I lay in bed and the sheets felt heavy, suffocating almost. I finally did the math, added the days, subtracted the things that I needed to get done and it was obvious – I was going to be in the red.
Racking my brain for shortcuts, superfluous items that could be cut from the schedule, I came up short. There were none. They all needed to be done; they were all important. There just wasn’t enough days to make it happen this time around.
This isn’t a fine pillow to sleep on.
It was days before the women’s retreat. I was leading, speaking and responsible for some details as well. My kids had obligations for the week that required my assistance and I had said yes to helping a friend.
I knew this would be a week that would require me to work extra hard, but it was clear I had overshot this time. There was no working hard enough to make it all happen. I went to bed defeated, frustrated by the fact that, even with the best of intentions, I had still gotten myself here.
And sleep came quick. If I have one gift it may be sleeping. Fully caffeinated, stressed or worried I have a knack for falling asleep easily.
As soon as my eyes popped opened I was ready to work. I woke prepared to squeeze as much out of this day as possible and deal with whatever was left at the end the of the day. Glancing at my phone on my way out of bed, I was caught off guard. It was 1:30am. I had barely slept three hours.
I got back in bed quickly and tried everything I knew to will myself back to sleep. Apparently this gifting has its limits. I tossed and turned and lay perfectly still. I shut my eyes tight like a 6 year old trying to return to her dreams, but my mind was racing. Because I HAD TO sleep. I had a crazy busy week ahead. I needed sleep now. There would be no way I can make it through this day, this week, without sleep.
My demands were ineffective, so I got out of bed and went to work. I didn’t even make coffee because I didn’t want this party to last any longer than necessary. My plan was to simply do a few things until I was good and tired and then I’d return to bed.
But I worked for hours. I wrote words that were under deadline. I finished notes and sent e-mails. Item and after item was crossed off my list.
And I stopped to worry every hour or so.
Because this is crazy. It is the middle of the night. The world is asleep and I should be too. What if I am forming a new nocturnal habit? What if I don’t have enough energy to make it through the next day? I might fall asleep during the kids piano lessons in the afternoon! What if I crash at work the next evening?
My worries remind me of the disciples, when they were hanging out with Jesus one day. They had been walking him for some time now and had seen him calm the wind and the waves. These guys had listened to Jesus’ many parables and watched him perform numerous miracles first hand. They knew him.
They were trying to get a little reprieve from the crowds on this particular day but they were highly unsuccessful as about 5,000 men, not including women and children, flocked to hear Jesus teach.
As evening drew near the disciples began to get antsy and decided to approach Jesus about it. “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” (Luke 9:12)
I wonder what kind of worry might have gone on in the disciples minds before they even worked up the nerve to talk to Jesus about that. Can you imagine?
The sun fading in the sky, their stomachs starting to ache, I wonder if they began to nudge each other and whisper. “Are you as hungry as I am? It’s getting late. Do you think He’s going to wrap this up soon? The crowd is getting a little shifty; who is going to tell Him that it’s time to send these people on their way?”
“But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.”” Luke 9:13
His words, His tone, are vaguely reminiscent of when his disciples woke him amidst the storm on the boat in Luke 8, “Where is your faith?”
Can you see what Jesus is trying to grow in his disciples here? Can you see what He might be trying to grow in us?
But the disciples respond in the stark reality of their situation. Jesus, really. We have 5 loaves and 2 fish for all these people. I so get the disciples here, speaking from what they see. Their reality is ridiculous. It’s nothing, really. 5 loaves, 2 fish, for thousands of people. Who even offers that?
The disciples were seeing their gift, their offering, from their own limitations instead of fully trusting in a limitless God.
You know how the story ends. Jesus took the 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish, which we learn in John 6 that they retrieved from a young boy. He gave thanks and multiplied that small offering to overflowing.
God is in the very business of multiplying our small and earnest offering to overflowing.
So I worked through most of the night during that crazy adventure a few weeks back. I finally returned to bed around 6 am and in another small miracle my kids didn’t wake me up until 8:00. I got all kinds of work done that night. The next day I felt well rested and fine. And I haven’t woke up in the middle of the night since.
But I barely even saw it as a gift until it was over, friend.
I worried most of the way through it. It wasn’t until it was over, until I survived the next day and slept fully through the next night, that I was alert enough or I stopped worrying enough to wake up and notice – Woah, God did something for me there.
I wonder how often we miss seeing what he can do because we are stuck worrying how crazy it is to offer just 5 loaves and 2 fish – how crazy it is to offer a sleepless night, our meager talents, our humble offering?
How often do we miss the miracle because we stayed trapped within our own limitations rather than offering it all to a limitless God?
I want to trust him with my small offering. I want to trust his math – the kind that blows my mind, that seems impossible, that scares me and worries me and speaks only to His greatness.
Can we be brave enough to give him our small things, our humble offering, our weak and seemingly not enough, and let him multiply it to overflowing?
We get to choose brave not because of who we are, but because who He is, friend.
How can you live from that truth today?