Finding Your Way Back From Overwhelmed

I don’t know why every epiphany I have needs to be preceded by an emotional roller coaster; defeated shoulders slinking into a hot, lavender bubble bath; and my mind reeling from mounting stress. I tell myself how overworked, overwhelmed, overwrought with emotion I am, and how unfitting I am to be anyone’s mother!

This is when I realize the very thing I needed to do before the breakdown even began—at the point when it is too late to prevent the falling apart, the defeat. When will I learn how to avoid those overwhelming moments that seem to suffocate me while casting doubt and fear over the purpose and vision I know I was created for?

When I was in the thick of my early days of motherhood, it didn’t take a lot to pile on levels of stress that seemed insurmountable. As our quiver grew in number, my overwhelmed state came from a mountain of laundry, projects, lessons, correction, schoolwork, and the list goes on, as you may know quite well yourself. There never seemed to be an end in sight. My work and my worth felt the weight of my new reality. I was in over my head, and I wasn’t counting on finding my way out anytime soon.

Overwhelmed had become my middle name. It was clearly written all over my life, and I had no clue what to do about it. No one came alongside me and suggested I take a step back. No one gave me practical advice on how motherhood, in all its glory, didn’t need to be such a pit of despair. I was living in survival mode, and you may be also. But may I please appeal to you, right here in this moment? If you are not this woman, you most likely know someone who is. This is your opportunity to be an answer of prayer to the mother who loves her children but may not necessarily be liking motherhood right now. Reach out. She may not be waving her white flag of surrender where you can see it. She may be so buried in her stress and responsibilities that she cannot even reach her hand out from under it all to wave for help.

Why do we wait to feel overwhelmed before we do something about it? Women tend to put others’ needs before their own, and in the end, it backfires, causing us to resent our investment and the tiresome result. We talked earlier about being sowers, but God has also called us to be seekers. We are to be intentional in noticing and reaching out to the other women in our lives. We all have opportunities, every day, to reach into another woman’s life and hold her up while she works to regain her footing. Those of us who are feeling a little relief or perhaps have learned something along the way, well, we should be offering up a hand, a heart, a word or two to give that other mama a bit of relief and confidence in her calling. I like to call this the “no-judgement call.” Where women feel safe in reaching out and reaching in, knowing we have all been there, done that, and not one of us will ever claim to have attained perfection. And if you need to be on the receiving end of help, wave your white flag high for help. Raise it, wave it, and ask. We are called to ask for help. There should be no shame in the plea.

Let Him fill your cup so you can overflow into another woman’s life just the same. I want you to know the peace that can come at the end of the longest day motherhood will ever throw at you.

So what can a woman do when she feels her stress reaching disproportionate levels, or when she has resigned herself to thinking that this is “just the way it is”? Yes, you will feel tired. You will feel lonely. You will feel stretched. This is the reality of it. Each phase of mothering is always replaced with a new season. We are relieved when our babies sleep through the night, and then we are shocked to find out that our teenagers are craving long discussions late into the evening hours and robbing us of our now routine bedtime. It is a never-ending cycle of sacrifice and stretching.

But you don’t have to be overwhelmed all by yourself. It’s time to turn off the noise of the world and tune back into what matters. You can do this and it does matter.

Turn away from the noise and clutter—the habits that make you feel so defeated. Often we lose sight of the root of our stress and find ourselves caught in the perpetual cycle of putting a Band-Aid on the symptoms. When we pull the sliver out of a festering problem, the pain seems more bearable.

Let’s figure this out together. I have discovered that although I am a quick learner, my habits are not strong right out of the gate. Learning to be patient is the first required lesson before we tackle being overwhelmed. When you begin tearing down the things that are bearing weight against you, there will be a lot of stretching and learning going on. But the best is yet to come.

Growing pains will birth new life in you and your home. Someday we will look back on our seasons of struggle and be thankful we allowed them to grow us and not overtake us.

Taken from {Why} Motherhood Matters. Copyright © 2017 by September McCarthy. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

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