“I‘m not cut out for this life. I’m toast.” That was my text to my husband when I landed from traveling to my interview on The Harvest Show. I was completely used up — no more enthusiasm, no more excitement, no more words. Feeling totally wrung out, I contained not one drop of energy anywhere inside me.
I did not feel like rocking anything.
But life goes on, as life is wont to do. I walked in the door to find my teens cry-baby-freaking-out over dinner preparations while the nine-year-old bounced off the walls in a very unhelpful manner. There was AWANA to prepare for, laundry to wash, and a mountain of messages to return.
Then the sun came up the next day to all the homeschool work we were “behind” on (in quotes, because what do we homeschoolers get behind on, anyway? But we still say it, and that’s how I felt anyway) and the chores that needed completed and the emails I couldn’t snooze any longer and the refrigerator was bare and I was out of coffee creamer! and the church special music needed planned and orchestra rehearsal was that night and . . .
I still did not feel like rocking anything. In fact, the urge to crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after me was even stronger. But you and I both know I couldn’t do that. I had to be rocking ordinary whether I wanted to or not.
How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough
“Are you tired, run down, listless? Do you poop out at parties?”
I’m not going to give you a bottle of Vitametavegimin, but I do hope these less-alcoholic ideas help you “spoon your way to health.” Read on, or join in the conversation with me on facebook:
1. Focus on the essentials
Sometimes when I’m super-pressured, I neglect the essential elements of life. Which is about the equivalent of using vitametavegimin as a meal replacement — it makes no sense.
For me, that’s not only making sure I eat 3 square meals that include veggies and fruit. I’m talking about every-three-hours-whether-I-feel-like-it-or-not nourishment so my body never runs on empty. And I’ve found that I actually require a gallon and a half of water (no exaggeration) a day to keep myself hydrated.
Do the laundry.
Because clothing is a necessity, and nudity is frowned upon. Let’s get the clothes washed, folded, and put away so our loved ones can get dressed in the morning. And us, too.
Pick up the house.
Ok, not literally hoist the building on your shoulders. If you can do that, stop complaining and get along with you. We don’t want to hear about it.
Because the rest of us are no wonder women, we are easily waylaid by a stray lego or decorative underpants (why do boys think underwear is decorative?!). Taking a few minutes to shovel out the family room or clear off a kitchen counter allows space for a mom to breathe and maybe even think a thought.
2. Take care of yourself
That means physically.
Are we eating right? I just recently learned that, for me, “eating right” is every three hours and a gallon-and-a-half of water. That’s the secret to keeping my body happy, so, poor me, I’m trying to eat enough (my life is so miserable, *munch, munch*).
I need to tell my friends “not this week” or my ministry “I’ll be there next time” or my family “give me some quiet hours lest ye die.” Even Christ, Our Savior fled the crowds to get away from the people and rest before returning to ministry.
Not just a wish-and-a-prayer spirituality, but earnestly seeking God’s face. More time in the Word, more meditating on His promises, more devoted prayer (not just the “oh, please help me now!” things I throw to the heavens every hour). “He restores my soul,” the psalmist reminded us, and He will do the same for us.
3. Love others.
When we’re running on empty, those around us can seem like a burden not a blessing, a weight instead of a ministry. Instead, Christ reminds us in John 15 that our ministry to others is the very essence of our life in Him. When we abide in Him, when we allow our life to blossom from that primary relationship, our love for others overflows from that primary relationship. And it is then that our joy returns (see verses 9-14).
4. Redefine Success.
So those days when we roll out of bed already exhausted, when the todo list makes us cry, when the life stage takes an unexpected turn, when we feel lost and disillusioned and . . . ordinary, what good does it do to finish the essentials, take care of ourselves, and love others?
It changes everything.
Because when we feed and clothe our loved ones, when we seek God’s face in the everyday, when we cry out our prayers to Him, when we reach out to support and love those around us, that is when we do extraordinary work. That’s the image of God in us, hope and healing, forgiveness and grace to those around us.
That’s when we redefine success for ourselves and find new meaning every ordinary day.