With the relentless sobbing of three preschoolers ringing in my ears, I succumbed to a full-blown mommy-meltdown. I sank into the nearest chair overwhelmed and shaking. For months I'd been running ragged on the fumes of an empty tank.
The reality of this truth threatened every fiber of my being. I adored my "three musketeers" (all in diapers), who kept me running. But I also continued to minister to a host of people through golden opportunities I couldn't resist. Lost in waves of failure and pain, I felt my husband's hand on my shoulder. I looked up to find him holding out my Bible, my purse, and the car keys.
"Brenda, it's time for a break." His eyes were kind. "We'll be okay."
Laced with love and no condemnation, Tim added, "Don't come back until the boys are in bed."
Guilt threatened my next move—but with a hefty dose of persuasion, love won out.
"Okay," I said. It was a moment of victory. I slipped through the door, ignoring the heightened wailing that ensued.
The right driving force
Guilt. It's a driving force behind much of our exhaustion. As Christian women, we say too many nos to the rhythms of rest and too many yeses to good things, like baking cupcakes, chaperoning car washes, shopping for a neighbor, or helping with the church's website. Every guilt-driven yes means a no to something important in my life.
Every day holds 24 hours. As gifted as we are at multi-tasking, there are concrete limits to what can get done in any given day. The result? We routinely short-change the top priorities of our lives. We're irritable and impatient with those we love. We forfeit our need for sleep. We pass through many days oblivious to the presence of God.1