didn’t answer her question. Instead, He told her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).
In that moment, Jesus showed Martha just how much He cared — not just about how hard she was working but about the rest He knew she needed. Instead of giving her what she demanded, Jesus showed Martha what was better and the choice she needed to make to receive it.
Jesus helped her see that Mary hadn’t abandoned her to do the work by herself. Instead, Mary chose to walk away from the distractions and preparations so she could take hold of something that couldn’t be taken away from her.
It was the only thing that would last even after Jesus was gone. It was time with Him, resting in His presence, soaking in His perspective, and listening to His promises.
As I read through Martha’s story, 1 Peter 5:7 came to mind. It says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” With both Scriptures in mind, I began to see the difference between what God offers and what I had been doing. I was carrying the heavy weight of my concerns, but Jesus invites me to come to Him and cast my cares upon Him so He can care for me.
When I do all the talking and instructing, God doesn’t have a chance. Instead of telling Him what I need, He invites me to share what’s on my mind — all my worries and concerns — and to ask, “Lord, what is going on in my heart? What are Your thoughts about this situation? What do I need and what should I do?”
This year is teaching me on a whole new level what it looks like to give my concerns to God. And as I take time to let Him care for me, my heart rests in knowing just how much He cares about me.
Are there things you’re carrying that are too heavy for you to bear? If so, take time to talk to the Lord. Sit at His feet. Rest in His care for you.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I so needed your post this am. Deadlines, work, and my mom’s declining health have me simultaneously worried and overwhelmed. I understand your wanting to throw up your hands and say, “I quit!” That is a red flag that I need to put down all that I am doing and spend time with the Lord. I need to be filled up…you can only run on empty for so long. Great post!
Renee Swope says
Running on empty, barely making it on fumes. It definitely won’t be enough for us for long will it? I need more Jesus this year than ever and looking for ways to fill up my tank more frequently. We are in a similar season with an aging parent (mom) whose health is declining. It’s a lot. Praying for you.
I love this verse. So many times we forget that God does care. This story was very inspiring to me. Thank you.
Renee M Swope says
Im so glad it encouraged your heart Sally.
Andree Hidalgo says
Thank you so much for this reminder, Renee. For some reason hearing the details of your struggles and feeling overwhelmed made me feel better in dealing with my own—and the wonderful reminder of how we can deal with such burdens and anxieties.
Thank you for sharing your story and the scriptures about how He has an answer to our doubts and minimizes our discouraging moments!
Renee M Swope says
Andree, Im so grateful that sharing the details of what I’d been going through and feeling let you know that you are not alone in your struggles. It’s such an encouragement to know we are all doing the best we can and that God meets us right where we are, with assurance for each of our doubts and fears.
Mimi Luka says
I woke up this morning and the word weary came to mind. I am tired! I thank you for your words, because I battle between being Martha and Mary. The reminder that Mary’s choice was the better one was a great reminder to sit at Jesus feet and soak in His grace and Mercy and let His words soak into these weary bones.
Renee Swope says
Weary is such a fitting word for how I’ve felt this year, Mimi. So you are not alone in this. I pray that this stretch between Christmas and New Years will bring longer pauses to rest and reflect at Jesus’ feet.
Brenda M Russell says
How wonderful to encourage others to stop, pray for guidance, listen for God’s tender loving words and be thankful and obedient.
I have been so blessed to see that no person can take care of him/herself. We, humans, often think we are invincible but we are clay vessels, sheep who go astray most often. We need God’s care and correction every day. Females are often reared to carry heavy loads. It is a tradition that can be revisited. A relationship with God through our Lord and Savior is what’s needed foremost. Second, education that is appropriate and effective for all children. Of course we need to be taught about Marriage and Family from Biblical values. Then a person maybe ready for grownup responsibilities.
I can only speak for myself, I grew up knowing the love of Christ by example from my grandmother. What I missed was instructions on Marriage and Family. Since my grandmother had been a widow since my mother was two years old, we rarely spoke of marriage. But now I did not miss the many opportunities to share my knowledge with my three daughters.
We all need information, correction, guidance, protection and provisions to lead healthy lives and make healthier family choices.
God bless everyone during this season of thanksgiving and sharing with others the love of Christ.
You’re so right Brenda, we NEED each other!!
Catherine Scible says
Thank you. Needed this today. I am feeling very overwhelmed this Christmas season. Lot of loss this year. Having to travel for Christmas to spend with family with failing health. Fear.
So thankful for a God who loves me and understands.
Renee Swope says
I am praying for you Catherine as I read your comment a second time, and have more time to reply. I pray your Christmas was more calm than you anticipated and that your heart is able to find rest and quietness with Jesus that will refuel your soul now that the holidays are winding down. I am praying Matthew 11:28-29 for you tonight.
Thank you for the reminder and your honest display of distractions. I needed this.
Renee Swope says
You are so welcome Monique. I’m so glad it encouraged you to know you are not alone.
Dear Renee, I don’t have nearly as much on my plate as many of you do. But even I get a bit overwhelmed sometimes with preparations and such. Inviting the Lord into our mess surely is the best advice. But I’m wondering, too, if you ladies might need to put down a few of your goals and expectations. Maybe letting go of just a few little things that aren’t essential might help you to cope with what’s left, and maybe find joy in it? Maybe don’t decorate so much. Maybe skip the Christmas cards this year. Maybe do less baking. Just a thought.
Renee Swope says
Irene, you are so right. There is so much wisdom in doing less so we can enjoy more. That is exactly what our family did this Christmas and last Christmas, and it did help. We just can’t do it all and isn’t it so good to know Jesus doesn’t expect us too? Sweet blessings to you!
Thank you, thank you for this post. I so needed this and it has been such a blessing to my heart. May the Lord Bless you!
I can so relate to this devotional because I also am caring for my 93 year old father who suffers from congestive heart failure, plus recently my husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer in the bone marrow, and with all that’s going on with COVID-19, one can feel overwhelmed. I get up early and meet with the Lord alone in the quiet before the day’s demands begin. It is what sustains and strengthens me. I pray for all those whom are facing their individual burdens on top of all else that we facing collectively. May the Lord bless you and guide you. One day at a time is all we can do now.
Karen Knowles says
We all have times when we feel overwhelmed in our lives. Thank you for the post, Renee. I have always loved 1 Peter 5:7. It is so important that we remember what this verse tells us to do at those times.
Nancy Ruegg says
I copied onto a 3 x 5 this brief prayer from Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World (by Joanna Weaver), and put it with my prayer cards: “You know what needs to be done today, Lord. Show me the ‘one thing’ and I’ll do it” (p. 203). As she says, it’s a way to surrender our days to the Lord, asking him to direct our paths. I find that such a prayer helps to cut through the excess and less important tasks, so I can accomplish his plan for the day. / God, grant us wisdom as we surrender! (I believe that’s the kind of prayer he loves to answer.)
Thank you for this timely reminder that He has all the answers if I just take time to listen.
Beth Williams says
The world’s system says do/be achieve more. It applauds achievement & striving. At what cost? Women tend to think they have to do it all. We must be the house keeper, cook, errand runner, etc. like Martha. (The pandemic has made it worse). That is especially true around holidays. God never said we had to buy lots of gifts, make large meals, send cards, etc. He only wants us to celebrate His birthday by spending time with Him. We can’t run on empty tanks. We must be filled up daily. Spending time with Him will do just that. Take a few minutes daily to talk/pray about your schedule & the worries you carry. He will guide your paths that day & each day after.
Judith K Ebbens says
also needed this reminder that God is in control .What I always say is God IS in control and He IS on his throne. That is what matters along with your words that help us with be reminded to turn to Jesus for rest and recuperation.