The Over-Scheduled Woman
An advertisement in a colonial newspaper listed these qualifications for a housekeeper: “An affable, cheerful, and amiable Disposition; cleanly, industrious, perfectly qualified to direct and manage the female Concerns of country business, as raising small stock, dairying, marketing, combing, carding, spinning, knitting, sewing, pickling, preserving, etc., and occasionally to instruct two Young Ladies in those Branches of Economy.” Whew! And we think we’re busy!
The Multi-Tasking Woman
Juggling a hectic life is not new or unique to women in our culture. However, our culture glorifies the multi-tasking woman. Many times, we over-schedule our lives because we can’t say no. Sometimes we don’t want to miss out, so we try to do everything.
Moses could relate. He led Israel as a prophet, guide, intercessor, teacher, lawyer and judge. (Sound like good practice for motherhood?) In short, he was trying to be all things to the Israelites. But it was too much for him to handle by himself. Fortunately, his wise father-in-law saw that he was wearing himself out. Jethro made a great suggestion: You can’t do it alone; share the burden with trusted friends. Moses recognized good advice when he heard it, and so he acted upon it, placing capable leaders over various groups of Israelites.
Many women struggle with the “need” to please everyone. But we simply can’t be everywhere at once. We can’t do everything everyone would like us to do. We can’t even do everything we would like to do. Trying to be all things to all people puts us on the fast track to burnout. But when we delegate, we are freed up to focus on the things God has given us to do.
Delegating also creates the opportunity for another capable person to grow into a new role. The people around Moses might never have become leaders if he hadn’t given them the opportunity. It’s the same for us today. Sometimes we stay in a position because we think that we are irreplaceable. Sometimes we’re afraid no one else will do it. Maybe there’s some pride involved—we think no one else can do the work as well as we do. But failing to share the load may impede another person’s God-given potential. Sometimes the best thing we can do, for others and ourselves, is to step aside so someone else can step up.
Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”
Take Time to Reflect
1. What things do you feel God is showing you as your highest priorities? What things are distracting you from that calling?
2. Look at the capable women in your life. Can you release a responsibility to someone else and encourage her to grow in serving God?
3. What chores and responsibilities can you delegate to your children, so that they, too, may grow in learning skills and serving others?
Content adapted from the NIV Women’s Devotional Bible, which features hundreds of devotions written for women, by women. It includes guided reflections to help you apply Scripture to your daily life, and it will allow you to get to know the women of the Bible through candid portrayals, helping you to see them in both their victories and struggles.
Content in this article is taken from the NIV Women’s Devotional Bible.
Pursue a fulfilling walk with Christ, guided by the wisdom of godly women in the NIV Women’s Devotional Bible. This group of contributors includes teachers, poets, ministry leaders, homemakers, conference speakers, missionaries, and authors. It includes wives, widows, and those who never married. It includes both those who raised children and those who remained childless. Together they offer hope, guidance, and encouragement on your journey. You’ll dig deeper into the Scriptures Monday through Friday, and on the weekends, meet the women of the Bible on a more personal level.