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Last week was a week where one word seemed to be the theme of the week, demanding. It started with a family crisis I had to intervene on and moved into babysitting four demanding and complaining children. We set limits, took away screens, played games with the kids, talked through their feelings, disciplined them and prepared them for bed. We dropped into bed exhausted at the end of the evening. But the demands of the week continued. Work was filled with the demands of caring for people and situations. It was my long workday, my one very late night. When I arrived home I was greeted with the fact that the man working on our home renovations was demanding more money again even though I had paid him a significant sum not too long before. I was exhausted and worn out and not feeling good. I would have to deal with him on a different day. It was time for me to relax and sleep but that night my asthma was bad. I'd been fighting it for weeks. My coughing was terrible but that night it was all I could do to breathe so I slept fitfully. In the morning, I took my daughter to work and finally searched through our cupboards for the emergency steroids my doctor had prescribed months before. I knew it was either call to see my doctor again or take the medication. If something didn't change I'd be in the emergency room again. So I took the medicine and the supplements I'd also been taking to help. Relief finally came and I rested for a while before preparing for work. I could finally sleep! The renovation issue would have to wait. First I had to take care of myself. Text messages kept coming to me while I was at work that day. They were messages from the man renovating our home and I ignored them. Later that evening I got, "Are you getting my texts?" And then finally, "Hello!" Why couldn't he just give me a break for a bit? Demanding. Yes, that was a good word for my week and I'd had it. But I finally picked up my phone and texted back an apology, telling him I hadn't been feeling good and that I could not cough up that kind of money every week or so as I had my own bills to pay. Then I explained my frustration with the project and what should not have happened. Thankfully he discounted some of the cost but still demanded money the next day. I set my alarm for early the next morning and wrote a check for seventy percent of the money the man asked for and headed off to work.

I have confronted demanding people for years but I am learning to set limits with these people. I realize that I don't have to bend to every demand these people make. There must be time for self care. Time to do what I need to do as well or these people will simply wear me down.

Maybe you too struggle with demanding people and setting healthy limits. Has a boss asked like one of my daughter's bosses did this week for you to work an extra shift to cover for someone and even though it is a valid need you know that doing so will mean they will just ask you to do it again when you've already told them you don't work that day. Or maybe you are asked to help even though your schedule is really busy and you just can't but they still twist your arm into helping. Demands are everywhere. May God help us have wisdom to handle these situations diplomatically. Kindness is good but we do not have to be a rug that is trampled on either. My prayer is that God will help us have a healthy balance of helping others when we can and setting limits when we can't.

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