Do you ever just want to be left alone? I know I do. Sometimes people just plain wear. me. out. The children pull on my pants. Tug on my shirt. Call “Mooommy!” 567 times a day. Then there’s the phone ringing. Text message beeping. Facebook and Twitter notifications chiming.
Like the other day, when I was just a tired mama and life wouldn’t let up. I woke emotionally and physically worn out, as my 3 kids were sick and I had been called every half hour. All night long. The day started, and mini disaster after mini disaster occurred. I wondered, Could this day get any worse? I felt like I just couldn’t do this anymore! How can a woman keep her sanity when everyone needs her, all the time?
I was thinking on this problem, the constant being-needed. The burn-out. The exhaustion-and-it’s-only-9-a.m. It came to me how Jesus was constantly pestered by needy humanity. Clutching His garments. Yelling His name. Trailing Him everywhere.
In Matthew 14, Jesus had just heard John the Baptist had been beheaded, and He departed to a desert place. He could be alone there, right? Nope. He couldn’t be alone even in the desert! People learned where He was and followed Him. Over 5,000 people were waiting for Him. Was His response annoyance? Frustration?
Verse 14: “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them…”
That verse struck me to the heart. Our children are so needy. Our spouses are needy. Our extended family is needy. Our friends are needy. Everyone is needy. After all, even we’re needy!
We are all seeking fellowship, understanding, compassion, healing. It can be overwhelming to respond to needy people. Even Jesus did manage to get away alone at times. Up on a mountain to pray, into the wilderness. He came away refreshed, ready to meet people in their brokenness again, to offer the greatest Love history has ever known.
For us, getting away to be refreshed can be sitting down to read the Bible or a good book. Relaxing with a cup of coffee or tea. Arranging a time to go to meet up with a friend to unwind. Walking outside for 15 minutes, enjoying the fresh air. Talking with family on the phone in a moment of quiet. Taking time to pray before the kids wake up. Going to bed early and getting 10 hours of sleep.
However it looks for you, we all need time, however short, to refresh and recharge. To still our heart and get encouragement so we can keep going.
But sometimes getting a recharge just isn’t possible. Sometimes, life is hard, it’s busy, it’s relentless. Can we still meet people with compassion in those moments of physical fatigue and mental weariness? Humanly speaking, that is extremely difficult. Maybe almost impossible. But with God, all things are possible. He has mercy for us in our weakness when we act out of exasperation, and He also has strength to empower us to overcome.
God has strength available for you and me. He forgives us when we fall short, but He doesn’t want us to stay in that place. So we keep putting one foot in front of another, one moment, one day, at a time. We keep learning to walk in obedience, and in time, our lives reflect Him more and more clearly.
When my heart responds in annoyance and frustration to another tug on my shirt, another phone call, another knock on the door, I want to respond like Jesus did. Even if I’m tired, lonely or sad, just like He was.
To see the person and their heart in need, instead of only seeing myself. In the midst of the exhaustion, to still be moved with compassion, and motivated by love. That kind of compassion and love can change a life, a world, one interaction at a time.
Have you been overwhelmed by being needed? How have you dealt with those feelings?
Please share in the comments below.