Have you ever seen what happens to sleep-deprived drivers? They get into accidents. The same rule applies to motherhood: tired moms are prime candidates for burnout. Have you ever been done? You know, done, as in do-your-own-laundry-and-find-your-own-food kind of done? Me too. When I’m tired, here’s what happens:
I tend to avoid reading my Bible.
My house turns into a 24/7 movie theater (aka “video babysitter”).
Homework doesn’t get done.
Laundry piles up.
The slow cooker gets dusty.
The kids don’t get disciplined (just telling the truth here, people).
School doesn’t happen.
I stop shaving my legs. And showering.
And I don’t care. About any of it. When I’m near burning out, I tend to check out. I’m guessing that if we were having a tall pumpkin spice latte together right now, you’d be high-fiving me. Why? Because we’ve all been there.
Here’s the thing: the key word in burnout is burn. Burnout happens when we focus for too long on the wrong things, such as keeping up with the Joneses or saying yes when we should say no. We have to stay on top of these little flare-ups before they turn into full-blown brush fires. And it’s not just our individual homes and families we need to be concerned about. Look around: the entire battlefield is ablaze right now. Our kids can’t afford to have moms who are burned out and checked out. They need us to be all in.
God has given this generation of moms a special challenge: to train future warriors for the spiritual battle that’s unfolding around us. God is asking today’s mothers to be strong in the midst of an incredibly powerful cultural shift away from the truth of God’s Word.
It’s an awesome responsibility, and in all honesty, it’s daunting. Christian parents have the privilege and responsibility of teaching their children what it means to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His strength. The devil knows this. He knows that if the mothers of this generation are too exhausted to fight, they’ll be tempted to give up. Tired parents have a tendency to look for ways to relieve the stress of parenting by relegating their sacred calling to pastors and teachers. Simply put, when the going gets tough, many moms are checking out.
But MomStrong moms don’t check out. They check in—all in. One hundred percent!
Being all in starts with a personal commitment to recognize Jesus Christ as our source of strength. MomStrong moms need to prioritize their relationship with the living God in the same way they prioritize every other life-giving aspect of their lives. Think about it—just one day without water leads to dehydration. Well, our souls are no different. That’s why we can’t afford to go a single day without connecting with the Lord, either through His Word or in prayer. Doing so puts us at risk for spiritual dehydration.
One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Read that again. Now one more time. (It’s okay—I’ll wait. This is important.)
The prophet is pointing us to the source of all strength: the Lord! He’s reminding us that it is the Lord who renews our strength. Do you want to run and not grow weary? Drink from the living water! We were born to thirst for our Creator. Without coming to Him daily, we’ll eventually find ourselves weary, weak, and discouraged.
It’s no wonder the enemy is working overtime to discourage and deplete moms. Think of it this way: a mom who is too tired to pray and read her Bible is no real threat to the devil. A tired mom is more likely to let the Internet parent her children. She’s apt to miss the subtle signs of a child whose heart is far from the Lord. A tired mom is less likely to spend time with God, and without filling up at the source, she runs on empty.
Trust me, I’ve been there. You start out fresh and energized. You have everything under control. You nap when Baby naps. Friends bring you premade dinners so you don’t have to cook. Mothers-in-law stop by to help with laundry. You schedule date nights with your spouse. You might even arrange a spa day for yourself every couple of weeks. After all, there’s almost always a friend or a family member who can fill in for you for the afternoon. But then one kid turns into two (or three or seven) and all of a sudden, you’re in full-on mom mode.
In a blink, your life is nothing but carpools and Crock-Pots, from the moment you wake up until you lay your head down again at night. Date nights vanish. Sitters become harder (and more expensive) to find. Laundry piles up. And before you know it, you’re eating leftover tuna casserole three days in a row and wondering when you last washed your own hair.
Let’s face it: busy doesn’t even begin to describe most moms today. We’re often too distracted to even ask God for help with our daily challenges. And Satan loves it when we’re too busy to pray.
Why? Because a mom who is too busy to seek the Lord in prayer is easy prey for the devil! Peter warns that our enemy is like a “roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8). And this lion knows exactly how to get to the heart of a weary mom and drag her into the brush. But consider this, precious mom: in the midst of all the Crock-Pots, curriculum, and carpools, God wants to be your shelter.
He wants to give you refuge from the chaos of the day. Take a drink of living water every morning, and stay in tune with the Spirit throughout the day by praying and listening for that still, small voice. Yours is an awesome responsibility, so don’t be afraid to go directly to the Lord when you need help.
Share your challenges with Him, day and night, and let Him be your shelter.
He is listening. He always will be.
Adapted from Becoming MomStrong: How to Fight with All That’s in You for Your Family and Your Faith by Heidi St. John.