Friends, I feel tired all the time. Sometimes, it’s just a little fatigued. Other times, I can barely get my kids to bed before I crash. I’ve wondered, “Am I just a low energy person? Why am I so tired all the time?” Then, it occurred to me. I’m not just taking care of four little (or not so little) people. I’m fighting a war – a battle for their souls.
Paul frequently refers to the Christian life as a fight. In fact, he tells the Ephesians to put on the armor of God daily in order to fight the schemes of the devil. Peter says that our adversary “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8b) We’re exhausted because we are fighting for our children’s souls every single day. We pray with them and for them. We do Bible study with them. Then, we have to make them be still and quiet while we do Bible study with them. We teach them Scripture. We take them to church. If you homeschool, you also educate your children. If your kids go to school, you help them with their homework. You cook for them. Then, you have to make them eat it while they complain. We remind them to speak kindly and to share. We tell them to make good choices. We tell them to be diligent in all that they do. Each of these is an act of war against the one who wants to derail them, take them out of the fight. Satan doesn’t attack those who are already his.
So what do we do when we’re bone-weary? First of all, sweet friends, “fight the good fight of the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:12a) Next, remember you’re not in the fight alone. God himself fights with us because he loves our children too. In fact, we need to remember that they are his, not our’s. He loans them to us to raise, but ultimately, they come from him and are his; like us, they were bought with the blood of his Son. Even on the hard days, keep telling yourself that God is with you. He still loves you. He’s on your side, even when it doesn’t feel like it. The holidays can be especially hard, but as I’ve said before, don’t trust your feelings. Here’s some tips for getting through this time.
- Get plenty of rest.
After your kids go to bed, it’s tempting to stay up and watch TV. Try to resist that urge and get plenty of sleep so you’re not tired and grumpy the following day.
- Eat healthy and exercise.
This one is difficult. However, taking care of yourself makes you healthier, less likely to get sick, and you’ll just generally feel better.
- You don’t have to do it all.
You don’t have to do all the stuff for Christmas you normally do. Just because you did it last year doesn’t mean you have to do it this year. Don’t wear yourself out trying to do a bunch of crafts with your kids or putting up all your decorations.
- Take a break.
Go to the grocery store, and buy some frozen pizzas. Make those for dinner and have a family movie night. You can also just put a movie on for your kids while you eat pizza in bed and watch your own movie. With this one, you don’t have to stand up and cook a normal meal and you don’t have to listen to your kids complain about it.
- Go simple and minimal with gifts.
For extended family or friends, just buy one thing or nothing at all, if necessary. This has been a hard year, but it’s been especially hard for single moms. If they can’t understand that, then it’s their problem to deal with.
- On the hard days, do something for yourself.
Go buy yourself a new sweater or a new color of nail polish. If you’re feeling extravagant, get someone to watch your kids and go get a massage. Just do a little something to refresh your spirits so you can keep fighting this fight and taking care of all the little people who depend on you.
- This season is not forever.
This is one I struggle with. When the hits keep on coming, it’s so hard to believe things will get better. I don’t want to get my hopes up only to have them dashed against the rocks of difficulty. However, without hope, we lose joy. Without joy, we lose strength. Without strength, it’s really hard to fight the war. So keep on hoping.
Take a moment and just breathe deeply. Remember that this season is about the God of the universe, who created you with a special purpose, folding himself into flesh so that he could be Immanuel, God with us. He’s with us today through his Holy Spirit. He will never leave you, and someday, through faith in Christ, we will be with him face-to-face forever.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12