Last week, I shared my typical pathway to burnout – not prioritizing that which is truly ESSENTIAL – restorative rest in the Lord.
But, if you’re like me, you might be so busy tending to the needs of others that you’re not even aware of your own empty cup.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” That verse is written on my screen saver at work because I often try to “muscle it” through my days. I push through weariness and keep right on going! That verse reminds me that there’s someone who wants to relieve me when I’m overwhelmed. But here’s the trick – I have to be in- tune with myself enough to know when “weary and burdened” are setting in.
Weariness can manifest itself a little differently in everyone but there are some shared experiences. Perhaps one of these experiences resonates with you…
Physical exhaustion – even after a full night of sleep, you want to go back to bed
Irritability – people and situations bother you more than usual
Short temper – you’re surprised by how quickly you lose your cool
Overstimulation – you are easily overwhelmed by certain sights or sounds.
“Waterfall” syndrome (my description) – you could cry at the drop of the hat!
So it’s important to:
1st – know your weary warning signs and
2nd – COME TO HIM.
He’s the only one who can provide RESTORATIVE REST. You get 8 hours of sleep a night?Great….But that’s not the kind of RESTORATIVE REST that will heal a weary mommy.
One of my favorite images of Motherhood comes from the mother of the evangelizer, John Wesley. Susanna Wesley raised 10 kids on a farm in the late 1600’s so we can assume she didn’t have many comfy, quiet places to go to meet with the Lord. When she needed rest, she simply threw her apron over her head and met with the Lord there! She actually trained her kids to recognize that when the apron was up, mommy was out of commission! I love that example because it normalizes this season of my life. I very rarely have an hour to retreat to a quiet place in my home, sip on coffee and fill up with Jesus! In fact, I’d say most moms with kids under the age of 5 would say 30 minutes a day without interruption would be an absolute luxury. So let’s get creative, shall we? Here’s what I suggest – if you’re noticing signs of weariness – Go into the bathroom stall at work. Or walk into your closet. Heck – flip an apron over your head if you ever wear one!
Close your eyes. Steady your breathing and pray OUT LOUD. “Father – I’m weary. I need to feel your presence. I can’t do this on my own.” Interestingly enough, brain research has shown us that when feelings like anxiety or discouragement are present, if we speak ALOUD that which we believe to be TRUE, the pre-frontal cortex (the part of our brains responsible for logic and reason) is actually EMPOWERED to get back in the driver’s seat. Fear and pain centers in our brains can actually be calmed in those moments.
Encouraging, right? “The truth shall set you free” took on a whole new meaning for me when I learned that!
It doesn’t take an hour for the Lord to begin to restore. It just takes us coming to Him and vocalizing our need.
“I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do no good thing.” John 15