“A woman’s greatest enemy is fatigue, a man’s his ego.” – one of the little pieces of advice my mom gave me growing up. And oh how true! Now ladies – don’t jump straight to the ego part. Let’s talk about us females and exhaustion… I was living out this saying today – I’m tired, worn out, and when I get that way I’m my own worst enemy! It becomes a doorway for the devil to get into my head as he whispers… “You didn’t do this, you didn’t reach out to that person, you’ll never get that to-do list done, you are letting people down who are depending on you… you might as well just give up.” I climbed in the car to head home. Usually on days like this I drive home in silence. But today I turned on K-Love and within 5 minutes I heard a radio spot I hadn’t heard before. Almost as if it were just for me, for today. It was definitely right on time…
“Are you chronically exhausted? Chronically late? Overwhelmed? Maybe you are breaking the speed limit of life. Sometimes your “No” is just as important as your “Yes”.
Good stuff right there! Stuff I already knew. I’ve read the book “Boundaries” (and likely need to pull it out again.) Stuff that most of you ladies reading this likely already know. Yet we let ourselves get here to this place of exhaustion on our journey to happy kids & husbands, clean organized homes, PTA meetings, and the list goes on. If we’re not careful, we can mistakenly think if we don’t take on every invite, challenge and need placed before us, then we aren’t being all we’re supposed to be. That is flawed thinking. There are always going to be stressful times for women. Times where we feel like the old Stretch Armstrong dolls. It comes with the territory. What’s important is to recognize it and say “Is this just a season or do I need to adjust my sails?” Where can I say “No”? Is this strain on my time really adding value to my end goal? For me? My end goal is to be the hands and feet of Jesus – so I have to keep myself in check. Is this task busy or is this productive? And BE LEARY of what can happen when well-meaning friends who know you say “Are you OK?? You don’t seem like yourself? What’s wrong?” If you are not careful, in your exhaustion, you will start looking for an answer… your emotions can get the best of you as you say “to feel this bad something MUST be really wrong?! I just don’t know what it is exactly…” then confusion sets in….then you try to decipher what the cause of it all is… something that may on a normal day slightly aggravate you but today it’s THE biggest thing. Your mole hills become mountains. In your exhaustion you make problems where there are none. When all that’s really wrong is “You’re tired and need a nap!” Learn to recognize when tired goes to exhaustion. Take time to fill up your cup – you can’t pour from an empty cup. And don’t make any critical, life altering decisions or assumptions when you are tired. Rest in Jesus. Get alone in your prayer closet. Spend time with him. Let him calibrate you, adjust your sails and send you back out on your journey.
I’ve been in Aviation for many years and want to leave all you Wonder Women out there with this thought: When you hear the briefing before a flight they tell you to put YOUR oxygen mask on first and then your child’s. At first that sounds a bit selfish and not what a mother would do… wouldn’t you put it on your child first?!? The reality is the best help you could give your child is to put the oxygen mask on yourself first – so you are alert and awake and able to help the child. If they are awake with the mask on and you pass out before getting yours on – you will be unable to help them in the event of an emergency. So ladies – be sure to put your oxygen mask on first! Get a sitter for an hour and take a break. Take a nap. Say “no” to those things that aren’t adding value to your destination if your plate is already full. My ex-husband and I had this down. When I’d get overwhelmed and it lead to exhaustion, all he had to do was look at me and say “have you put the mask on yourself lately?” That was my cue. It was time to stop, rest and take a deep breath. THEN put my cape back on.
For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. – Jeremiah 31:25