Stretched To The Breaking Point

Ever watch someone make saltwater taffy?  They stretch it and twist it and stretch it some more.  Almost to its breaking point, but not quite.  Just shy of snapping under the pressure, they wind it up to relieve the tension and spin it in another direction to pull, stretch, and twist some more.

As of late, I feel like that taffy.  Stretched to the breaking point, but not quite snapped, yet.

If we examine our lives, many of us probably feel that pull from demands on our time.  It’s the nature of our world—multi-tasking.  If you can’t do multiple things at once, then what good are you?

For this reason, one of the hardest Bible verses for us to obey may, also, be the most simple and straightforward:

Be still, and know that I am God.  Psalms 46:10

The concept sounds great.  Stop everything and be still.  Listen to God.  Rest.

Remember when you were a kid and summer meant lazy days, playing with your friends?  Then one day, we grew up and the strain of adult responsibilities began.  We juggled family, friends, jobs, households, hobbies, the internet, you name it.

My juggling act should be famous.  I balance so many balls in the air.  If I pause…Be still…all will come tumbling down, right?

When my mother fell, one huge ball took the place of many, balls I couldn’t afford to keep in the air, anymore.  The huge ball took more time and energy to keep airborne.  It knocked into the other balls, throwing my rhythm off-sync. I worked harder and harder to keep at least a few of my smaller balls in the mix, but most of my energy focused on the large ball.  My arms, neck, and back began to ache.  I couldn’t keep this up forever, but I saw no end. My mother needed me, and I was going to be there.

Five months into this out-of-balance juggling act, I faced a dilemma.  Do I take a week’s vacation away from it all?  Work already pulled me away more than I liked, and many issues came to a head this summer, but the opportunity was there.  The place already reserved.  Was it right, fair, to take it?

Maybe if I went, I could pick up some of the balls—husband, family, writing—that suffered in my frenzy to keep that one huge ball flying no matter what.  I wanted to go.  Who wouldn’t want a break?  But I didn’t want to desert my mom or my sister, who labors as hard as I do to keep her balls soaring.

Guilt attacked my conscience.

Be still and know that I am God,” whispered in my ear.  If you don’t go, you can’t be here for her later.  You will drop the balls, all of them, someday.  The stress is too much.  The taffy will snap in two. Go.  Be Still.  Know I am God.

So, this week, I listened to the urging of the Spirit.  I’m five days into my “be still.”  I’m reconnecting with the other parts of my life and my God.  Nature surrounds me, and I’m resting…a lot.  I’m still tired.  It’s difficult.  It’s great.  I’m coping.  God has everything under control.  In this I know, and I must be still and trust.

When was the last time you stopped, rejuvenated, renewed and let God handle it all?  Maybe it’s time to do it.


4 thoughts on “Stretched To The Breaking Point

  1. Oh, Barbara, I know you’ve been carrying a heavy load, and I’ve been praying for you and your mom. Loved the “My juggling act should be famous” line. Perfect.

    Often the caregivers fall apart because it’s a difficult job. Take those breaks and don’t feel guilty.

  2. I know the life you’re talking about. That happened to me when my sister was living with me for her terminal care. I had commitments in FL, but wasn’t sure I could leave. But I did. Yes, it was still work, but a different kind. I went, was ministered TO, and came home to chaos. But because I had just had 5 days of primarily rest, I could handle it.

    Rest. Be still. Know. And come home to face the situation with new eyes and a heart that knows He knows.

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