As a mom of five, I was no stranger to busyness. But when I finally reached a season with four of my kids in school and only one toddler at home, life started to feel comfortable. I found space to think. I started resting during predictable nap times. I had time to pursue ministry that I’d placed on hold. I was no longer overwhelmed with the busyness of the early years of motherhood. Then I got pregnant and all the margin I’d achieved flew out the window. I knew in my head pregnancy was a gift—one that many women long for—but I grew more anxious each day anticipating the busyness of six children. I refused to trust God’s provision for this unexpected plan.
If you feel overwhelmed, I’m right there with you. I’ve ended every day in tears over the weight of my responsibilities at home. I’ve felt like I can’t get my act together spiritually. I’ve forgotten to pay all the bills on time. I’ve been exhausted by the everyday: the rushing around settling problems, feeding my people, and trying to find a few moments for myself. As I juggle six children, my thought life festers with anxiety:
I’m not capable enough.
I’m not rested enough.
Today seems impossible.
Adding one more thing is just too much.
I can’t do it.
Maybe you look around your home and feel defeated by unfinished tasks and the needs of your family. You might feel guilty because you aren’t investing in your kids in all the ways you’d like. Maybe you long for perfect balance and order. I sure do. Unfortunately, this kind of life vanished when sin entered the world. We’ll always struggle with feeling overwhelmed by busyness no matter how many children we have or the number of responsibilities before us.
Afraid of Busyness
Society tells us to simplify, cut back on our commitments, and spend more time caring for ourselves so we don’t get burned out. When our carefully placed margins are threatened by new responsibilities or overwhelming circumstances, our thoughts get caught up in the defeating cycle of fear.
When we fear our busy circumstances, we believe the lie that life can only keep going because of us. We believe in our performance, well-planned schedules, and ability to hold things together. We deny God’s power at work within us when we think our circumstances are simply too much. When we set our minds on our abilities and fear our circumstances more than we fear God, sin will result. When the pressures of life take away our ability to perform, we’ll react in the weakness of our flesh.
But moms, this is not who we are. If we are in Christ Jesus, we are free.
An overwhelmed mom who is set free from the power of sin and death is not condemned by her inability to keep her act together. She doesn’t need to feel trapped in a cycle of sinful reactions, because she fears God more than her circumstances. For the mom who feels bogged down by the pressures of life, she’s free to live with her mind set on the Spirit, which results in life and peace. We can escape the snare of these sinful patterns by meditating on the character and work of God.
If we fear getting out of bed in the morning because we’re too tired from a sleepless night, we’ll complain about our lack of rest.
If we fear an all-sufficient God who never grows tired or weary, we’ll function in his strength rather than fixate on our inabilities.
If we fear the insurmountable needs of our children, we’ll wallow in self-pity and despair.
If we fear an all-knowing God, we can rest in his awareness of every detail of their lives and his ability to meet their needs. We can love and tend to them out of the overflow of God’s love for us.
If we fear adding anything else to our schedules, we’ll fail to ask God for wisdom with the use of our time.
If we fear the God who calls and equips, we can obediently step out into the good works he’s ordained for us.
If we fear our child’s repeated disobedience, we’ll react in anger and irritability.
If we fear God, whose kindness leads us to repentance, we can patiently shepherd the souls of our children.
We’re changed not by the removal of busyness, but by beholding the glory of God.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Beholding God’s glory transforms our overwhelmed hearts and allows us to experience the life and peace that come from living with a mind set on the Spirit.