A few months ago, I experienced what it’s like to have literally nothing left.
I was in a difficult season where every single minute of my life had been assigned to an activity. Even when I was napping, I would read a book or I would scroll on my phone. I desired a break, even a day off, but I didn’t know how to have one.
That day, I had come home from work with a migraine and severe muscle pain. We were in the process of moving at work, and I had over-exerted my energy. I felt like someone had beat me up. I felt like I had literally been run over with a truck. The last thing I wanted to do was drive home. But once I got home, I put lavender in my oil diffuser, put on my pajamas, and sprawled out across my bed that was covered in fluffy pillows.
For the first time that I could remember, I did absolutely nothing for the rest of the night. I didn’t really have much of a choice. But looking back, I desperately needed it.
Why do we exhaust ourselves? I know for me, it’s the fear that I’m not getting enough done. When God rested, it indicated that He was satisfied with His work. When we rest, we trust that we have completed the work that God has called us to do.
God knows you have limits, and He does not expect you to go beyond your limits in your own strength. When I go on a plane, which makes me anxious, it takes so much emotional energy out of me that even if I come home early in the day, I always take off the next day of work so that I can recharge and relax. But sometimes God calls me to trust His strength in the busy seasons. I need eight hours of sleep, maybe even nine at this point of my life. If I have to do something that requires me to stay up all night or to get up earlier than is comfortable for me, that means I need God’s strength, and I might need to make some adjustments to my schedule later.
You may be at a very busy season of your life. However, God calls us to rest, just as He rested, and He calls us to make time for ourselves. If you don’t have time, make time. That may mean calling out sick to work one day. That may mean letting your husband watch the kids while you do what you want. That may mean even going on vacation for a few days and leaving your cell phone in your hotel room while you relax on the beach.
Is your schedule really more important than your mental, physical, and emotional health?
Your kids would not appreciate it if you were taking care of them, but you were exhausted and therefore short-tempered. Your work would not appreciate it if you worked overtime every day, but you didn’t get any work done because you were so drained. It’s hard to admit, but we all have limits. We all get spent. And we all have different limits and tolerances.
You know you need a break when you start exhibiting any of the following symptoms:
- Memory loss
- Depression/loss of joy of life
If you have any of these, look back on your schedule for this week and see where you need to cut back. Don’t be afraid to admit that you just need some down time. Do what you love, and don’t feel guilty about it. Whether it is writing, reading, getting a massage, even coloring, then do it for a few hours. You would be amazed at what even taking a night off will do for you. Then, when you are finished relaxing, you will have less stress and more enjoyment of your life.