by Elizabeth Veldboom
Sitting in church, I stared in shock at the picture on the side screens. It felt as though the pastor had gotten inside my head and projected what was there for the entire world to see.
I’d been praying the day before, begging God to show me what was wrong with me. I was depressed and exhausted, but I couldn’t figure out why.
It was the very same image I was looking at now.
When He’d first shown it to me, I’d immediately felt something click. Yes! I thought. That’s exactly how I feel, Lord! Like you’re pouring into me with all of your grace and love, and yet, it’s going out just as quickly as it’s coming in. I should be filled to overflowing! What does it mean? Why am I so full of holes?
He’d been silent then, but now, staring at the magnified version of what had been in my head the day before, the message was clear: it definitely had something to do with the bucket.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had God grab an image from your brain and broadcast it to an entire church, but this was a first time for me. Let’s just say I didn’t fall asleep in that service.
Pastor Hooper’s message centered on how we all have three “tanks” that need to be filled: physical, spiritual, and emotional. That particular day he focused on the third–our emotional tanks.
He talked about how important our emotional tanks are and how we can have so many things we’re pouring ourselves out for, we have no time to be filled back up.
I wonder if you can relate to that image as well? As a homeschooling mom, you have so many things that vie for your attention and time. Spouse, friends, kids, lessons, laundry, volunteering, boss, Bible Study. The list goes on!
If we’re not careful, we can have so many obligations and duties that we pour ourselves out faster than we can fill ourselves back up.
So what do we do to ensure we’re not trying to give out of a leaky heart? It’s important to realize that we all need time for rest in our lives. Without it, we set ourselves up for exhaustion and burnout.
Here are three quick ways we can all make rest a priority:
1) Resolve to Make Room
Unfortunately, rest doesn’t just happen. It’s something that has to be worked for. Kind of an oxymoron, I know.
But if you’re still waiting for that magical “someday” on a beach in Hawaii, you’re gonna be waiting a long time.
You’re the only one who can make time for you. I can guarantee it won’t be your kids who make the time. Neither will it be your husband, boss, or children’s soccer team.
As one of my favorite quotes says: “If you don’t do you, you doesn’t get done.”
2) Read. My. Lips: No
If we want to maintain a healthy balance in our lives and home, we have got to learn how to say no. If not, we’ll end up with a schedule filled with a thousand people-pleasing tasks and only a handful of God-honoring ones.
But it can be extremely hard to know when and how to say no, which is why we need the Holy Spirit to help us discern both our own limitations and whether or not a certain activity is worth our time.
Learn to bring any decisions you face concerning a time-commitment or emotional investment to the throne of God before committing, and then act on whatever He tells you to do. If it’s a yes, then trust Him for the strength and energy to help you complete the task. If it’s a no, then trust Him with that as well.
We cannot do it all, and we shouldn’t try.
3) Reschedule Time for Rest
Finally, make room for yourself to rest. Literally schedule it if you have to! Maybe rest for you means one day per month where hubby takes the kids and you treat yourself to a spa day. Or maybe it means taking that date night you’ve scheduled for the day your kids turn eighteen, or spending a night out with the girls. It could also be some sort of hobby like painting or gardening.
There are so many options, and I encourage you to have fun with them! Rest is not rest if you won’t have fun while doing it.
If you’re unsure what gives you rest, start now by setting some time aside to pray and begin writing a list of things you enjoy. (As a special bonus, check out the “Freebies” tab for a few ideas to get you started!)
The next time you begin to feel overwhelmed, pull out your list and pick something to do to recharge your batteries.
Before God got my attention, I wasn’t doing a very good job of making room for rest in my life. I felt guilty whenever I acknowledged needing rest or told someone no, feeling as though it was selfish or lazy of me. However, He has since helped me see that it’s not selfish or lazy at all. Accepting rest when you need it simply means allowing God to minister to you before trying to minister to others.
When we set safeguards around our heart and time, we can love and give on a deeper level, without worrying that it will empty us in return.
But the greatest rest of all is the kind only He can give:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Is it hard for you to allow yourself to rest? If you had one day completely to yourself, how would you spend it?
P.S. Check back this Friday when we’ll have a very special guest interview with author Dabney Hedegard. Find out the one thing she wishes she would have known when she first started homeschooling, what she does to try and balance her time, and why she calls herself a “professional patient.” You won’t want to miss it!
Elizabeth Veldboom is a proud 2009 graduate from The Garden School, as well as a graduate from Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. Along with working as one of The Garden School’s preschool teachers, she also enjoys writing and has been published in places like Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters and CBN.com. She’d love connecting with you, so visit her blog anytime at http://www.thefearlist.wordpress.com.