What's a weary mom to do when she wants to honor Yahweh, her Creator, and save her sanity?
Here are five things I try to remember to incorporate to my day to avoid further burnout., and monster mommy/wife to come out:
1) Go back to basics.
In our housekeeping: We love our husbands, We love our children. Remember the excitement you felt as a newlywed? The anticipation of having your child in your arms? That love and joy can often be buried under loads of laundry, and dirty floors. But we can so easily dust it off again if we can focus on what matters to us most. A few years from now, would we regret cleaning the floor tonight? Probably not. But we would certainly regret focusing on it to the point of being resentful. Let's love our families. Let's love serving them, and take nothing for granted.
In our spiritual growth: We don't need gimmicks, and all sorts of self-help Christian books to fill out bookshelves to get it together. We need more time in the Word of God. We need to study as we were commanded to do. With the vast amount of resources to study from these days, there is absolutely no excuse for perishing for lack of knowledge. Be like the Bereans in the book of Acts. Test everything that you hear. Your pastor might be charming, and sincere to the best of his knowledge, but perfect, he is not. This is too important to leave to someone else's interpretation alone. Read. Study. Fellowship. Grow. We can't keep looking for the next big thing in bible study; just study.
2) Make time for yourself.
Fellowship: The body of believers are the church, not the building we attend. You can have fellowship at home, or anywhere you choose. It seems like a simple, common sense thought, yet we often neglect it. This is something we ought to make time for, not try to find the time for.
Develop your talent/hobby: Being able to focus on something we enjoy doing helps put our minds at ease. Much of the emotional burden we may sometimes carry is only heavy due to physical burnout, or a skewed perspective. Concentrating on something we enjoy causes us to de-stress. Stress causes our bodies to be flooded by hormones, such as cortisol, and can lead to chronic conditions, such as depression, hypertension, and aggravated asthma, insomnia, and anxiety, among other things.
Spending time knitting, crocheting, drawing, or on any craft or activity we enjoy causes our bodies, and minds to be soothed due to the fine motor skills and repetitive patterns required.
We may go long periods of time without them, but picking up our hobbies, and developing our talents would be a great addition to or schedules.
3) Limit screen time.
We all know the stress the "fear of missing out" can bring. We all have experienced the stress of wanting to respond to messages as soon as possible. Too much time in front of a screen has been linked to added stress, and I'm sure we can agree that it is unnecessary stress. We lived just fine without it a few short years ago. If it helps to set a scheduled time for certain things, go for it.
We must try to not set ourselves up for disaster. For example, does it not irritate us when we can't seem to finish reading or replying to something because someone absolutely needs a drink or help with something? If we already know it's not a good time for it, then the wisest thing to do would be to stay away from it. We can have routines, and check our emails, and messages at certain times throughout the day. instead of every few minutes. Yes. We. Can. Do. It.
Besides, one of the unfortunate consequences of too much social media is comparison. We have a false idea that others lead the lives we want for ourselves. This is simply not true. Embrace the life you were given, and do your best while abiding in God.
4) Get alone with nature.
Being a spectator of God's creation makes me feel closer to Him. It also allows me time to think, pray, and do a self-evaluation. I especially enjoy the rain, but can find peace, and joy just staring at the sky. Even if you can't find time to yourself when you do this, you can still reap the benefits. Go out with the kids, and let them play while you soak in the sun, and admire the beauty of God's creation.
Do you take your Sabbath day of rest? Since I started setting it apart in my personal life, I have felt much better during the rest of the week. Knowing that on that day I will cease from normal duties takes away most of the stress involved in it. I made up my mind that it was a day free from those obligations, and allowed my mind to rest. from them.
Even during the week, if possible, we can carve out just a few minutes of total rest. What works best for you?
Perhaps during nap time?
After lunch when the kids go out to play?
A quick few minutes in the bathroom?
Would waking up early work better?
If we can be intentionally leading our thoughts, aligning them with the Word of God, and refusing to let them be infiltrated by our worries during those moments when we seek rest, we will notice a significant difference in our stress levels, and attitudes.
Make up your mind that you will not entertain nerve-racking, tense thoughts during this time period you allow yourself. It can be done! And the more we do it, the more joy we will find in the work we do for our homes. We will remember the love with which we serve, the love of our first ministry in the home.
We have a lot of similarities in the ways we run our homes, our priorities, and goals. Yet, we are all still beautifully different, and must find the things that work for us, making sure they are God-honoring, and serve our families well.
A happy mom makes for a happy home; a safe haven for our loved ones; a place where peace can be sought, away from the chaos of the world. Let's not allow the chaos in our minds to take that away. Take them captive with the Word of Yahweh.
You are loved, mama. Your work matters more than you realize, and you are enough.