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“Sweetie, be careful! You don’t need to lean on it like that. Let me show you a better way.”

One of the little girls in my daycare struggles with the liquid soap dispenser in the bathroom. For some unknown reason, she thinks she must lean on the poor little dispenser with every ounce of strength she possesses. Instead of simply pushing down on the top of it, she leans into it with her forehead, grunting and groaning as if she’s trying to push a ton of bricks.

(Where she picked this up, I have no idea. It’s a bit comical to watch.)

But the results aren’t so comical. Her over-compensating efforts only succeed in spilling soap all over the bathroom sink, which of course hinders the whole process of getting her hands washed and back out the door to play-time.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been teaching her how *easy* it is to use the soap. All she needs to do is simply press down on the dispenser with one hand, holding her other hand beneath it. She has more than enough strength to make the soap come out without leaning on it, while making all sorts of noises.

She’s getting the hang of it, although I still need to remind her every now and then she’s strong enough to push the dispenser down without using her head. 🙂

It reminds me of myself at times.

God has given me a full and busy life. My tasks as a single mom, daycare owner, and ministry leader keep me hopping, to say the least.

There are times when I feel overwhelmed and that I lack adequate strength to keep up with everything I must do.

I push a little harder on that soap dispenser, thinking if I just give it a bit more effort I will succeed. That doesn’t work, so I lean into it, striving and toiling away. But all I do is exhaust myself, and sometimes spill soap all over the place.

I’ve learned a couple things when it seems like my efforts are failing—like whatever I do just leaves me in an exhausted state with a mess to clean up.

First, perhaps I’m not succeeding because God didn’t call me to do that particular thing. 

We can sometimes get caught up thinking we must say “yes” to every single thing asked of us. I love being involved in the ministries in my church, but I simply cannot do them all. I’m learning to pray about what God would have me do, and follow His leading.

I tend to be a people-pleaser, so it’s difficult for me to say “no” to anyone. But if I spread myself too thin, it’s a detriment to myself and my children, and I’m unable to give myself fully to the things I’ve committed to. It also shows that I value the opinion of people over pleasing the Lord in my life.

Second, perhaps I’m not succeeding because I’m trying to do it all in my own effort, instead of depending on God.

How easy it is to get caught in the trap of thinking we don’t need God! We are just like the little girl in my daycare, pushing and pushing with all our strength, when we don’t need to strive so hard. Adequate strength is just a prayer away.

God has an abundance of power for our every need. When He calls us to a task, He gives the strength needed for that task. But so many times we fail to go to Him!

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” II Peter 1:3 (emphasis mine)

According to His divine power. That’s a lot of power!

The power that spoke the galaxies into existence, the power that defeated mighty armies, the power that rose Jesus from the dead—that power is available to us!

My friend, I don’t know what you are facing today. Maybe you feel defeated, exhausted, and overwhelmed. Perhaps you are ready to give up.

If so, I encourage you to take a moment to think about these two things I’ve mentioned.

First, have you over-committed yourself? Are you exhausted because you’ve take on too much? If so, pray about what God would have you to do, and ask for His wisdom in deciding what to keep and what to let go.

Second, are you trying to do everything in your own strength? Have you neglected your devotional time—the time when God infuses you with His Word and power? Have you forgotten to ask Him for help?

If so, go to Him. Take time—make time—to be alone with Him, seeking His strength.

All that we need to live “for life and godliness” is available to us.

We can cease from our own striving efforts and rely on His power.

We don’t have to push the soap so hard. 🙂

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)