Jul 19 2017

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How Godly Self-care will Cure Burnout

How Godly self-care will cure burnout

How Godly Self-care will Cure Burnout

I lay there trying to sleep. I know I need to go to sleep. I want to sleep, but I can’t. My mind is alert and racing. My chest tightens with tension. Being awake is the last thing I need, but I can’t find sleep for all my searching. I’m like a hamster running on its wheels getting nowhere fast. Exhaustion and insomnia are two of the telltale signs of burnout. Along with that are the symptoms of irritability, a lack of motivation to do anything important, and unexplained health problems. The common symptoms of burnout sound very much like the normal experience of many mothers.

Burnout and motherhood

Brain fog, not getting enough sleep, and taking care of everybody else’s needs in place of self-care are symptoms of burnout that are also common struggles in motherhood.

When I was a mom of three young children, I went to the doctor because I was convinced something was physically wrong with me. When the doctor came back with the test results, I was floored. He told me, “You have three young children.” That was his diagnosis. I’d already convinced myself I had a thyroid problem or something. I went away sad because I wanted a pill, a procedure or a simple solution. I didn’t know then that a cure existed: I needed to take better care of myself. If the doctor told me that, I missed it. At the time, I ignored and undervalued self-care. I disconnect the relationship between self-care, my health, and my ability to care for my family well. I slogged through those years never realizing there could’ve been another way.

A reason to change

I’m just now seeing the importance of self-care. My body is older, and the long term effects of burnout are no longer tolerable. The ways I coped earlier in life doesn’t work now. Getting to the end of one’s self is often the impetus for change. I wish I had gotten there sooner.

The key to move from burnout

There’s a high chance you could be suffering from burnout if you don’t prioritize self-care. The best kind of self-care is godly self-care. Understanding and applying godly self-care is the key to moving out of burnout while taking care of your family and growing into God’s design for your life.

Godly self-care, the cure for burnout

Godly self-care asks: What is important to God? And What does God want me to do?

How does godly self-care cure burnout? It strips away the irrelevant and moves the answer of priorities away from feeding pride and control issues. If we weren’t concerned about our image or feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders, life would be less stressful. Asking ourselves why we do what we do, if we can be honest, will find many answers rooted in pride or control issues.

  • If I have a guest coming over, I spend extra time cleaning up. I tell myself I want her to feel welcomed and at home, which is true. But the bigger drive is avoiding the feeling of embarrassment if she saw my house in disarray.
  • I might read and reread an email before sending it. I tell myself I want the communication to be clear, which is true. But the bigger drive is trying to impress. I want the person to think I’m an intelligent and competent person.

Can you relate?

How to stress less

The problem is not with keeping a clean and welcoming home or writing well, it’s the overdrive that pushes us into burnout. When we listen to God, we can be free to impress less. Impressing less means stressing less. We can do our part and let go of the rest if we’re connecting to God. Mediocre is not the goal. Obeying God is. When we listen to and obey God come we can find rest for our body, mind, and spirit. We can direct our energy toward what it is truly important and experience immeasurable joy only found in walking with the Savior.

How do I know what God wants me to do?

The short answer is to ask God, listen, and obey. That’s easier said than done. Do the obvious and keep a listening ear. It takes practice. If you continue the practice of asking (through prayer), listening (to God’s word and godly wisdom), and obeying, you will improve. Matthew 11 speaks,

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30


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Hamster photo by My Name on Unsplash

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