Stretch Armstrong, former procrastinators, came to our house as a gift to our son. He was a muscular looking figure about 15 inches high, blond, tan and had a big grin on his face. His arms extended straight out to each side.
Stretch had a special ability – to stretch. With one person pulling hard on each limb, Stretch’s arms and legs would e-x-t-e-n-d out. Four people pulling on this guy, and he just went with it. Pretty amazing.
All the while Stretch kept smiling that toothy grin. His face never contorted. His nonexistent heart and brain never struggled over which direction he should go. He never shed a tear or shouted “Stop! I can’t give any more!” Just smilin’ and stretchin.’
We’ve all felt like we were being pulled like Stretch Armstrong – and it doesn’t make us grin. We feel out of kilter in heart, brain, and body, unable to keep up with demands much less do one thing more.
Though we want to return to “normal” as soon as we can, often we must adapt long term. Our frame is dust. We still have to respect our need for physical rest and spiritual refreshment. Without it, we serve others poorly and collapse in exhaustion. This is a time to Get Help. Literally cry out to the Lord for strength, endurance, wisdom. Turn to the body of Christ. We can seek counsel and ask the following questions.
Am I the only one who can do this? Can I say no or take on just a portion? Can I be part of a team? Who can I enlist? What are the essential needs in each part of the situation? How can I keep some priority routine things going while meeting the extra needs? Is there a way I can incorporate this need into our routine? Is there a way I can include family members so we learn together? Who would be willing to help me whack alligators at my house during this time?
Stretch was sweet inside, filled with a form of sugar. We, however, are filled with the Holy Spirit whose sweetness is greater. He is light and love. He provides discernment for priorities and multiple demands. He enables us to stretch and give. He supplies the wisdom needed under pressure. He prompts us when to give and when to pull back. He’s the Comforter when we cry out in pain and He’s the source of a genuine smile while we stretch.
How can you adapt to conflicting priorities?