Can I be a bit vulnerable with you today?
First, a little background.
I hit a wall a few years ago where I simply couldn’t move forward anymore. Both Jon and I had been running fast and hard for a good four years, building my business/starting his new job, getting us out of debt, raising the kids, juggling three different schools and schedules, managing grad school, moving three times, and more.
We’d been so busy that busy had just become our life, and I didn’t even see it. I stayed up far too late at night, working or watching TV when I should have been resting.
My lack of rest spilled over into our mornings, which were perpetually rushed and stressed – mainly because I’d slept through my alarm & started my day already scattered.
Rushing around in the mornings affected my attitude, and the way I spoke to my family. I was the irritable, hurried mom, not the patient understanding one I wanted to be.
Work consumed my time and thoughts. I neglected my love of journaling, trading my moleskine in for more “productive” time on the computer. I missed fun days with my family, insisting that the work needed to be done, the bills needed to be paid, stability always just out of my grasp.
I had completely lost my joy, instead miserably toting around my self-inflicted cross of adulthood, duty, and responsibility.
And in the meantime, my grief and depression had grown so loud, I couldn’t hear much else.
I remember sitting on the couch one morning, already exhausted by 11am, thinking, “How do I get out of this? I have so many good things in my life, but I feel like I’m missing them all. Where has my joy gone? This crazy-busy, exhausted woman who has no time for anything is NOT who I really am. How do I get back to the person God made me to be?”
That was a few years ago, and it was a turning point for me. I made some really positive changes after that, things we’ve talked about a lot over the last few years.
But here’s my confession:
These days, I’m finding myself right back there – in that same exhausted place.
In the last month, I’ve realized how desperate I am for some breathing room, for some stability, for some rest. It’s not just the last month either, I feel like it’s the last few years, and their impact, all compounding on top of one another, and I’m just…exhausted.
I wonder if you are in the same boat, just…tired.
We are busy, busy people. We’re managing homes, managing finances, driving our people from one activity to the next, working for demanding bosses (sometimes ourselves), cooking dinners, changing diapers, connecting with husbands, folding clothes, washing dishes, and discipling hearts. And that’s just on a regular day. I’m not even talking about the days where nothing seems to go right.
Our lives are full.
Our schedules are packed.
Our tanks are empty.
And if that isn’t enough, our senses are seriously overstimulated.
We’ve got Instagram showing us the best parts of other people’s lives, and we see how we don’t measure up. We read blogs and emails from “experts” that tell us exactly what they think we should be doing, and we feel the weight of our failure. We are inundated with dings and pings from a phone that constantly signals just how much other people “need” us, and we live each day in a state of low-level panic because we know we just. can’t. do. everything. anymore.
Friends, we are out of space. (…again?)
Space to think. Space to be quiet. Space to take our time instead of hurrying around all the livelong day.
Space to be the kind of people God made us to be.
If you’re in the same place, I wish I could reach through this email and give you a hug today, because I get you. I am you.
Instead, I hope what I’m about to share gives you a measure of hug-level encouragement. Because even in the exhaustion, we’re not without hope.
I think the first step is admitting how tired we are – even if you’re like me and you thought you’d gotten a handle on this! And next, we need to carve out space for the things that actually, genuinely fill us up in healthy, stable ways.
Here’s what I’ve been doing (and will continue to do):
I’m prioritizing sleep again. No TV or work before bed, but a book instead, and lights out by 9:30. And I changed my 5am alarm to 6am. My body needs it (and honestly, my mind does too). Sleep makes a huge difference.
Nothing is more powerful than God’s Word, but I’ve been highly distracted from it in my always-busy state. I’m super behind in my one-year reading plan, not that the plan matters, but the fact that I was behind was keeping me from just diving back into the Bible.
I realized what was happening, and I KNOW it’s dumb to stay away from the Bible because you’re “behind”, so, I started reading again this week. I just opened my Bible and continued on in my reading plan very slowly, taking simple notes, and praying as I went.
I do not do this perfectly, but each day as I open the Bible, God is reminding me that I LOVE reading His Word, and He’s showing up for me there. And you know what? I need Him. Every. Single. Day. His Word is one incredible gift He’s given us, and we can open it anytime.
3. Social Media.
I am taking an extended break from media – both social media and television. The truth is that I just cannot handle all the noise, the opinions, the darkness, and the unwritten expectations in a way that’s healthy for my own mental state. (Sometimes I forget this and start looking through social media again, but every time I come back to this realization. It changes me, and not in a good way.) Instead, I’m reading books or listening to music – both things that actually give me LIFE.
I took all social media and email off my phone, and guess what? I felt like myself again almost immediately. Now I check once or twice a day on my computer, instead of carrying all that noise around with me.
You guys, I’ve been running really hard for the last six months. Between homeschooling again (which I am truly loving), trying to keep a business afloat in the midst of inflation and economic unrest (which has not been going great), managing our home (please don’t ask me about our upstairs – it’s been a mess for MONTHS), planning meals (or driving through Canes) and trying to improve my own health (which has been inconsistent and frustrating and honestly something I stink at), I’ve felt like I’ve been desperately spinning a billion plates in constant fear that I’m dropping half of them.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling desperate, my default is to cling tighter to this facade of control I think I have over my life.
But I am not in control.
Here’s the truth I’m facing: Homeschool is important, my business might take a serious hit this year, it’s okay if our home isn’t as clean as I want it to be, and, well, I do need to focus more on my health and our meals. But when I slow down and give myself space to think through all of these things, I realize something: they really ARE more than I can handle, and clinging tighter to “control” isn’t helping anyone. Instead, I have to lay all my responsibilities down at the cross and ask the Lord (who can do ANYTHING) to help show me each day what’s most important.
I have to surrender it all.
I have to remember that the Lord is trustworthy, that He is faithful, that His ways might be different than mine (let’s be honest, they probably ARE), but that they are always, always for my good. Even when it hurts.
Surrendering doesn’t mean that everything is worked out and tied up with a tidy bow. For me, it means trusting that God’s ways are better than my own, accepting that my way is simply not working, and surrendering my insistence that everything go the way I think it should. (This is super hard for me. I like things going my way. Anyone else? 🙋🏼♀️)
These are things that are helping me right now, and I hope they help you, too.
But more than anything, I hope that sharing this today gives you a little grace for yourself if you’re relearning a lesson that you thought you’d already learned. God has been reminding me that he is gracious and kind, always waiting with love for me to stop trying so hard to make everything the way I want it, and lean on Him completely instead.
The same is true for you. 💛
As always, we’re in this together, my friend.
ANCHORED TOOLS FOR YOUR WEEK:
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Kayse Pratt serves Christian women as a writer + designer, creating home + life management resources that help those women plan their days around what matters most. She’s created the most unique planner on the market, helped over 400 women create custom home management plans, and works with hundreds of women each month inside her membership, teaching them how to plan their days around what matters most. When she’s not designing printables or writing essays, you’ll find Kayse homeschooling her kids, reading a cheesy novel with a giant cup of tea in hand, or watching an old show from the 90’s with her husband, who is her very best friend.