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I never really understood the sacrifice my mother made over the years until I became a mom. The first year as a young mom can be a straight up culture shock, as you adjust to life as a 24/7 caregiver. You are happy to serve, to care for this completely helpless young life, but at times it can seem like you are walking around in a fog and half of you is missing.
Your lack of sleep, and the stress of the daily learning curve and new routine, can affect your motivation, and mental and emotional energy. Sometimes all you want to do is veg out in front of the tv and make it through another day.
Yes, a new baby throws your sleep cycle ( no sleep is more accurate) to the curb and to survive, as you adjust to being a new mom, self-care doesn’t even make the priority list. But what should be a temporary season, can quickly bleed over into an unhealthy pattern that sets the tone for how you operate as an individual, and as a mom for the rest of your life.
New baby, new job, multiple kids, projects at work, home repairs, playdates and soccer there will be something to give you a reason to live your life running from emergency to emergency. You tell yourself, I’ll take care of myself later until you are utterly too tired and worn out to keep all those plates in the air.
We will be talking today about 5 Practical ways (plus 3 bonus tools) to replenish your body and soul and prevent burnout.
Silence and Solitude
Time with Jesus
In Matthew 11:28-30 it says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
What would it look like to get away with God? What would it feel like to take a real rest? Jesus said that he will teach us how-to walk-through life’s rhythms with grace, stepping freely and lightly. The Father says he won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on us.
So why do we think that it’s okay, to burn the candle at both ends,
playing martyrs to our own expectations of motherhood?
What would it feel like to truly operate in the world, out of a place of grace?
Tish Harrison Warren, in her book, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in the Everyday Life says it this way, “Similarly, when we denigrate our bodies—whether through neglect or staring at our faces and counting up our flaws—we are belittling a sacred site, a worship space more wonderous than the most glorious, ancient cathedral. We are standing before the Grand Canyon or the Sistine Chapel and rolling our eyes.”
We are God’s precious creation, his beloved, his chosen, his adopted child and he is asking us to take his hand and step into a life of grace, living freely and lightly, will you join me?
Here are the 8 practical steps:
1. Date Yourself
Take time to invest in the things that bring you joy. That could mean carving out time to craft, go to a coffee shop, experiment with different recipes in the kitchen, get a massage, or go to a movie. It is about taking the time to recharge your batteries. Set aside the pressure to be productive. Invite God’s presence into your time and enjoy yourself; explore, create, wonder, and delight in whatever and however, you have chosen to spend your time.
- Silence and Solitude
This is a hard idea for most people as we are a society that doesn’t know how to be alone with our thoughts. We are so used to being tethered to our smartphones that taking the time to get away without constantly checking in can feel foreign.
However, revisiting Matthew 11:28-29, God calls us to, “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.”
God is calling to us to get away with him. To set aside distractions and just be in his presence. This is a tool that extraverts or introverts can fit easily into the rhythms of our lives.
Practice silence and solitude in the shower, during a walk, over your lunch hour, while your child is napping, in the early morning, or late at night before you go to bed. Invite God’s presence into your time, and focus your thoughts on him, just being in his presence with no demands. Start spending time in the silence with Jesus for 5 minutes (blanket and a cup of coffee optional).
Go grab a coffee with one of your close friends. You were never meant to walk through life alone but in community with others. You need friends and family who care about you to come alongside and help shoulder life’s burdens.
You need to be able to share your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment knowing you will be met with love and encouragement.
We need each other.
If you don’t have a community of close friends, I would encourage you to check out a small group your local church, where you can be known and know others.
There are tons of studies that tell us that the average adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you are at a stage in life, where that suggestion is more dream than reality (trust me, been there, done that) try twenty-minute power naps. It gives you the energy you need without making you feel like you got hit by two by four.
Take a nap, your to-do list will still be there. Remember, you are giving the gift of a rested mom to your family.
Time alone with your spouse cannot be forgotten. The ability to have adult conversations, without having to operate as a parent, allows you to reconnect with your spouse on a deep level. Your spouse (next to God) is the most important relationship in your life. Your husband will be there long after the kids move out of the house.
Go play a sport, explore a new part of your city, or go for a walk. If you are unable to get away, put the kids to bed, and go sit outside (it will feed the illusion you are a million miles away).
A 30-minute walk to clear our heads can make a world of difference. Not only is it good for our overall health, but it helps to remove tension and it allows you to sleep better at nights. Find an activity you love to do, and plan to get out of the house, 3-4 times a week, and burn that stress!
Take 10 minutes and look at your schedule. Ask yourself, what activities bring you joy? What activities feel like you are pushing a boulder uphill? Do you have room to breathe, is there margin in your life? Or are you running from one activity to the next? Is there an dominate activity that could be cut back (or removed), for your overall health?
Notice if the word, “should” pops up in your evaluation. It can be a tipoff to look harder at that activity and whether or not it should be exited from your calendar. Your calendar is a good indicator of where your priorities lie.
8. Bonus-Time with Jesus
Spending time with Jesus is crucial to finding rest in the middle of stormy seasons of life. Imagine Jesus is holding out his hand, calling out to you and saying, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Jesus doesn’t want you to live in a permanent state of frantic activity or utter exhaustion. He wants you to find rest. We won’t learn to live out of grace, standing firm in the midst of storms if we don’t spend time investing in a love relationship with Jesus.
Can you imagine a time where spending time with Jesus was not an obligation, but a necessary delight in your life? If this idea of delighting in Jesus, sparks something in you, I would encourage you to check out David Benner’s book, Surrender to Love.
Start with taking 10-15 minutes each day and spending it with Jesus. Read slowly through a passage of scripture, not trying to get it done, but meditating on it, and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you.
I would encourage you to pick one thing off this list and incorporate it into your week. You got this!
If you want to know how to get started in living a deeper life with God; grab our Deeper Life Beginners Guide (below). And join our community of moms who are hungry for more Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their families.
What about you? What are your favorite ways to recharge your batteries, to replenish your soul? Please feel free to leave me a comment and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!
Want to dive in deeper? Check out these resources.
Organized Simplicity – Tsh Oxenreider you try any of these activities, let us know! Leave a comment, and don
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