When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed

I’ve posted a couple of ideas on Moses recently, and wanted to share some further ruminations, particularly in a season of life where things have felt a little overwhelming.

After Little A and I concluded our evening reading in Exodus a few weeks ago, we read a footnote in her Bible that approximated the number of Israelites led out of Egypt to be 2 million.  Little A laughed and rolled back onto her carpet in the middle of her bedroom, “Moses must have been exhausted!  All that complaining and whining!”  Yep, for all you teachers out there multiply your classroom by about oh, 83,000 and there you have he nation of Israel, leading that crowd, not over, not under, but through the sea, and the whining started even before they could cross…God knew this was a lot for Moses, but God was with him, every day, all the time, fortifying him, just as he is with us, so if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with everything you’ve got piled on your to-do list (who isn’t?), or find yourself in a difficult relationship situation, I have a few suggestions from what I’ve observed reading about Moses:

1) Eliminate distractions: whether this means taking a little break from social media (what?!) or kindly declining a lunch invitation when you know you must, just do it, you’ll save your sanity. Time with God is essential to keeping your peace.  One of my Bible study leaders who came home after a successful career in academia to be a stay-at-home mom to her three children, joked that she had to start every morning on her knees to fortify herself against the troops.  We knew that she was only partly joking.  Motherhood is the front ranks.  Throughout Exodus and Numbers, we see the phrase, “Then the Lord said to Moses.”  We aren’t able to hear from him until we turn down the noise.

2) Step back and allow others to help you, better yet, ask for help. In the 18th chapter of Exodus, Moses gets a visit from his father-in-law, Jethro, they had a time of fellowship in which Moses recounted God’s goodness to his people, which resulted in feasting and sacrificing to the God of Moses.  The next day, “Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening.  When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”  Moses explained that he helps them to discern God’s laws and decrees when settling disputes.  But Jethro is a believer in delegation (a very wise man) and encourages Moses to teach them the laws and decrees, selecting trustworthy men and appointing them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens, having them serve as judges for the people.  Moses did just as he said, assigning judges to his people.

I realize I’m preaching to the choir here.  I hate asking for help, but whenever I do, I am very rarely turned down, as fellow believers, we are encouraged to bear with one another in love, this is an opportunity in service and in my case, a lesson in humility.

3) Remember that you are human–we all get angry, frustrated, sad, lonely and we make mistakes.  I’m not going to lie to you, the other day I got so frustrated I threw a chair, not at anyone or anything, I was just angry and picked up a large object and threw it on the ground.  Not a good moment for me.  I immediately went to my room and shut my door.  Yes, even at thirty-ahem, I still throw fits but try to go in my room and do it. When  Moses came down from the mountain, heard singing and dancing and saw that the people had set up a golden calf, he got angry, so angry, he busted up the tablets the Lord had written on (Exodus 32:19).  It’s ok, God redeems these things too.

4) There will always be haters, but God is the ultimate judge of any of our actions; in Numbers 12, we see the two people closest to Moses, Miriam and Aaron oppose him, they were upset that they couldn’t lead right along with Moses and used the subtext of him taking a Cushite wife as doing something outside of God’s law (there were no laws against marrying foreign women at this point):

Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked.  “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this.  (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)  At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the Tent of meeting, all three of you.”  So the three of them came out.  Then the lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam.  When both of them stepped forward, he said, “Listen to my words: When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.  But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house.  With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord.  Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

Next, it says that the anger of the Lord burned against them, the cloud lifted from above the tent and Miriam was left there, leprous, she was confined outside the camp for seven days then brought back–and no movement by the nation was made until she returned.

Yikes.  As much as our human hearts are prone to speculation, we have to remember that God is the ultimate judge.

Any problems seem daunting right now?  Not sure how to even begin digging out?  The last several days of my devotions have concentrated on resting, abiding, so I’ll leave you with this verse from Isaiah 50:10: Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant?  Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

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