When You Feel Like You’re Holding It All Together
“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.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”bVN6G” via=”no” ]”The truth is no amount of glue on the outside will fix what only God can do on the inside.”[/ctt]
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.
So many times I feel like I have to hold it all together… and truth is we were never meant to. Jesus is what holds it all together. Thanks for the reminder!
So true! Thanks Jessica!
Great post, Laura!
I’m holding it together in another way – I’ve got pancreatic cancer, lymphoma, and now metastases into the bones. I’m in a world of hurt.
But I’ve got to be the hard man, strong and upbeat for my wife and friends. I’ve got to have a wisecrack for every symptom, a joke for every humiliation (I have a good fund of incontinence humour), and an unwaveringly positive outlook.
When World War Three comes and the planet’s turned into a glowing parking lot, the only survivours will be cockroaches…and me.
Out here, up the blue where the heat-haze hides a horrible death, I’m at home.
Wow this post really spoke to me today! I’m a full-time mental health therapist, blogger, and the sole income-provider for our family so my husband can be homeschool daddy. (Definitely God’s vision for him and not at all what he planned!) So, yes, sometimes it’s exhausting. I try to work on these three tips daily – sometimes with greater success than others.
Me too Melissa. Some days are more successful than others. Thanks for your comment! ☺
I love this, Laura. Such a great view of “being the glue” but needing to rely on the Lord Jesus.
Thank you Amy. I like how you said that – “being the glue” but needing to rely on Jesus. Amen!
I heard that sometimes the clay pots were cracked in Bible days and they used a mixture with lamb’s blood to seal it, sounds familiar doesn’t it. Jesus is our glue.
Rebecca, I’ve never heard that, but I like it! Wow, what a great visual!! Thank you. ?
Thanks for these thoughts, Laura! Feeling like the glue can get sticky (haha.) I’m thankful God is the Ine who ultimately holds all things together and that He helps us with our responsibilities!
Me too! Thanks Bethany!
I really needed this today. Thank you!
Thanks Sherry! ?
Thanks for this post, Laura. It really does get exhausting trying to hold it all together on your own. Blessings to you.
And to you! Thanks Boma!
Amen, Laura! It’s so easy to believe we have to do it all and it’s exhausting. Your three steps are so important for staying healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually! Blessings!
Thanks Deb! ?
Sometimes its good to hear that I’m not the only one struggling or feeling a certain way. Thanks for the encouragement and reminders to rely on God and not my own willpower!
Thanks Jenny! ?
Laura, I love this! I really need to practice more self-care, which is really hard for me! Thank God that his glue is what will keep me held together! Thanks for this encouragement!