Running on Empty
When you’re a mom, whether working a full-time job or SAH, it’s easy to miss the warning signs you’re running on empty. Not so in my minivan. My new Odyssey lights up and sends me an alert as soon as I hit a quarter tank and a quick press of a button tells me exactly how many miles I can eek out. But, when I’m personally running low on fuel, without the threat of being stranded roadside, I find it much easier to ignore the warning signs.
In the weeks leading up to the end of school and summer vacation I realized I was close to being stranded curbside. I was a mom on empty. You can read more about that in my last post A Summer Reboot.
A busy mom on empty knows it’s important to fuel up without delay. But, just like our vehicles and our bodies, we can’t put just anything in them if we intend to keep either running over the long haul.
Where there is no fuel a fire goes out
Proverbs 26:20 (CEV)
The summer is just getting started and if we’re to be any match for those kids we love so much and (normally) look forward to spending the summer with, now is the time to do something. Here are just a few of the ways I am working to fuel my tank this summer
A Good Book
There are few things I can get lost and revived in like a good book. I picked up this one the other day and I absolutely believe it was divine intervention. Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer is written by author and speaker, Priscilla Shirer. This woman can bring the word and truth in a way that catches my attention. I’ve had this book for a while and when things went a little topsy turvey recently I looked at my stack of books to read and I swear this one called out to me. While I am passionate about prayer, my prayer life had gone weak recently. It was running out of fuel, finally opening up this book was like taking a long cool drink from a fresh spring. I am taking my time as I work through it, jotting notes and developing a new prayer strategy along the way. Here is a favorite passage:
. . . the battles your enemy wages against you – especially the most acute, consistent ones – posses a personality to them, an intimate knowledge of who you are and the precise pressure points where you can most easily be taken down. Random Accident? Lucky guess? I don’t think so. These areas of greatest fear and anxiety in your life are clues to some important spiritual information. They reveal, among other things, that a personalized strategy has been insidiously put in place to destroy your vibrancy and render you defeated. It’s been drawn up on the blackboard by someone who knows where you live and who you love, knows your customary tendencies, and knows from long experience how best to exploit every single one of them. And maybe up until now it’s been working.
Fervent, Priscilla Shirer
This book, published in 2016, is readily available on Amazon in paperback.
A Good Word (or two or three)
If you’re in need of a quick pick me up – something to listen to while getting ready for work or in-between camp drop-offs, you might want to consider exploring a few 3-5 minute You Tube Videos. I subscribe to a variety of channels, including: Propel Women, IF Gathering, All Worthington, Bianca Juarez Olthoff, Catalyst Leader, Christine Caine and Going Beyond Ministries.
Recently I’ve listened to “Who are You Racing?” featuring Robert Madu from the Catalyst 2014 Atlanta Conference. If you’ve never heard him speak be prepared to be blessed – this message speaks to the comparison game that we moms are so prone to give in to.Comparison will consistently cloud the clarity of God's call on your life. A career is what you get paid to do, a calling is what you were made to do. @RobertMadu #MotherhoodMatters #MomOnEmpty Click To Tweet
I’ve also enjoyed Lysa Terkeurst honest message “When Your Life is Shattered to Dust” from the 2017 Catalyst Conference. Her words resonate with anyone who has had the rug pulled out from under them, seen their world shattered and wonders if anything new can be created from the dust.
A Listening Ear
Podcasts – are you a fan? Like books, there are podcasts on every topic you can imagine, on virtually any platform you might use, and unlike books, in most instances they are free. My favorite time to listen to podcasts is while I am making dinner, when grocery shopping or while on my way to work.
The other day, as I drove home from work, I tuned into a great episode on the God Centered Mom Podcast by Heather MacFadyen featuring physician and author Saundra Dalton-Smith. Episode 209, “Which Type of Rest Do You Need?” is a must listen for the mom on empty. You can listen here.
Here are two more of my favorite podcasts – both really speak to the unique needs and struggles moms face:
A Night Time Routine
Can we admit that while we might by sticklers about our children’s bedtime routines, we are not so good about our own? And we all know what happens when the bedtime goes astray. It’s time for a confessional style moment.
At 42 years of age, I don’t have much of a bedtime routine. I stay up too late, don’t properly unwind, and as much as I like to wear makeup, I am horrible about removing what’s left of it at the end of the day.
That’s right, I regularly wakeup with yesterday’s lipstick and mascara smeared on my pillow case. Fortunately, I don’t struggle too much with acne but my skin could certainly be in better condition – and certainly so could my quality of rest. And let’s be honest, it’s only a matter of time before it all catches up to me.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve started to put together something of a routine. I bought a few products, a microdermabrasion kit of some sort and even a new moisturizer for my slightly older self. It claims to brighten my skin and maybe even my attitude! I’m trying to get to bed earlier and have a serious, yet unimplemented, plan for reducing my caffein intake.Self-care means not letting yourself run on empty. #MotherhoodMatters #MomOnEmpty Click To Tweet
Get Quiet and Get Alone with God
There are a lot of different things we can do to pour into ourselves and fill our empty tank. However, none of what I shared above, is as effective in doing this as is spending time with God.Our Creator holds the key to restoring His creation. #MotherhoodMatters #MomOnEmpty Click To Tweet
God created us to rest and even provided an example for us to do so. And yet we run, and run, and run, until we are a mom on empty.
We believe we have too much to do to slow down.
Too much to do to take a breath.
Too much to do to stop and listen.
Perhaps what we really need to strive for is not another item on our endless checklist, but rather to be still.
We need to stop.
To quiet ourselves and listen.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
Psalm 42:1 (NIV)
Momma, is your soul thirsting for God? Are you experiencing a longing that nothing else will satisfy? Without thinking, we readily sacrifice our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness for the sake of others. We sacrifice it on the altar of busy. Let’s stop glorifying busy. Let’s stop parading it around like a badge of honor or trophy to be won.Motherhood is a calling, it's what you were made to do. Busyness is not, it's a condition, a disease, that takes away from our calling. #MotherhoodMatters #MomOnEmpty Click To Tweet
Shauna Niequist said it so eloquently “God has compassion on our limitations–whether we do or not.” (Savor: Living Abundantly Where Your Are, As You Are) Or, as my sweet Sofia likes to say when she senses things are out of wack “Settle down, settle down!”
Settle down my friend. Let God have compassion on your weary, worn out soul. Let Him love on you the same way you’d scoop up your tired and worn out child. Let yourself rest in His embrace and hear the words He whispers in your ears.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28