Usually before I post a blog, I have my editor take a look at my work. She makes sure I am grammatically correct and then calls me on my junk. Today I’m flying solo. You’ll have to forgive me it you find “spelleng errers.”
I was working on an article that was being particularly unruly when I received the following text from a dear friend:
“Thinking of (read desperately longing) sending the kids to school. I am tired, Robin. Burnt out. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Where is this rest Jesus promised? I NEED a vacation…lasting about 10 years or so.”
CAN I GET AN AMEN? How many of us have felt this way at one time or another! Sometimes we bring it on ourselves, sometimes it’s an underestimation of our abilities, and sometimes we are plain ‘ole “guilted” into it!
Here was my response. “Don’t despair my friend. We all feel that way on occasion.” I’m sure she rolled her eyes at that! It’s the typical response of someone who has been there, but not very comforting, I suppose. Then I hit her with this: “Have you learned the art of saying ‘no’ yet?” No response for 45 minutes. Although I would like to think I am just that inspiring, I’m going to say she was probably busy.
When the response finally came, she said, “Trying. Not sure how to handle guilt trips, though.”
Guilt!!! That dratted, dreaded, wet blanketed stealer of joy! I had a very subtle and extremely spiritual response. “BLOW THEM OFF!” I suppose I really meant “Blow it off” meaning the guilt, but it could have been an unconscious slip. I get so tired of having the guilt machine fired up in ministry—especially when it comes to women. By nature we are the fixers, the problem solvers, and the “if no one else is going to step up to the plate and do it, I will!” person in the group. Well, not all of us are that way, but a good percentage of us are. This causes burn out in moms with small children, mother with teenagers, single women, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, and the list goes on and on. (I know the men have to deal with some of this as well, but this blog is not for them, remember?)
It never seems to change.
As a pastor’s wife, I’ve felt it, experienced it, and heard it on many levels. It never seems to change. Between church, home schooling, full-time jobs, babysitting, errand running, cooking, cleaning, doctoring, it’s always the same. Women everywhere are being sucked dry of their energy and hope. That is, if they give in. God is absolutely amazing. Women are extraordinary people created by Him. Multi-tasking is one of our God-given abilities. It’s a good thing too, because, if we didn’t, I think the world would come to an end.
I could be super spiritual and say, “Come aside dear sister and rest a while. Kick your shoes off, have a glass of iced tea, and read your Bible.” But I’m kind of busy now washing a load of laundry, checking dinner on the stove, helping little Tommy with his homework, filling orders for my home based business, studying for the Sunday school class I’m teaching, and making sure the dog is let out in the backyard to do his “business” before he decides to take advantage of the new carpet. Okay, so maybe we don’t have a dog, but the truth is still there. We get busy and then when someone asks us to do something, we try to gracefully say no, but instead we become mute. That muteness is mistaken for acquiescence and the next thing you know you’re driving a bus load of 3 year olds to visit the zoo with only two chaperones. (Can you spell Valium?)
We all need to recharge our batteries.
There is no need for a nervous breakdown. Why is it that we are so much older before we realize that life is too short to run ourselves ragged? Who determined that we aren’t good moms if we don’t do everything asked of us to the point of exhaustion? Where do these rules come from? I can get eight hours of sleep and still be a good mom. I can take a moment to myself and read a book for a little while without the house falling apart. I can say no when I realize that my schedule is full and I shouldn’t take on another thing.
Ladies, this is not rocket science. There are 24 hours in a day. You cannot squeeze 26 hours into 24 no matter how hard you try (unless you have a time turner or a time machine). Here is something brand new that you’ve never heard before. Are you ready? Take time for yourself. Say no when your gut tells you to say no. And when someone starts to rev up the guilt machine, excuse yourself and walk away. Contrary to what you may believe, you are not twelve people wrapped in one body. You are one person in one body and can only do so much. You need sleep, lots of water, a daily dose of chocolate, and time to do something for yourself. So, come aside, dear sister, and rest awhile. It doesn’t hurt and you might find that you enjoy it.
In the meantime, God bless and keep you all.