Moms are notorious for multi-tasking, are we not? It’s what we do. When a skinned-knee little one needs a snuggle while two older kids are throwin’ down like professional wrestlers in another room, we can croon, “There, there now. It’ll be all right.” while at the same time yelling, “I’mmon count to 3 and you two better be off each other!” We don’t even think twice. I can’t count the number of times I’ve simultaneously nursed an infant, consoled a toddler, planned an upcoming church event via cell phone, and taken care of bathroom business. Don’t laugh…maybe you’ve never nursed an infant while on the toilet, but I bet there are more than a few moms out there who can totally relate. Shoot! There’s probably a mom or two doing that right now…while they’re reading this. Multi-tasking at its finest!
Women are designed to get it done. And that’s ok. Most of the time we can do what needs to be done and do it well. But sometimes, it all seems to be too much and we find ourselves stressed and stretched to the point that we’re no good to anyone. We’re responding roughly, crying easily, screaming maniacally at the least provocation. When that happens it’s time do some soul-searching.
Could it be that our overload is a direct result of the self-destructive behavior of carrying burdens that were never ours to carry?
A scene played out in our house a while back that showed this principle in action. I had sent my 2 youngest, Zay and Sarah (then ages 10 and 8), to clean their room. We lived in an old house with ginormous bedrooms that could go from “spit-shined” to “trashed” in the blink of eye. They hadn’t been in their room very long when Sarah came running to me in melt-down mode, complete with real tears and whiny voice. “Mama, mama! Zay’s not cleaning! I’m doing all the work! It’s not faaaiiirrrr!” A quick review covering the roles of our family reminded her that I’m the mama (in this case that would involve giving directions, checking for follow-through, and dealing with slackers). Her only responsibility in this situation was cleaning her part of the room. Although it didn’t seem fair at the time, when all was said and done, I’d see her responsibility fulfilled, his unfinished, and I would step in and handle it.
How many times can the source of our stress be traced back to our desire to fill a role that was never ours to fill?
Sarah’s stress level was through the roof about something that was none of her concern.
If we’re willing to look it’ll probably only take about a half a minute to recognize ourselves in this situation. How many times can the source of our stress be traced back to our desire to fill a role that was never ours to fill? Multi-tasking can definitely be beneficial when we’re handling the business God has given to handle, but it can be detrimental to us, our families, and our relationship with God if we take on responsibilities and worries that aren’t meant for us to carry. Trying to do our job while worrying about someone else only serves to set us up for melt-down.
For example: How often do we waste precious time wondering what others are doing and how they’re doing it…think: Facebook, Twitter? (I’m not opposed to social media, just offering caution against using it to compare our lives with others or becoming overly concerned with stuff that doesn’t matter.)
How often do we fill our lives with activities and responsibilities simply so that we can be like the mom we know who seems so perfect? Or because we’re afraid to offend someone by saying “No” to more than we can handle?
How often do we feel the need to be all things to all people? And if we’re willing to dig a little deeper…How often does that “need” stem from a desire to shape the opinions of others into thinking that we’ve got it all together instead of how we can be a blessing?
While you’re sipping your coffee this morning ask God to search your heart and show you areas where you’re more concerned with others (their opinions, thoughts, perceptions, actions) than you are with fulfilling the roles that He’s given you. He can give you wisdom to discern between healthy multi-tasking that’s productive and fruitless striving that benefits no one. The former leads to peace, blessing, and productivity; the latter to stress and burn-out.
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