“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
All six of my school-aged children started school this year and Friends, as much as I miss my Little Buggers, I am relishing in the peace and quiet that I get to experience. All. Day. Long.
But, not too long ago, I was bombarded by mountains of laundry, stacks of dishes, dirty floors, crying babies, tantrum throwing toddlers and hormonal, rebellious (Praise God not too rebellious!) teenagers. I was also right smack in the middle of going through the darkest part of my life (you can read my testimony here).
I truly never thought the day would come that I would be delivered from feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and defeated. I thought for sure I was going to live forever in perpetual exhaustion.
When I was a brand new Christian, I used to think that Jesus would just take all this exhaustion away. That if I prayed long enough, hard enough, He would wave His mighty hand and poof, it would be gone.
But, it doesn’t really work that way.
Jesus was teaching me to lean on Him, to come to Him and let Him be my strength because He knew, I couldn’t do it on my own. And my Friend, you can’t either.
Jesus was preparing me for the future and transforming my heart so that in later years when an overwhelmed and exhausted mother came to me and expressed how they just couldn’t do it anymore, I could have compassion, and understanding.
I’ve been a Mama now for over 21 years and Jesus has taught me that there really is only two things that I need to do in order to stop living in perpetual exhaustion.
Encouragement For Moms Who Are Perpetually Overwhelmed
Prioritize your time
It’s not really as hard as it sounds. The “term” prioritize used to send me into a panic because to me, everything was a priority. I had to learn that I really just needed to pair it all down.
- My relationship with Jesus is absolutely number one, but it wasn’t always that way. Making sure that I’m spending quiet time with Him each day has to be number one. When I look back on the years that my life was a disaster, it was always because Jesus was not first. If you are struggling, checking to be sure that you are spending time in quiet prayer, reading Jesus’ Word and listening to what He is telling you through His word will be a huge comfort for you. It may also help for you to copy the scriptures that He is laying on your heart onto 3×5 index cards and keep them with you throughout the day.
- My relationship with my husband has not always been amazing, fantastic and wonderful. In fact, it is one area that I strive daily to keep going strong. The fact that my marriage was so unstable for many, many years is why I started the 8 Weeks Of Blessing Your Husband Challenge in the first place. I have not always been a blessing to my husband nor have I always made sure he knew that he was a blessing to me. There are so many different aspects that go in to creating a happy, Christ-centered marriage, but making sure that your husband knows that he is important and a true blessing to your life is a great place to start.
- Loving on your children is so much more important than folding that huge pile of clothes. If I had worried more about shaping my children’s hearts than keeping my home spotless, I would have enjoyed the early years of motherhood so much more. It is absolutely okay to have mac and cheese for the third time this week, as long as you are all sitting around the table, chatting about your day and enjoying one another’s company. It is absolutely okay that you cuddled on the couch with your 2-year-old, 5-year-old, 10-year-old or 15-year-old and watched a movie or took a nap instead of doing the dishes.
- Everything else falls into this category. Nurturing and growing your relationship with Jesus, your husband and your children has to come before anything else in your life. As Christian women we tend to fall to the pressure of keeping up with the Proverbs 31 Woman, but we are forgetting that Jesus has not commanded us to have Pinterest cleaned homes and meals on the table everyone night. No, He has called us to simply love.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
Minimize your stress
Ladies, I get it! There are just some types of stress that we can’t rid ourselves of. The mortgage being overdue and your husband being out of work is not what I’m talking about here.
Many of us tend to over-commit and over-extend ourselves to the point of absolute breakage. Insert me raising my hand here. We think we HAVE to be super wives and super moms. We think we have to make all our meals, bread and desserts homemade in order to be classified as a good mom. We think we have to home-school our children like all the other Christian moms in our Facebook group. We think we have to work full-time, keep our homes company ready, prepare Pinterest perfect meals that are made with organically grown veggies and grass-fed beef in order to be a good mom. We take on the PTO/PTA, the children’s program at church, and sign up our children for every extracurricular activity we can find and most of the time all we are getting from that is sheer exhaustion.
I was talking with an overwhelmed and exhausted mama the other day. She sounded very much like I did just a few years ago. She, like me, was looking for someone to throw her a life-preserver so she could keep her head above the water. I think it’s fair to say that we have ALL felt that way at one time or another throughout our years of motherhood. I know I certainly have, and the one thing that I learned that is more valuable to me than anything else, is whenever I am feeling like enough is enough, it’s because I’ve taken on something(s) that have not been given to me from God.
Take a look at your priorities above and then start cutting out anything that doesn’t encourage those priorities. Cut out anything that isn’t allowing you to put Jesus first or gets in the way of you having an amazing relationship with your husband. Get rid of all, if not most of the activities that don’t allow you to nurture your children’s hearts.
It is absolutely okay to only sign your child up for soccer and not football. You aren’t a terrible mother if you don’t home school your children. It is not the end of the world if you resign as head of the PTO and go out to dinner with your husband instead. God does not care about Pinterest perfect meals and most likely, your family doesn’t either.