The straw that breaks the camel’s back……

Too much going on…

Sometimes when you go on holiday, and then come back, things have accumulated in your in-tray, in your email, in fact everywhere. There is a list of things to do, that can seem unending.

When we feel overwhelmed, we can often work out a coping strategy, and work out a plan. But then one additional thing comes in- it can just be small, can look very insignificant, but it is just one thing too many. It could be a plea for toilet rolls, a reminder of something undone, or a ‘ I know you’re busy but…….’ kind of request. And then it feels unmanageable, just like the mountain of stuff to do has become too great, and that it’s about to collapse on your head!

Life these days is so much more complicated than it was pre covid. People have changed- they are exhausted from continual adaption, from illness and stress, anxiety and financial worries. So everytime we go to do something, there can be unexpected complications. It can weary the soul.

I remember some one said ‘how do you cut up an elephant?’ And the answer is ‘ one piece at a time’. Now to be clear, I don’t want to cut up elephants, or indeed any living creature! But I have found the principle to be invaluable, when you have lots to do, just start with a little tiny bit, and that in itself makes a difference. Just one step, takes you forward.

I love too that I can always come to God, and share my worries with Him, and that He never turns me away. It is such a privilege. I can come ranting about whatever has gone wrong, unable to see a constructive way forward, and He lets me pour out my heart to Him. He listens with loving kindness, and I find a new strength, and see different possibilities that might work. I am blessed, even in the most tumultuous of times.

In psalm 62 verse 8, the psalmist says ‘ o my people, trust in God at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is your refuge’

Gracious God, sometimes we try so hard to follow You, to persevere, to do all we can, but it doesn’t seem enough, and little things going wrong annoy us so badly. Lord Jesus, forgive us when we become grumpy and have a short fuse. In our time of need, may we turn to You. Take the cares of the world from our shoulders, and help us bring our worries to You in prayer. Set us free through your spirit. Help us to regain perspective, to find inspiration to find a new and better way forward, taking a deep breath, and trusting more fully in You. In your mercy, hear our prayer, Amen

One thing too many……

Just too much stuff!

Despite my best efforts, my life still seems to have too much stuff! I am trying to let it go, and to have better daily habits, but my confession is that a few books have sneaked into the house recently. I can’t imagine how that happened….

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reflecting on the stuff that seems to have engulfed us emotionally too, as we struggle to cope with the consequences of the pandemic. We have got into habits of not going out so much and of being more fearful and self contained. And there is so much anxiety and frustration in our society just now, we oscillate between overconfidence and withdrawal, quietness and agitation. For many people, when something goes wrong it is one thing too many, whether it is the bus that pulls out in front of you, or the person who is rude, or being kept on hold for an hour, trying to pay a bill. We live in an anxious age.

I love that Jesus said ‘ come to me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your soul.’ Matthew 11: 28-9

We are carrying so much- the scars from the pandemic, the stresses of economic and political instability, personal burdens, and worry and concern about where we are going as a world community. It is too much to bear.

Yet Jesus invites us to turn to Him, to lay our burdens at the foot of the cross, and to find rest. He takes our worries from us, and calls us to trust Him, and to just be still. He wants us to have rest for our souls, a deep peace, that passes all understanding. When we have prayed, and tried all the things we can think of, and given it all we have, and it doesn’t seem to be working, we just need to come to Jesus, and rest and wait. For He is humble and gentle, and will bring restoration to our souls.

Gracious and Loving God, we cry to you from a wounded and conflicted world, where everything seems discordant and there is so much confusion and pain. In these days, even a little thing can become one thing too many. Lord Jesus, have mercy on us. Help us not to keep trying to solve things by ourselves, but just to come and tell you of our woes and ask for your guidance. Holy spirit, reveal to us the wisdom of our Heavenly Father, so our lives might be more centred and graced. And meantime, may we draw near to you, and find that healing and rest which we crave do badly in the presence of our merciful abba Father. Bring restoration and renewal we pray, Amen.