MCD Partners

Memphis Daily News
From Exhaustion to Endurance
June 23, 2016
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald

Not long ago, while waiting in line at the grocery store, I overheard a very weary-looking young father with a baby in his arms and two toddlers sitting in the shopping cart say to the clerk, “My wife is sick, the kids are sick, the baby was up all night, and work is piling up on my desk. I feel like I’m 60.”

I looked at him and thought, “No, you feel like you are 30-something with a family to raise and a thousand bells to answer. If you were sixty you would have gotten a good night’s sleep, wondered if your grandchildren’s colds were better, and your work would be piling up on someone else’s desk.”

Survival has its rewards. But when you are in the midst of the storm, it is sometimes difficult to even imagine that any calm will follow. It will. Just hold on.

The incident reminded me of a time in my life when I was where that young father is. I had children who were sick and had been up all night. I had work piled up on my desk. I had overextended my obligations to church and civic groups.

It was 2 in the morning and I was baking cupcakes for what seemed, at the time, like a very important event. As I stood at the kitchen counter icing the cupcakes, I found myself thinking wistfully about the last real rest I had. It was when I was under anesthesia having surgery.

As strange as it seems, in my exhaustion, came insight. I needed to immerse myself in some downtime, to rest and pray, to pace myself, even a little, so that I would be programmed for endurance.

If you are always consumed by the things you are doing, then you will lose sight of the person you are becoming. And who you are, not what you do, is what endures.

It takes the grace of God to recognize and treasure the time you have, even when times are tedious and difficult. To remain faithful to the day-to-day is all you are really called to do.

When you try to please everyone, you please no one, including yourself. When you try to accomplish everything, you accomplish nothing. When you neglect your own needs, you eventually lack the moral and physical stamina you need to become the person God intends you to be. You cannot give what you do not have.

What is it that you need in order to meet the challenge of faithfulness to do what you are called to do? Perhaps you need to rest and pray. If you find this solution impossible to do, then you may need to do it more than you realize.

In the meantime, you can ease the overburdened lifestyle with sensitivity to each other’s weariness by offering encouragement, understanding and hope, and by being wise enough to unburden yourself of your own weariness, so that you have the endurance you need for life’s long-distance journey.

Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit

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