I don't know about you but I'm tired. We're less than a month away from the new year and I feel like I've been running a marathon since Dec. 1 (I'm guessing at what it feels like to run a marathon...not something I've done personally). But I don't think I'm alone in my exhaustion. I've seen record numbers of articles and posts on my Facebook feed about mothers at their wits end, workers tired of working, families passing each other in the night because of crazy schedules, and so on. We are a busy people.
We often hear people talking about the 'good old days' and how simple and easy life was back then. But I think what we really mean is we miss not having to hear and compare ourselves to everyone else's busyness. When we were just trying to get through our own lives we could handle it. But when we started seeing what everyone else was doing and making time for, our expectations for ourselves and our families hit the roof and boom! We suddenly have packed appointment calendars and dark circles under our eyes.
In case you're doubting the busyness of the 'good old days' let me remind you of a few things:
1) they made everything they used. I don't know about you but I've never made my own butter and soap and clothes while cooking without a microwave, doing laundry without a dryer, washing dishes without a dishwasher, and keeping the kids occupied without a tablet. We are spoiled on modern conveniences.
2) to talk to someone you had to visit them. I've sent probably a dozen texts today checking up with people, telling them I'm thinking about/praying for them, asking if they need anything. It's great to communicate so easily and freely. Before the surge of technology, you had to walk or drive or hitch up the horse to find out what was going on. And people did while still keeping up with everything from list one.
My point is life 'back then' was anything but easy. In many ways our ancestors worked harder than we do. So why, in a world filled with technology and machines that are supposed to make our lives more simple, do we find ourselves more exhausted than ever? I think the answer is we have forgotten how to rest and enjoy what we have. We are sucked into the mentality that because so many things are available we need to try them all.
Society tells us to have well rounded, healthy children, they need to play sports, take music lessons, get involved in community service, grab every opportunity they have to experience anything that might help them later in life. Oh and go to school and occasionally play with friends.
As women, we must excel in our careers, keep perfect homes, have some kind of hobby, raise well rounded, healthy children (and take them to everything mentioned above), be an excellent girlfriend/wife in every way, and do it all with a smile.
No wonder we're exhausted!! And, no, there's nothing wrong with any of the above. I'm love hearing my daughter play for music recitals and playing sports with my kids. I enjoy keeping my house tidy and seeing to the needs of my family. But what's my motivation in it all and am I trying to do more than God has called me to do in this season of life?
Do you know there is encouragement to be found though? We aren't alone. God is with us and He will give us the strength to get through what we need to. Of course, having unrealistic expectations for ourselves is never healthy and comparing what we are capable of with what others are able to do is a deadly game that usually ends in jealousy. However, in doing those things that we have been called to do, we can run to the Rock and find shelter from the chaos of this world. We can rest on Him and know He will hear our cries for help.
My 10 month old still does not sleep through the night. At least once - sometimes more - I’m waking up during the night to feed her and help her get back to sleep. I'm physically tired. I cry out to God to bring peace and rest to my weary heart and body and He doesn’t always answer by multiplying my sleeping hours but He does provide comfort that I am not alone. And He gives me strength to tackle what I need to get done.
I'm afraid sometimes when we are the most tired, our thoughts turn inward to self-pity and despair when those are the times we need to admit our inability to do anything but by the grace of God. Those are the times we need to lean on Him the most and find refreshment in His Word.
And so, weary friend, my challenge and encouragement to you is simple: will you, in the busyness of everyday life, lean on Him and find grace for today?
Photo by STIL on Unsplash