Mantles vs. Burdens

In our staff meeting last week, while listening to a message, the Lord interrupted my thoughts and asked me a gently convicting question:

”My sweet daughter, in each area of your life, are you carrying your burdens or My mantle?” 

A life full of ministry, marriage, motherhood, home keeping, and the ever present longing to pursue the passions in my heart, at times can weigh me down….so this question stirred in me.

The Bible addresses both types of loads and though vastly different, they can be easily mistaken.

Mantles are mandates that God lays upon us to accomplish a specific purpose. With this, comes an anointing from the Holy Spirit to equip us and a grace from God to sustain us. Mantles may exhaust us each day, but they don’t weigh us down because they are a gift from God. (1 Kings 19:19, 2 Kings 2:13)

Burdens, on the other hand, we take on ourselves and carry through our day with all the emotional, physical, and mental toil that add to it. These stresses were never meant for us to hold. Jesus challenges us to give these burdens to Him and trade them for a yoke that is easy and a much lighter burden. In our exchange, we will find rest for our weary souls. (Matthew 11:28-30)

My girls started summer camp this week and the night before their first day they packed their bags. They filled them to the brim with toys and activities to play, lunch and snacks to enjoy, and a blanket and pillow to rest. These bags which were used all school year to carry books and binders, notepads and pencil cases, were now tearing at the seams stuffed with their favorite things. I asked with concern if they would be too heavy and offered to remove items, but they were too excited about the adventure they were about to embark upon in this season to worry about the weight on their backs. All these items they deemed necessary for the day. It’s not a burden to them, it’s a joy.

I am beginning to reflect on this in my own life. In this season, what is “in my bag”? What has God filled it with and what have I added as extra weight that didn’t come from Him. What do I need to unpack or leave behind? What is unnecessary and overwhelming?

Your Turn: In life, what is the mantle God has laid upon you and what burdens have you added? 

Make Time for People

We have a role that is task driven and it can be natural to put our heads to the keyboard and not look up from 9-5... but we are in the business of serving people. So even though we are responsible for the leg work to move things forward, it is so important that along the way, we don't trample the people that are in our way. 

This week I want to encourage you to make time for others. Walk around the office and ask your coworkers about their days, life, and families. Take a ten minute starbucks run with someone you have been wanting to get to know better. If you are grabbing a quick lunch, ask another assistant to make the run with you. Bring others along for the journey.

Assisting can be isolating. You are the vault of the company and often you can forget that although there is much you can't divulge, your life is not an island. Enjoy this adventure with others.

Your turn: What is a way that you intentionally make time for people? 


Remembering It All

One of the most challenging responsibilities for an assistant is remembering it all. Each day we are told through hallway conversations, text messages, emails, and phone calls about details we need to remember, follow up on, or complete by any given date. Some of these tasks are due that day, others in six months, and even others are simply to just “file away for later”. Hilariously, a close friend and former assistant used to keep a file in her cabinet called “Stuff I was Told to Hold on to”.

New assistants ask me how I remember all the things I am told each day (unfortunately, I don’t and still am learning new ways to make sure I don’t forget). We all have to figure out the best system for us, but here are some routines and resources that have really helped me along the way:

  • I carry my phone with me everywhere, so if I have a hallway conversation, I don’t even expect to remember by the time I get back to my desk. Instead, I add a note in my Google Tasks app so I can check it off when I get to it.

  • If I receive a text, and it’s…

    • something I need to do, I will copy and paste it to my Google tasks

    • something I need to follow up with someone else on, I will either copy and text that person immediately, or email to myself to take care of when I can give it my full attention

  • If it’s an email that I need to get more details about before responding, I will print it for when I get to meet with my boss OR I will flag it to go over later

  • If I am given a paper invitation, I will add the date to the calendar (with a week out alarm), RSVP, and order a gift right away, and then put in my tickler file to review the day before.

  • Any receipts I get, I put in a red folder to reconcile on the 2nd of the month.

  • Any papers for my boss, I put in a blue folder that I bring in to our meetings to review.

  • I keep a notepad at my desk when I am overwhelmed to jot down notes that randomly come to mind but I don’t have the minute to address.

Recently I have started trying to do these two things at the end of each day, which have been game changers for my forgetfulness:

  • I review all the text conversations I have had (Apple, please make an “unread” option in your iPhone texts!) that day to make sure there wasn’t anything that I overlooked.

  • I have a 10 minute mind unload when I review the day and conversations I had, asking the Holy Spirit to bring to mind anything I forgot to complete. It is amazing what a kind and gentle helper He is in my weakness.

This is not a full proof system, but it has helped me greatly in remembering everything that comes my way throughout each day.

Your Turn: What ideas and resources do you use to help you remember it all?