“You’re the glue that holds everything together.”
I would guess that I’m not the only wife and mother who has either heard it, thought it, or feels it.
I suppose it’s a compliment. Or at least it was on the cutesy Mother’s Day card I saw at the store several months ago.
The first time I thought about myself as the one who holds it all together, it felt kind of empowering. That’s right. I am the one who keeps us all on track.
After a while, it started to feel annoying. Okay, people…you don’t need to come to me for everything.
Lately, however, it just makes me feel tired. Listen up—do it yourself or do without it.
Now, before you suck in your breath at that last statement and think I’m ungrateful, I’m not. I’m very thankful for what God has blessed me with… but I’m also being honest.
Being The Glue Is Exhausting
That cute Mother’s Day card I saw should have said on the inside: “You must be exhausted.” But it didn’t.
The truth is no matter if you’re a wife and mother, a single mother, a daughter and care giver, or somewhere in between, being the glue that holds everything together is tiring. And in long, drawn-out, real-life situations it is exhausting.
I have to believe I’m not the only one who knows what it feels like. Maybe you’re the one who…
- tries to stay hopeful when nothing is going the way we want it to, and everyone is getting weary… and irritable.
- keeps pouring into others, but is feeling empty herself.
- starts feeling lost while trying to keep everyone on the right path.
- champions others, but feels alone and unsupported.
- tries to keep it all together when it feels like everything is falling apart.
We Were Never Meant To Do It All
Even the best glue gets tired and won’t hold forever.
Over time, when glue gets stretched too thin, it loses its grip. It might start underneath where it can’t be seen. Or perhaps it’s a barely visible crack in the smooth exterior that goes unnoticed. Either way, without reinforcement, that crack will continue to spread or snap completely.
To fix physical objects, we can add more adhesive. (I’ve been known to do this.)
Or jury-rig a quick fix. (Yes, I’ve been known to do this also. MacGyver it. It’s a real term. Thank you 1980s.)
But, what happens when we’re the glue? Then what?
The truth is no amount of glue on the outside will fix what only God can do on the inside.
“The truth is no amount of glue on the outside will fix what only God can do on the inside.”
3 Steps To Take When Your Load Gets Too Heavy
So, what do we do when we’re the one holding it all together and the weight becomes too heavy to bear?
1.) Pray and Give it to God
I don’t say this lightly. It’s not a one-time hand-off where we brush the dirt off our hands and go on our merry way.
When we’re sitting in the mess, it’s often all we can see. It’s hard to look at the bright side or count the blessings. Sometimes, I don’t even want to. I’m tired of hanging on to hope when it feels like I’m the only one.
But, I know that there is always hope because of Jesus—and I need His help to hold on and make it through each day. One day at a time. One step at a time.
2.) Look for God
Even in the muck, God is present. He promises never to leave us. That means He sits with us in the hardest of days, listens to us when we struggle with the same thing over and over, and comforts us when nothing and no one else can.
On those days when our vision is clouded we have to intentionally look for Him. I’ve been reminded of His presence in the purple flowers on an African Violet that rarely bloomed in my kitchen window, the way the sun rays beamed down through the clouds as I drove to work in tears, and the way a text or email from a friend came at just the right moment.
These may seem small or insignificant, but they are powerful when you know God is behind them.
3.) Practice Self-Care
I get antsy and restless when I’m not spending enough time with God—both quiet time with Him and studying His Word. Bible study along with journaling is a release for me. Even if it’s 15-20 minutes at a time, I can feel the difference in my thoughts and how I feel.
I’ve also been reminded that I need to put boundaries in place. Somehow these have faded away over the years. That might be in listening, but not assuming the weight of someone else’s bad day, guarding my quiet time and not letting myself get pulled away for non-emergency concerns, and not letting my happiness depend on someone else, a situation, or how the day goes.
Being the glue is an important job—a position that we gladly accept out of love for others. But, it’s also a role that will drain us if we don’t get the help and strength we need—from the One who offers it freely.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV
How about you? Do you feel the weight of holding it all together? Are you trying to do it alone or do you lean into God and rely on His strength?
If you liked this blog post, keep your eyes open for our upcoming book, Candid Conversations, where Heather Hart, the founder of Candidly Christian, has partnered with 25 other Christian women. While each story shares a unique perspective, the prevailing theme is that we all struggle, but there is hope to be found in Jesus. Coming August 13th, 2018. Kindle edition now available for pre-order.