For a long time, I struggled with a feeling of weariness that I just couldn’t shake. No matter how much I slept, I was still tired. No matter how much I tried to create margin in my life, I was still spread too thin. I wasn’t happy and neither was my family. We were perpetually in survival mode. It wasn’t until I read Isaiah 41:26-31 recently, that I realized I had forgotten God’s vastness and sovereignty. I needed to be reminded of His perspective and power and stop trying to survive on my own strength alone.
My optimistic nature, which is usually one of my strengths, had become my weakness. I had convinced myself that I could balance working multiple jobs with crazy hours, all while still excelling as a wife, mom, friend, church member, etc. I wanted to believe I could do it all because I felt useless if I couldn’t. I love serving people and being helpful, and that is not a bad thing. But my identity and worth got tied up in that, and my self-esteem started to feed off of the pats on the back and the “atta-girl” compliments. I wouldn’t go skydiving for a million dollars, but I would jam-pack my schedule to get the rush of accomplishment and to hear someone say in admiration, “I don’t know how you do it!”
This brand of busyness is just as idolatrous as worshipping a beautiful, handcrafted, golden statue of a day-planner. I valued the approval of others more than the approval of God. I put the rush of accomplishment above the priorities that I knew God had called me to first. I was hustling so hard, that I burned out and no one was getting my best. I had placed my identity in being the “Girl who Gets Things Done”, instead of in being the “Daughter of a King.”
My misplaced identity had me sidestepping God’s perfect plan and priorities and following my own plan, which was leading nowhere fast.
My eyes were opened one day when I almost collapsed from exhaustion. I had been working a long shift and had not taken the time to eat or take a break. Suddenly, the room started to spin and my legs buckled under me. I caught myself on the counter before I fell to the ground, and tried to act like it was nothing, but inside I was scared. My body had never given out like that before. There was always a reserve, I had always been able to push a little further. I clearly remember thinking, “This is not good. It’s time to stop.”
I went home and slept for what seemed like days. I spent time resting and recuperating. During that time, I had to be honest with myself. I asked God to forgive me for relying on my own strength, and for not taking better care of myself. I repented of intentionally tuning out His voice, when I knew He was trying to lead me toward a better way.
I could not continue the way I had been living. I poured all my hopes and dreams out to God in prayer and started seeking wise counsel. I decided to turn down a big job opportunity that I had been agonizing over. It would have fast tracked my career, but it also would have locked me into the same schedule that had me struggling to take care of myself, my family and my ministry–the very things I felt convicted to better prioritize.
I slowly started saying no to other things too. I would block off whole days on my calendar where I wasn’t allowed to plan anything but rest and family time. I started to pray about my commitments before I made them so that I could give my best, or at least have the wisdom to know when saying yes would result in spreading myself too thin.
It was hard to let go of some things, but in letting go, I was acknowledging God as Lord of my life again-not me. He began to restore my heart, and remind me of the things that were truly important and not just the things that seemed urgent.
I took myself off the throne and made room for the Rightful King. And in doing that, blessing was not far behind in the form of peace, clarity of mind and God’s perfect provision. He was not holding good things back from me-I was holding Him back from giving them.
Another job opportunity came, and this time the schedule fit perfectly into balance with where God was directing me. He was faithful to provide, and by trusting Him, I did not have to engineer my future. It was secure in His hands.
I share this in love, in case you are weary from pushing yourself to the limit and running on empty. I tell you this in case you are like me—too busy, and feeling like you can’t put anything down. It can be done, it must be done. Together we can do it. God loves us too much to stand idly by while we run ourselves ragged on a hamster wheel. Time to hop off, and start experiencing God’s love and abundant life for real.
If you are feeling weary and struggling with knowing what to put down, I want to encourage you to take a few minutes today to write down everything you do in a given day. Then pray over each thing on your list. Ask God to give you the right perspective and to soften your heart to His wisdom. Talk with a trusted friend or family member who knows your strengths and weaknesses and can offer helpful insight. It’s hard to lay down our pride and ask for help sometimes, but I’ve found the relief and peace you experience when you finally do is profound.
I know there are seasons of life that are just busy and sometimes that is truly beyond our control. But if you find yourself saying “things should calm down in a couple more weeks” and years go by without it ever calming down, it might just be time to reevaluate things.
Give God your schedule and your weariness and let Him restore your strength and your hope. May he renew you and bring you peace.