Numbers 11, Psalm 48, Isaiah 1, & Hebrews 9

At least twice this week I have turned my frustrations upward and cried out to God, perhaps like Moses, when he said, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me?” (Numbers 11:11).   I feel responsible for others, and they become dependent on me either to solve their problems or to be a shoulder to cry on.  Love songs espouse this sentiment, “Lean on me when you’re not strong,” and “I’ll be there, just call on me.”  Well, I can say that after years of living out this calling, I’ve come close to burnout more than once. What happens seems like a mystery to me until I consider how my heart can turn away from being called to serve. Distraction pulls me in so many directions that serving God becomes just one more thing that isn’t working.  My life begins to look like the child’s toy, paddle ball – the red, rubber ball attached by an elastic band. I’m bopping in one direction and then another, trying to stay attached to the paddle, but swinging wildly away until finally I fling right off the end of the stretched band.

How do I get so far out before I know what is happening?  Do I crave chaos, or what?! I have a friend who is well on her way to becoming a minimalist, and the virtues of living simply cause my soul to salivate.  Just like how she cleans out those closets, donates bags of old clothes, books, and furnishings, and thoughtfully considers what is truly a need versus a want or nostalgic nuisance, I long to rid myself of the unnecessary baggage of pleasing people.  Running with empty buckets toward others to put out their false alarm fires, or sinking into the sucking mud of my distorted memories – those good, old days.  All this clutter of irrational thoughts and behaviors distract me from serving God.

How interesting that God calls to me today in Hebrews 9:14, “…how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”  And again, in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

I know my calling is to help others carry the burdens they have fallen victim to.  God ‘s calling is not a mystery.  He clearly says in Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” 

To do this, there can be no more bouncing around and flying into who knows where.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Numbers 11, Psalm 48, Isaiah 1, & Hebrews 9

  1. I was always terrible at that paddle ball game…literally and metaphorically. Great post Janet.

  2. And yet, here I stand, paddle ball in hand…what do they say about insanity? Something about doing the same thing and getting the same results while expecting a different outcome?

  3. I here you on the people pleasing, being a self professed ‘people pleaser’ 😉 Love the imagery of the paddle ball. Thanks for helping me regain my focus/direction.

  4. I can totally relate! The people pleasing thing has done me in on more than one occasion!! Especially when I was teaching ESL by title but actually being the school translator/social worker for Spanish speaking families. I LOVED it and I KNEW it was God’s calling on my life but I kept burning myself out…it still is my number one struggle though the context is different now…and a little less dramatic. Heart issue is the same though! Definitely have felt like a paddle ball!

  5. I get that. I worked in education, too. You can really get locked into a position where you pour out your heart and energy.

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