mindspike wrote: I'm the primary caregiver for both of my children. I must see to their needs, to the running of the household, to the needs of my wife (whose weekly 50 hour job is a significantly larger income than my own), all while trying to run a business. I am constantly overwhelmed, and (right or wrong) feel like the people most important to me constantly take and never give. Some time spent in prayer and reflection let me realize how blessed I am to have a family that doesn't hate each other and friends who make significant personal sacrifices to spend their time with me.
When I focus on myself, I am sorely tempted to wallow in self-pity and cultivate an unwarranted sense of entitlement. With my focus on the Lord and His provision, it puts things more clearly in perspective and I find He does indeed renew my strength.
Mindspike, quit publishing entries from my diary!
Rickster, I would echo what Mindspike said, and add something from my own experience.
I remember when I was leading worship at our church, and leading the ministry and its people through a very difficult transition. I regularly met with people who disliked and criticized what I was doing and attempted to poison others against the direction the church was going (which I served as the "front man" for).
As time passed, it became emotionally brutal. I started several days by closing my office door, sitting under my desk and crying.
But I also discovered God's unusual grace when I turned to him in worship during those times of desperate pain and pleading. When I stopped relying on my own strength and just accepted my weakness, completely broken before God, I gained an awareness of the fact that I didn't NEED to be strong, or liked or appreciated. I was still involved in carrying out God's plan, and his plan cannot be thwarted.
A few months after some of the worst of my pain, I had stepped down from the position of worship pastor to start Spirit Blade Productions. Looking back on the pain of those months, still fresh in my mind, I wrote the first song for Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual... Necromancy. It included these lyrics:So let them use me and brutalize me. Let them strip me down and destroy me. Let them mock me. Let them hate me. Let them kill me... you will restore me.
Hang in there, Rickster. For a season you may be broken. But Yahweh is with you in the pain and he will restore you.