Hey friend. Are you right in the thick of motherhood and faith and dreams and feeling bogged down by all of it?
I was. And I am. And I will be again. But here's what I'm learning about cultivating a sense of peace when everything feels out of your control.
1. Being exhausted, overwhelmed, or anxious is not a “sin issue” or “lack of faith.”
Sometimes, it is exactly your gigantic faith that lands you in a place of emotional chaos.
You will be tempted to bring the chaos back into your control – by praying more, by searching pinterest, by buying a planner and balancing your budget – but perhaps the least painful course of action is to simply ride the wave.
The fear-tension-pain cycle not only holds true in childbirth, but really anywhere pain or fear exists.
The best course for enduring a difficult season is to feel your feelings without minimizing or ignoring them. If it's hard for you, then it's hard.
Speaking that feeling out loud reduces the fear, which helps ease the tension, which minimizes the pain.
Of course I'm talking about general feelings of overwhelm. If you suspect (or someone close to you suggests) that you would benefit from professional help in the form of counseling or medication, then absolutely seek that out.
2. When your soul is tired, let it rest.
This is not the time to take on an intense project or deal with that one family member or go looking for a new church.
Ruthlessly clear your calendar and then ignore the urge to fill it back up again. Elizabeth Gilbert describes it as taking care of your animal.
"Pretend you've just adopted that dog from a kill shelter. You don't know anything about this animal's history—and you don't need to know.
You can see she's been abused, and she's afraid of being abandoned or hurt again. You would offer her a warm and safe bed, right?
Healthy food. A cozy environment. Walks in the sunshine. Fresh air and clean water. Careful socialization with other animals—nice ones that don't bite. Naps. Tenderness. Affection. Playtime. And lots of patience. That's how you love an animal."
The good news is that we’re all animals. Show yourself some compassion and make some space for healing and rest.
(I talk about rest a lot in the Do Good Newsletter. It goes out every Monday. Are you signed up?)
3. Kids are animals, too.
If you’re feeling wrung-out, then your kids probably feel the same.
They don’t express it in the same ways or even in obvious ways, but if you look closely you will see it. In the same way that your mama-heart needs rest and good food and an empty schedule, your kids might need some down time too.
It’s okay to lay low together; to say no to baseball games and kids choir and to just eat pizza together on the living room floor on a Tuesday. Kids are animals, too.
4. Don’t neglect your physical body for the sake of your soul.
I’ve started saying to myself, “It all matters.”
God cares about all of it, not just the super spiritual stuff. He cares if your chest hurts and if you cry a lot and if your body decides to reject gluten.
He cares if your friends bailed and if your jeans don’t fit. He cares if you just need a minute.
And because he cares about all of it and all of it matters, you have a free pass to clear some of that super-spiritual stuff off your calendar to make time for fixing what is wrong with your body.
Maybe your ministry needs to be handed off. Maybe your Christian book club would be fine without you (and maybe you would be fine without it).
Maybe Sundays need to be reserved for silence and sleep for a little while. What I’m saying is, she who suffers most is not the winner of God’s affection.
5. God always keeps his promises.
We listed our home for sale in 2016 in obedience to what God was calling us to: growing vegetables for our community and being good neighbors.
It took over a year for that home to sell, a year of silence and unanswered questions and feeling absolutely sidelined as I twiddled my thumbs and read about other people's success.
But we didn’t go back, we didn’t quit, because we were confident in the thing we were hoping for.
We believed God would make good on his promise to give us a new home and a place to farm, if we made good on our promise to not give up when things got hard. And he did. He kept his promise and gave us more than we even asked for.
Cling tight to his promises while you're riding that wave. This hard thing will not last forever.
You will not always feel suffocated by all of it - the tiny hands always tugging on you and the laundry always staring at you and the desperate need to feel like your efforts are worthwhile consuming you.
One day you'll look back and see that none of it was random.
What you're enduring now is shaping you for what will come; refining you into a person of resilience and purpose who goes about her mission with unshakable confidence in the One who calls her beloved.
Are you ready to serve your community and make a difference in your little corner of the world?
I believe that the world is changed from the bottom up.
You don't have to have a big platform or a steady voice to do good. You just have to do something.
Every Monday, I send some ideas for how to pursue the things you're passionate about (even if you can't quit your job, hire a babysitter, or sell your home to start a non-profit).
Sign up for the Do Good Newsletter and start doing something good, right where you are with what you already have.