The Straw That Broke the Camel's Back

The straw that broke the camel's back?  What a strange adage, and yet after the past few weeks, I totally get it.

Jason's work has slowed down to a mere crawl, meaning very little pay.  -- Straw!

To make up for the decreased pay, I've had to set aside my writing projects and focus on writing articles. -- Straw!

Despite numerous baths, sprays, lotions and other treatments, both of my dogs have a severe case of fleas. -- Straw!

In addition to the fleas, we recently discovered that Tippy has internal worms. -- Straw!

I told a friend I would have the editing done on her book by the end of July.  It is now well into August, and I'm still not done. -- Straw!

A lady at church walked up to me and kindly inquired if I was tired because I certainly looked it.  -- Straw!

I'm scheduled to teach a class that starts in a little over a week, and the only preparation I've been able to do is to create the class schedule. -- Straw!

My bursitis decided to flair up with a vengeance. -- LAST STRAW!!!!!

Yep, that was it--the straw that broke the camel's back.  I couldn't take anymore.  I didn't have time for my bursitis to flair up.  I didn't have the strength or energy to contend with the pain and discomfort.  And above all, I was in no mood to fight another losing battle.  A point which I made quite evident when I had my emotional breakdown.  I'm not talking about a few tears.  I'm talking about heart-wrenching, stomach-clenching, can't-catch-my-breath sobs.  Enough was enough.  My physical pain collided with my stress and fatigue, and the result was not pretty!

Jason tried to be patient with me, but I could tell it was a struggle for him.  "I just don't understand," he said.  "You are a bright young lady.  You are sensible and wise.  You know the Bible.  You've been through this same battle over and over again, and we've had this same discussion I don't know how many times.  How can you keep ending up in this same place?"

It was a fair question.  I only wish I had had a good answer, but at the time, I couldn't come up with one.  Fortunately, God provided one during the preacher's message on Sunday.

The pastor preached from I Kings 19 which tells the story of Elijah's flight from Jezebel after his great victory on Mount Carmel. Elijah should have been on an emotional and spiritual high, yet we find him hiding out and pleading with the Lord to end his life.  Want to see a pity party, turn to I Kings 19 and read it for yourself.  Our pastor pointed out the confusing behavior, then made this statement, "Sometimes, when we get our eyes off of God and on our circumstances, things become very confusing."

As soon as he said that, everything clicked.  That's exactly how I had felt.  I was confused.  My head and my heart were at war with one another. There was a great battle raging between what I knew and how I felt.  As the pastor continued his message, I could only nod my head and allow the tears to streak down my face.  Why?  Because God's message for Elijah is the same message He has for me:  God is not through with me yet.  He still has things for me to do.  Even though I've failed Him.  Even though I keep fighting the same battle over and over again.  God still wants to use me.  Amazing grace!

How's your camel doing today?  Do you feel burdened under the weight of life's circumstances?  Can you feel yourself nearing the breaking point?  If so, I beg of you, look to God.  Take your eyes off of yourself and your surroundings and turn them to the Problem Solver.  Recite His promises.  Read about His miracles.  Do whatever it takes to draw your mind to Him and away from the "straws" of this life. 

Avoid the confusion. . . and the emotional breakdown.  Your sinuses will thank you!

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:1-2