I’m tired too. I can’t remember the last night I slept through without waking up to tend to a child. I’m worn out by the emotional demands of trying to do what’s right when all my kids do is what’s wrong. I understand the non-stop demands of nurturing and caring for your family. And the sheer business of it all. Some days I still wonder what we were thinking having five kids in the span of six and-a-half years!
I’m guessing what you want is the same thing I want: Rest. Peace. A deep breath.
Fortunately, we live in a society that encourages moms to take a break; to take care of themselves so that they can better care for others. Even this fallen world recognizes that we all need rest – it’s the way God created us.
But, that’s where the wisdom of the world stops. In fact, I think even us Christian moms have bought in to some serious lies about self-care and rest from this world.
This is what a mom’s day off – or ‘rest’ – looks like in the world’s eyes, just to name a few:
A day at the spa
A girls night out
A Netflix binge
A glass of wine
A shopping spree
A cup of tea and a good book
Or for stay at home moms like me, even the thought of a part-time job out of the house, with adults, sounds refreshing!
Don’t get me wrong, most of these things sound like heaven on an average crazy day in my home. And I’ve sought some of these out as a source of refreshment, relaxation and rest on numerous occasions.
I bought into the need for ‘me-time’ earlier in my motherhood years. I craved moments when I could do what I wanted to do. I believed the lie that gratifying my own desires would rejuvenate me and make me a better mom.
But that rejuvenation only lasted about three minutes into my kids’ bickering. And what’s worse, I started getting bitter toward my kids. Because of my responsibilities toward them, I couldn’t do what I wanted to do more of the time. The problem was that the more I was concerned about my own desires, the more and more I thought about trying to fulfill them and the more I resented the obstacles in my way – usually my kids. And then I felt guilty for feeling this way about my kids. It was an awful cycle to be caught in.
Are you caught in this cycle too? Do you find that self-indulgence (sometimes conveniently labeled self-care) has left you bitter and resentful rather than refreshed? Angry at the very ones you love?
Consider this – we might be rejecting the true physical, mental, and emotional rest we so desperately need because we aren’t filling our God given need in the way He intended.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
The world says, come, tantalize your senses, fulfill your desires, indulge. The result will be a temporary satisfaction that leaves us dissatisfied and longing for more.
Jesus says, come to Me. The result will be a deep running, long lasting, supernatural rest for our souls.
I was convicted by this truth a couple years ago. I realized I was seeking rest and refreshment outside of God. I was chasing what the world told me would satisfy.
Though I still do enjoy some Netflix favorites, I’ve been filling more of my spare moments during the day with God – in His word and in communication with Him and learning from Him. And I’ve begun to experience that deep soul rest that He promises.
But here’s one of the other fantastic benefits of choosing to be refreshed by Jesus: the more I am learning about Him and about who I am in Christ, the more I am becoming Spirit controlled throughout my days. And the more I am becoming Spirit controlled, the better mom I am becoming! No other worldly indulgence can give me rest and lead me into more successful mothering at the same time! Jesus’ offer is the best by far.
Fellow moms, can I exhort you today with something I wish I’d learned years ago? There is true and deep rest to be enjoyed! Even in the most difficult seasons of life. Please don’t make the mistakes I have made of seeking rest in all the wrong places. I know that reading the Bible and praying doesn’t always sound like it will feel refreshing in our moments of thorough fatigue. But, will you heed the call of Jesus and come? Will you give Him a chance? Will you put the temporary pleasures on the back burner for a few minutes and lean on the Gentlest of all Teachers? I promise it will make all the difference – because that’s His promise.
“Work is not always required of a man. There is such a thing as a sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.” George MacDonald