Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wasted effort

Imagine a very large field to be plowed. Your vantage point is from above and a short distance away - on a nearby hill, for example.The fieldhand plowing the field has only a primitive push plow with which to break the ground into uniform rows of tilled earth ready for seeds.

As you watch the fieldhand in their labors, you begin to notice a pattern, a troublesome pattern. You observe them repeatedly pushing their plow along for a short distance until they hit either a deep root or a large buried boulder, neither of which their plow is heavy enough to move. The fieldhand then will back up and ram the plow into the obstruction, over and over. The poor fieldhand wastes hours in this frustrating activity until, completely worn out, they fall over where they stand. Only after this futile exercise does the fieldhand finally give up ,pick up the plow, and move around the obstruction so they can push forward.

As you watch this pattern repeated throughout the day, you can also see, below you, at the bottom of this hill, another worker, sitting idle in large backhoe. This driver is just sitting around waiting to be called upon by the fieldhand to remove those roots and boulders using the substantial equipment.

From your elevated point of view, you can see the resources available to the fieldhand. All he has to do is mark the root or boulder with a flag, call out to the backhoe driver, and let the heavy equipment do the hard work. The fieldhand can, meanwhile, be moving ahead with his plowing, covering ground instead of wasting time and effort trying to do what is beyond his capability.

Here's the thing: You are the fieldworker, pushing forward in your chosen or assigned mission field (your stepfamily, your marriage, your job, etc.). What an Observer can easily see is that you tend to waste your energy, your time, your joy, and your accomplishment banging away at roots too deeply buried or boulders too large and heavy for you to budge. While, all the time, there is Someone much better equipped to handle those overwhelming challenges.

How this applies to your life is like this. When you encounter an immovable obstacle in your path to perform your life task - whether this is creating a solid marriage, helping raise stepchildren, or accomplishing any other mission - instead of calling out for help from a Helper with Heavy Equipment, Who is imminently better able to deal with the impediment than you, you insist on banging away at it until you're fruitlessly worn out.

How many times have you used up your very last bit of energy, trying to fix a problem, only to ultimately give up? Then, on reflection, you see that the problem was dealt with by someone else. Or you come to understand that the problem didn't have to be fixed by you, in order for you to move ahead?

In your assigned or chosen missions in this life. Don't get so tied up (or prideful) with resolving the problem yourself when you have, nearby and handy, a much better equipped Helper Who is ready, willing, and able to tackle those boulders. Remember that you don't have to beat yourself to pieces trying to defeat every challenge on your own. Use your resources. Pray. Leave the bigger messes to God and let Him help you.

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