Is it just me, or do words like “fatigue,” “weariness,” and “sheer exhaustion” seem to be this month’s theme?
Maybe it is the perpetual gloomy weather and frigid temperatures of winter catching up with us. Maybe we are still in the midst of nursing, or recuperating from lingering winter illnesses. Maybe we are finally recovering from the busyness and constant activity of the holidays. Maybe it is that pesky hour of sleep lost to Daylight Savings Time.
Or maybe…that’s just life.
Sometimes, the simple act of living is exhausting!
But, as Jasmine pointed out, this is to be expected! And, as such it is something we must prepare for.
Why, then, does it so often catch us off guard?
Why do we allow the weariness and fatigue that accompany the hard work of motherhood and homemaking – of life in general – to sneak up on us, and sinfully color and control our words, our attitudes, and our actions?
We snap impatiently at our children. We whine and complain to our husbands. We casually dismiss the disorder and disorganization of our homes. And we defend ourselves and justify our sinful behavior, because we are so tired, or because we didn’t sleep well the night before, or because it is a certain time of the month.
I struggle with chronic insomnia, which, I have discovered, often triggers severe migraines that render me utterly useless for days on end! So, please believe me when I say, I get it! I realize that there are a number of physical or medical conditions that legitimately sap our energy, create fatigue, or necessitate extra rest. That is not what I am addressing.
“I have heard of women who pride themselves on being ‘night people.’ That means that they have trouble getting up in the mornings because they come alive at night. They may stay up till all hours reading, watching television, or pursuing some sort of interest. The next morning they are too tired to get up and care for their family….These women are not ‘night people.’ They are lazy and selfish. Who would not rather stay up late to do whatever they please and sleep late the next day?” (Martha Peace, Becoming a Titus 2 Woman, pgs. 116-117, emphasis mine)
But, what about Proverbs 31? “Her lamp does not go out at night.” (v. 18) But, notice that she also “rises while it is yet night…”(v. 15) The point is, she works hard – all day long. “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” (v. 27) Her time is not spent selfishly, frivolously frittering away precious time. Instead, she uses each moment efficiently and productively, looking for ways to benefit and bless her family.
Does this describe us – our habits? Are we working hard, from morning into the night, to bless our family? Are we falling into bed exhausted after a full day, and rising early the next morning to do it all again?
Or are we more like the lazy man, who excuses himself, and rationalizes that “just a little more sleep” won’t do any harm?
“How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest…” ~Proverbs 6:9-10
We may protest that the situation is only temporary. And, after all, it is just “5 more minutes.” But, 5 minutes can quickly turn into 30 (or more!). And, day after day, morning after morning, we wake up only to discover that we are already behind…before the day has even started.
I don’t know about you, but there are many mornings when it seems as though my bed has developed its own gravitational pull! And, on those days, I definitely need the prodding of these words:
“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” ~Proverbs 6:6-8
Please understand, I am not suggesting that we sacrifice exercise, a healthy diet, or adequate rest in order to clean or work on projects around the house!
But, instead of being an excuse for sinful behavior, our constant need for rest should humble us. It should serve as a constant reminder of our utter dependence on God. But, so many of us act as though it is expendable, as though we can do without sufficient sleep each night.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” ~1 Corinthians 6:19
As children of God, our bodies do not belong to us. Therefore, we must be good stewards of what we have been given – that includes our health, our time, and our energy.
If we consistently make poor choices in what, or how much we eat, it can quickly deplete our strength and energy, rendering us lethargic, lazy, and incapable of fulfilling the roles and responsibilities that God has given us. How is that glorifying to God?
Proper rest is essential to being available–both mentally and physically–to serve our families. How does it glorify God to spend our evenings selfishly pursuing our own interests, but then spend the day exhausted, lazily neglecting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our family and our home?
“A homemaker may claim that her house is a shambles, because she’s just not mentally wired to be a ‘multi-tasker.’ The Bible labels sloppy slothfulness as a moral issue: ‘Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks’ (Ecclesiastes 10:8).” (Mark Chanski, Womanly Dominion, pg. 49)
Exercise, physical activity, staying in shape, is profitable. The first part of 1 Timothy 4:8 tells us that “bodily training is of some value.” It can help us to maintain our health, our energy, and strengthen us to accomplish certain tasks. But, along with verse 7, the second part of 1 Timothy 4:8 prevents us from placing excessive attention on our physical body. “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in everyway, as it holds promise for the present life as and also for the life to come.”
Yes, we do need to take care of our physical body. But, in doing so, we must remember that we are never commanded, or even encouraged, in Scripture, to take care of ourselves in a selfish sense – to serve ourselves. Our aim in taking care of our physical needs should be physical and mental preparation for service to God and others.
“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” ~1 Corinthians 9:27
I do not want to be guilty of teaching my daughter to do what I say, not what I do. I do not want to verbally extol the virtues of Proverbs 31, while living out the vices of Proverbs 6.
Yes, there are times when a little extra rest is justified – even necessary! But, as wives and moms, we have been called to serve. We must realize that we are to take care of ourselves for the express purpose of pouring ourselves out. Each day…sometimes each moment…is a battle against laziness, idleness, and indolence. Each day we have an opportunity to obey God’s command to serve Him by serving others, and to give of ourselves sacrificially.
Even when I am tired.
Even when I don’t feel well.
Even when I just don’t want to.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” ~Philippians 2:3-4
By Veronica @ A Quiet Heart