I threw my hands up in despair, “You are asking too much of me Lord!”
Continuing my rant, I quickly got a shower, threw on my stretchy pants and t-shirt, and tucked the soft blanket up around my neck, attempting to go sleep or at least look like I was before my roommates jolted my solace as they returned from the late session.
I had come to the “Retreat” weekend immediately following some extremely, intense counseling that had exhausted me. I had thought that I may have a few moments of actually “retreating”, but instead, from the moment I had arrived the day before, I felt the expectation to be “on”.
You know what I mean by “on”. Like when you’re a mom, you’re “on” 24/7. Even as my kids have gotten older, they “need“ you in different, sometime even more emotionally demanding ways.
Like when your parents are elderly, and you don the mask, which makes you feel like you can’t breath, to visit the mom with dementia several times a week, or you are driving the other for a cancer treatment.
Like when your kids are graduating, and you want to hold on for dear life, but know you can’t.
Like when you have a business, even when just starting out, and there are things to plan, endless to do lists, demands put on you or at least put on you by yourself.
Or like when you are in a leadership position, and you feel people expect something from you. “What’s God saying to you about…?”
This weekend, it was more “on”, because I was asked to pray for others A LOT, when all I had come for was some planning and a “retreat”, which I needed desperately after the spiritual heart surgery the Lord had just done. Under more normal conditions, I would have felt an honor to pray, but all of it felt like overwhelm.
Like someone had suddenly hit the “overwhelm” button that slammed shut a door, trapping me with no way out.
Like I was drowning in the ocean and no one could hear my muffled voice as I slipped under the crashing wave.
So, what did the brave warrior do… I ran. I escaped to my room, threw those hands up, yelled, “Too much, Lord!” “I don’t have the capacity to do this,” and hid under the covers.
Even at this moment of writing this, a text message just dinged on my phone, “Can I call you?” LOL!
And yes, my roommates did come in to find me curled in a ball sobbing, heaving sobbing, uncontrollably with a blanket pulled over my head.
They did what good friends do, the kind of friends you really want in these moments. They gathered around me, rubbed my arm and my leg comfortingly, and prayed over me tenderly, assuring me that the expectations I had put on myself, well, were more from me. That they were ok with my messiness. That it was ok to feel weak, depleted.
In the morning, a little embarrassed of my puffy eyes, I sauntered into the dining area to sit down to a breakfast feast. As my fingers reached for the delectable cranberry muffin, an image appeared in my mind’s eye of a loaf of bread. “That’s odd,” I thought to myself as I stuffed the muffin in my mouth.
Yet, the image didn’t go away. “Just be bread,” I heard in my heart.
I began to see me as the bread, and pieces being pulled off of it and shared with others. Tears pooled in my eyes.
“I provide the bread,” I tried to focus back on the half eaten muffin, quickly swiping the tears away. “You don’t even have to provide the bread.” I shifted my weight in my chair, and glanced around the table to notice others were in friendly conversation, oblivious to me. The image continued. “Just be bread.”
Again the courageous warrior “retreated” to my room to process what I was seeing, hearing. After the emotional tidal wave subsided again, I reentered the group. A morning worship time had begun.
Quietly, I snuggled in on the sofa between two friends, pulling my ball cap down to hide my red eyes.
After a bit of singing, the leader grabbed my hands and pulled me into the center of the room, to pray over me. She had not been told what had happened the night before. Yet, within a few minutes, I was laying on the ground soaking in the Lord’s sweet presence.
As I lay there, images of a little boy approaching Jesus with loaves of bread and fishes hanging out of a small basket flashed on the screen of my mind. The sweet voice of my Lord gently spoke, “All I’m asking you to do it give me the little you have, and I will multiply it to feed many.”
His eyes pierced mine with His compassion for me. “I know you feel you have little to give,” He continued. “But even the little you have is given to you by me. Trust me with it. And watch what I can do with it.” He smiled. “The pressure is not on you to perform, little one. Just be bread. And let me take it, and feed many with it.”
Daily, I’m holding onto this lesson tightly, as He leads me into places that look way to big for me to traverse, to situations I feel too weak to handle, when the “overwhelm” begins to rise again around me/ in me.
Timely, a friend sent me a talk this week, and of course, part of it was on the story of the little boy with the bread and fishes. In general, the speaker said to take the little we have and give it to Jesus, and in His hands it will multiply, but he also added that we want our rewards to be like vacations, retirement, money, but that God rewards us with more responsibility to help more people. He was referring to the story of the talents. Those who used their talents wisely, were given more authority or responsibility. Not a vacation. In short, the bread is not just for us to be satisfied, but for Him to use as He wills to feed many, which is where the increase of responsibility comes in.
As I ponder about that, it continues to sink in that it’s not my job to cause the multiplication to happen. I’m just a loaf of bread, which is supplied by the Lord. As I give the little I have to Jesus, I trust Him to take it, bless it, break it, and multiply it to more than enough for whatever the need is. He in turn fills the baskets with it.