Take a break (His Encouragement)

Take a break (His Encouragement)

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This post is part of the series His Encouragement

Other posts in this series:

  1. His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for your Thursday
  2. His Encouragement: Psalm 147:3
  3. His Encouragement: Psalm 37:3

Welcome! Welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every week, I join a few blogging friends to bring you a Bible passage and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these devotionals help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you.

Today’s Scripture

My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
    and horror overwhelms me.
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest;
7yes, I would wander far away;
    I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah

Psalm 55:4-7, ESV

I am going to be honest for a moment. Our “new normal” isn’t normal.

We are all coping with the changes in our lives and daily routines differently. Why? Because each of us are experiencing a unique set of circumstances. Some might be enjoying (or not) the company of family while others are struggling with the deep loneliness of isolating alone. Some may be on the verge of burnout juggling work and schooling children. Others may be unemployed, filing for benefits, and worrying about paying bills and putting food on the table. Some maybe anxious to get on with life to prevent financial ruin while others are in the hospital fighting for their lives. There are now many grieving the loss a loved one they could not even say goodbye to in-person.

No matter what our situation, the majority of us are currently dealing with heightened stress and anxiety. This is not just a day or two of stress here or there but ongoing stress and anxiety over weeks and, soon, months.

It is ok to feel whatever it is you are feeling. We have never had to deal with a crisis of this magnitude in our lifetime and possibly even in our parents’ lifetime.

Burned out? Overwhelmed? Angry? Frustrated? Apathetic? Depressed? Worried? Fearful? Exhausted?

I know the solution for every person is different, but I want to share with you a little hope and encouragement. In Psalm 55, we find a passage that really resonates with the feelings that many of us are struggling with right now.

Verses 4 and 5 read: “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.”

And the author of this psalm continues with this desire to flee from these emotions and whatever is causing them. “…Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness…” (verses 6-7)

What you are feeling… what I am feeling… is not new. People living in crisis have felt this way throughout human history. How we get through the trauma that crisis causes depends upon whether our coping skills are healthy or not. I recently read How to cope with a crisis or trauma, and I want to focus on just three of the healthy ways to cope that they discuss.

Process your feelings

The key takeaway here is: “As you move through the crisis, you may be tempted to ignore your feelings for fear that you’ll ‘wallow’ too much and get ‘stuck’, but processing your feelings allows you to move through them and let them go.” (Source)

You can confide in a family member or friend, consult a therapist, or write your thoughts down in a journal. I also highly recommend spending time with the Lord in prayer, pouring our all of your feelings to Him. Like David did in the Psalms. Like Solomon did in Ecclesiastes. Like Job did.

You want to know a secret? The other night, I had a good cry. And I’m so glad I did.

Focus on what is important

The key takeaway here is: “When dealing with the aftermath of a crisis, it’s important to focus your resources. Just getting through the day is an accomplishment, so paring down your responsibilities in order to just do that should be key.” (Source)

You don’t have to be a superwoman, supermom, super-employee, super-teacher, and super-housekeeper all at the same time. Don’t try to be perfect! Figure out what is the most important things for you and your family. Focus on them and let some of the things of lesser import go for awhile.

Another secret? I haven’t cleaned a bathroom in this house for three weeks. I’ve made sure they are tidy and sinks are wiped down. I mean a real clean. We’re definitely over-due and I will get to it, but it just isn’t at the top of my priority list. Now keeping the kitchen clean, on the other hand…

Take care of yourself

The key takeaway here is: “In order to avoid adding to your problems, be sure to eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and do other things to keep your body functioning at its best.” (Source)

I want to end with this one because I know I am guilty of this. Often we think that as Christian women and/or mothers, our primary responsibility is to look after the wellbeing of our families and others – at the expense of our own health and wellbeing. We give, give, give, give and don’t take the time to care for ourselves. I have come to understand that this mentality is a fallacy that is causing tremendous harm to women and families all over the world.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39, emphasis added) As this sentiment and teaching is repeated throughout the Bible, it is clear that the Lord expects us to be loving (aka taking care of) ourselves. In facts, how we care of ourselves should be guiding how we care for others in our lives.

This idea is expounded on in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. “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.” (emphasis added)

So take a break

So it is ok – No, it is more than ok! – to take a break.

If you are working, take a mental health day. If you are trying to school your kids at home, have everyone take a day off. That pile of dishes or laundry can wait until tomorrow. Grab yourself a cup of tea. Go for a neighborhood walk. Play a puzzle with your kid. Read a book. Take a long, luxurious shower or bath. Read your Bible. Blast your favorite music. Do something that helps you relax and feel refreshed.

Take care of yourself. You are worth it. You are invaluable, precious, and deeply loved by God. And you cannot truly care for those around you – like your family – if your own cup is empty.

Take a moment today and let yourself metaphorically “…fly away and be at rest”.

What verse has touched your heart this week? Share in the comments below!

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:

Hi there, blogger. Would you like to join us in sharing encouragement from the Word of God every Thursday? Don’t be shy! Contact Trisha or Nicole today!

Featured photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.

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