Looking Back, Growing Forward

When I first offered the Buried in Treasures Workshop in May 2012, I had a shortsighted view of what we were doing. My goal initially was to educate myself on hoarding behaviors and learn to help my mother. I fell into the group process accidentally--because the structure for help was a group format, and because as I tried to make sense of my life in relation to my mother's hoarding behaviors I had gone public. I became the most accessible point of hoarding information in Spokane.

My focus was on the "now," and did not extend beyond the 20 weeks it would take to hold the workshop by much. I knew I needed to make ongoing, long-term support after the workshop available but my vision into the future didn't extend very far.
(Borrowed from the Internet, original source unknown)

Planning for another workshop offering began shortly after the first workshop ended, however. Yet, my planning for the future remained shortsighted. I knew that I wanted to find someone to help me with the workshops and ongoing maintenance, but I didn't understand how important it would be to the long-term structure.

Fortunately, I'm in good company. Many great leaders either fail to recognize their limits or simply never stop to evaluate them. In my quiet time today, I was reading in Exodus 18 about Jethro (Moses' FIL) and his advice to Moses.

Moses had led the Israelites out of their slavery under the heavy hand of Pharoah, and into the wilderness of Sin (the word "Sin" here refers to Sinai, not to sin as in separation from God). The number of the Israelites had grown immensely during their time in Egypt from Joseph and his brothers to an estimated 600,000 men (plus women and children). Moses, with his brother Aaron, was responsible for guiding and advising more than 1 million Israelites!

When Jethro arrived, he watched Moses as he led and interacted with the people. He saw his son-in-law sitting for hours, hearing testimony from the people and acting as a judge for the whole nation! Probably concerned for his daughter and grandsons as well as for Moses, Jethro speaks with wisdom and authority:
“You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself." --Exodus 18:18 NLT
Jethro realizes that although Moses has been called and separate for this special role, Moses has not looked very far ahead. Moses is taking care of the necessities of today without considering the needs of the future. Moses has reluctantly risen to the challenge, to the call God has placed upon his life, of leading the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Promised Land but has not spent time looking at the nation's need for leadership. Moses is too focused on the immediate pressing needs--food and water--and has forgotten to consider the leadership needs of a nation coming out of slavery and wandering without a governing body.

As I read this passage, I realize that I am in a similar place. Our groups have grown. We've had eight separate workshops, and we continue to support each previous workshop group through the maintenance program. Between the workshops and private clients, my reach has grown to more than 50 individuals! Yet I don't have the ability to continue growing the program and offering support to this ever-growing body of individuals who are looking to us to guide, encourage, and support them through the lasting change of recovery from hoarding. Our staff must grow to meet the needs of our participants.

Just as God placed Jethro in Moses' path as he faced growing burdens with the nation of Israel, so I have had this piece of scripture inserted into my path. In this moment, I am reminded of the wisdom to look ahead and plan for the future. I am presented with a structure for choosing those who will help as we continue to grow. Ultimately, I am seeing how relevant God's word still is today for every part of our life.

I am grateful for the Jethro moment today, for the wisdom and admonition of those who know better than I. I will humbly accept their input, test it out through God's Holy Spirit, and integrate it with our planning for the future of Lightening the Load!


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