When You’re Already Tired and Can’t Do One More Thing
If you have ever thought “I can’t do one more thing!” or “How does God expect me to do that?” then you will know how I have been feeling over the past several months. If you have, I hope there’s something in my experience that can be of use to you.
It was February and I was standing in my office at LDS Charities when the phone rang. The voice on the other end asked if I could come meet with President Eyring at 1:00. In my head was a very gracious reply I’m sure, but my mouth said, “Uh, today?”
In all my work as the director of LDS Charities, I don’t interact much with the First Presidency. I wasn’t even sure which office was President Eyring’s. When I arrived, he was warm and tried to put me at ease by asking about my family and background. Eventually he sat down and opened a folder and extended a call for me to be the First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. I was happy because I love Relief Society. And sad because I hated to leave all that I was doing in LDS Charities and the Church’s humanitarian efforts around the world. And then he said, “Now this is your Church calling, and we would like to ask you to keep your job as director of the humanitarian division as well.”
I think he spoke for several minutes after that, but I don’t really know, because I didn’t hear one word more after that point. My head exploded. My brain shut down. The phrase that kept running through my head was “How am I going to do that?”
I also wondered simultaneously: Who is the new president? When he told me it was Jean Bingham, I had the most amazing calm come over me. I knew Jean Bingham was serving in the General Primary Presidency. In the summer of 2016, I had asked the women’s presidencies if they would designate someone of their nine to accompany me on an LDS Charities refugee camp visit to Uganda. Eight months before, they had selected Jean Bingham. She and I were leaving on that planned trip in 48 hours. If the Lord knew eight months prior that Jean Bingham and Sharon Eubank were going to travel together and be called into Relief Society together at the exact same time, it must not be a mistake. Something about that fact gave me great courage and calmness.Sharon Eubank and Jean Bingham in Uganda. Courtesy of Mormon Newsroom.
But inside I still had a string of panic. I had three really big problems. The first one was I felt positive that if President Eyring really knew me on the inside he would not have called me to this position. If Jean Bingham spent more than a couple days with me she was going to find out all the “un-Relief Society” things about me.
The second one was I couldn’t figure out how logistically to do my job and take care of my family and fulfill this calling and not kill some part of my own spirit. I knew I didn’t have the capacity to do all that was required in those four areas, and I felt as if the seeds of my own destruction had been sown. At the least, I was going to do all of them poorly, and the chance was great that I would fail at more than one of them.
And the third one was I was already really tired.
One day I was cleaning out a drawer in my bedroom and I found this little note written in small script on the back of a tithing receipt from September 2011. As I thought back to where this came from, I dimly remembered being in a Relief Society board meeting with Sister Julie Beck.
As I read the scrap of paper in my hand I felt immediately that this yellow, crumpled scrap floated to the top of my littered drawer for a reason. The paper says—as nearly as I can make out:
“When you are with people, remember they are each filled with troubles. Lift them to a higher plane. People come to be lifted. Build. Bring comfort from the Spirit. Don’t bring new programs or duties. People need lifting.
“Remember to keep your own kingdom intact. This is your first stewardship—mother and father, brothers and sisters, children, husband, friends. These are eternal and they are given to you first.
“When you can’t give more, when you’ve gone beyond your ability to give, then sit still. Call on the Holy Ghost and angels to come to you. Be still and get full.”
I knew that this was an answer to my three problems. I didn’t have to quote the handbook and memorize the presidents from Emma Smith to Linda Burton and dress up every day in pearls and make my voice sound reverent. My job in Relief Society was simply to lift and build others.
My family, my “kingdom,” was still my most important stewardship. I had to make sure it didn’t fall by the wayside while I was off being the General Relief Society Counselor.
And finally, perhaps most importantly, if I was too tired and couldn’t see a way to juggle a calling and a job and a family and myself, I could call upon the Holy Ghost and angels to help me. The Lord would open a path or show me what not to do.
He did just that. I have found answers to all three of those problems. And you can too. That little formula scribbled on the back of a tithing slip was revelation to me and brought the relief I needed in new, fresh ways.
God didn’t forget me in my problems, and as you pray for answers to yours, He won’t forget you either.
This is from Sister Eubank’s address “Relief Society—Divinely Ordained of God,” delivered at BYU Women’s Conference on May 5, 2017.