Thursday, December 1, 2011

Letting Go


     Have you ever felt like the weight of the world was literally on your shoulders?

     Like the responsibility for every bill to be paid on time, every child to smile and be contented and learned, every meal to be cooked, every question to be answered correctly and every second of your spouse's happiness was hanging solely on your back? That where I have been for the past 30 days. Granted, I feel like this in varying degrees every day, but for some reason it has been hitting hard since my last post- and it has gotten to be too much for me to handle. I have literally cried at some point in the day- EVERY day for 15 days-whether it be from a moving song, a broken heart, feeling like a failure as a mother or teacher, sheer exhaustion or on behalf of a friend's suffering. I have shamefully felt completely devoid of all life, all my joy.

Tonight I was reading Exodus 17:11-13

"As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset.So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword."

     I am not one who believes things happen as coincidence. I see ties and correlations everywhere in seemingly unconnected things. Maybe the above verse is why we lift our hands when we worship- because worship is not just singing, but warfare. 
     Growing up I always thought that the lifting of hands either symbolized us handing over our sins and cares to the Lord, us offering our sacrifice of praise straight to God or maybe, just as children whose parent just walked in the door wants whatever Mom or Dad has for them,we are supposed to approach God with arms wide open. But now as an adult and after reading this I want to add that maybe it has something to do with why Moses held his hands up. As long as he kept his hands held high, the Israelites would have the upper hand while in battle, but when he grew weak and tired and even, just for a second, had his mind on his own discomfort and weariness the Isrealite army began to be defeated.
     I am at this point now. I want to lift my hands and I want to continue on, but I am just so tired- both physically and spiritually....maybe even even emotionally. I live to do whatever I can to absorb the pain of others and to help in any way I can to set them on the right track to God and back to their joy; yet somehow I never quite get around to doing the same for myself. It feels selfish and I hate that feeling. I need my own personal Aaron and Hur- strong and faithful people who will hold me up when I just want to give up and collapse. 
     Something else I noticed reading this verse: Joshua did the fighting. Granted he had an entire army with him, but Moses did not run around the battlefield with his arms up! Why? Because he wasn't able to do it all! He couldn't physically fight in the battle and be the example to the army with hands held high. We as women (and I am SO talking to myself here) at times feel like we have got to do it all and be it all for those we love and we just can't. When we try, we burn our candles at both ends... and then we aren't any good to anyone anymore. This is easy for me to comprehend but so hard to put into practice. I know how Type A I am so I feel things just get done faster and more efficiently when I do it myself...but I am beginning to see the consequences of this way of thinking. It's just so hard to relinquish control.

Maybe I should just lift my hands and let go.