by Katie M. Reid
The cool concrete at my back contrasted the fiery heat that burned within as my heart raced and head spun. This driven, to-list making, dependable woman had met her match. Even though I had prepared well and worked diligently toward the goal, I was backed up against a pressing work deadline. The remaining tasks ahead required more mental and emotional energy than I could muster. I felt crushed under that which was left undone.
“God, I need your help. I can’t do this on my own.”
I could almost hear His response delivered with a knowing smile, “I thought you’d never ask. Now we can get somewhere.”
The deadlines did not disappear, but it became clear that I needed to ask a co-worker for help with several of the tasks. I hesitated at first, but then I asked, she said yes, and there was room to catch my breath.
Whether you are facing a looming work project, navigating caregiving demands, or trying to plan a vacation that will provide some breathing room, here are three secrets that can help you double your strength instead of divide it.
The disciples were at a loss, not knowing how to stretch their resources for the impossible task of feeding the thousands of people gathered to listen to Jesus teach. They assessed the situation and came up short. But Jesus, looking up to heaven, gave thanks and broke the bread they had retrieved. The need at hand was met with the supernatural capability of God.
The bread was divided and multiplication was the result—with leftovers even (see Luke 9:10-17).
You may feel like what you have to offer a task, situation, or a relationship seems lacking and meager, even laughable, but, like in this story from Luke, Jesus transformed a boy’s small lunch and made it enough to sustain all those gathered ‘round. He can do the same for you.
Collaboration is a key to increasing our capacity and multiplying our efforts. First, by going to God with our need—our lack, our issue—then working alongside others to carry out our sacred assignments.
Sometimes strong, capable women have difficulty asking for help (raising hand). It might be “easier” to do it ourselves, but we cannot do it all.
When I started writing more, I had to delegate some household tasks in order to free up time to write. At first, I had to resist the urge to reload the dishwasher after my darlings loaded it “creatively.” But as I stepped back, they stepped up and the load was lifted (literally and figuratively) as they learned to take responsibility for more.
Asking for help is humbling, but there is wisdom in admitting our need. When we delegate, it makes room for others to learn new skills and grow in leadership.
Collaboration includes others in the equation as we work together toward a solution. Delegation entrusts responsibility to others in order to lighten the load. Innovation taps into both of these while offering a creative solution to a stressful situation.
Instead of operating like we are islands, left in isolation to fend for ourselves, what if we get creative and lend our gifting or swap services with one another?
Imagine company is coming over soon but you need several hours to clean in order to get ready. What if you ask a friend to come over so you can tackle the task together? Or what if she cleans while you cook, making extra for her to take home as a thank you?
Innovation sees the obstacle in front of you as an opportunity to get creative.
We often try to be all and do all, wearing ourselves out in the process. But God has given us Himself and one another to work together toward that which we have been entrusted with.
Whether with work demands, ministry obstacles, or feeding what feels like thousands of people, we can double our strength, instead of divide it through collaboration, delegation, and innovation—with leftovers even.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)
Katie M. Reid is the author of Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done, A Very Bavarian Christmas, and podcast co-host of The Martha + Mary Show and A Remarkable Thought. Katie helps women exchange try-hard striving for hope-filled freedom. She coaches creatives through the Ministry to Business Guide and Huddle. Connect with Katie and learn more about her resources and coaching services at katiemreid.com.