Thank you Logan Wolfram for today’s message.
“I know I don’t look it…but I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” Bilbo’s words from Lord of the Rings rattle in my head. You’ve probably felt the same way at some point too, right?
Even the basic demands of life can leave us feeling over extended and stretched out. You spread thin across jobs, spouses, children, church, extracurriculars, and whatever else wants to suck time and energy away from you. Sometimes what’s left of us is so thin it feels as if we have become nearly translucent. Eventually, to avoid anything that requires more, we began to avoid anyone who wants more too. All the spreading thin will eventually scrape away even the good parts life. When you have nothing left to give, if you give at all, people just get whatever is left over.
But here’s the thing, you may look ok. The pieces that are visible from the outside appear put together. But instead of running your life, it seems more accurate that life is running you.
I know you get this. You’re living and loving and doing your thing and somehow find yourself in a place where you hardly even know what’s happening anymore. Life isn’t happening with you, it’s happening to you. One day you’re doing the planning, and then something weird happens and all the planning is now the ruling factor of your life. Jobs, kids, spouses, sports, carpools, church, friends…it is all too much and you become mechanical in your execution of tasks or you shut down completely.
I get it friend. I burned the candle at both ends for a long time. Somewhere in there though the candle broke in half and I found myself burning both sides of the candle at both ends and whatever was left in the middle got burned up. Which really means that I burned out.
And what probably burned me out more than anything else was when I inadvertently started burning bridges that I didn’t even mean to set fire to at all. I hurt friends because I didn’t make time for them. I felt alone because I was so overwhelmed that I disconnected myself from the people and activities around me that I loved. I stopped doing things that I enjoyed like art, or creative projects, even cooking dinners that tasted good. But dinner wasn’t the only thing that had lost it’s seasoning, my entire life had begun to feel that way too.
When it comes to making extra space for neighbors or friends or even just one more person, sometimes it feels like you just can’t.
2 Corinthians 12:5 reminds us that we need not boast about ourselves, except about our weaknesses. Because it is in our weakness, that the Lord makes us strong. In a very area of his life where Paul struggled and asked the Lord to remove the struggle, Jesus said to him “ “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” He goes on to declare that he would “boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.1“
I know what it is to be worn out, spread too thin, stretched beyond my limits, and I know that’s not the way you want to begin a new year either.
Scripture is full of people who felt not enough and spread thin across too much. But as we begin to search the Word of God to find more in our thin places, it seems most often the greatest thing God asks is that we trust Him even (and especially) when we come up short.
He asks us to offer what little we have to him so that He can make much of our offering. And in doing so, He makes much of His goodness to us. In the places where we have little, he promises to make more. In the areas we feel weak, when we lean into Him instead of ourselves, he promises to make us strong. He takes the moment we come with little left to give and blesses us with a Kingdom kind of leftovers that aren’t so much all that remains, as they show God’s abundance, excess, sufficiency, and strength.
Maybe spread too thin is the very place that God wants to show us exactly how much abundance there is for us? That instead of trying to spread ourselves over the world around us, we can uncover what can be when we spread our lives across the abundance that is the Bread of Heaven himself.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!