What do you do when you hit your breaking point? We all do it. Running on less sleep than we should, feeling overwhelmed by everything we need to get done, and then the kids act like, well, kids. They’re incapable of seeing that you’re approaching critical mass and are about to snap. So what do you do?

Matthew 11:28. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Time to Take a Break

I love how Karen O’Connor put it in this downloadable Mother’s Day devotional from Twin Lakes Church. After telling a very relatable story about how challenging parenting is, she wrote:

“[Matthew 11:28] reminds us that the Lord wants us to take a break. Come to Him and he will give us rest. It might take some creative planning, but getting regular breaks, even short ones, will renew you and make you a better mom.”

Self Care vs. God-Focused Breaks

So, what exactly counts as a break? For years I’ve seen mom advice floating around about how you need to prioritize self care. And more recently the advice has become, “Yes, you need self care, but errands or showers by yourself don’t count!” Just what busy moms need: more things to squeeze into the day, right? But I think that self care isn’t what we need. I think instead we need God-focused breaks.

While any sort of break can help you rest (a longer-than-normal shower, a walk, a few minutes to sit by yourself, or even a slow-paced trip to the grocery store), I’ve noticed my breaks that focus on God rather than turning inward towards myself are much more restful. Instead of sitting and thinking about how tired I am, they give me a chance to work through what I’m feeling; I often come away from them even more energized and in a better mindset to parent my kids.

Quick Break Ideas

God-focused breaks don’t need to take a ton of time! He knows you’re busy and exhausted. Here are a few of my favorite types of breaks.

5 minutes or less

  • Pray! Get as isolated as you can (perhaps the bathroom or garage?) and spend a few minutes talking to God about how you feel. Let it all out–He can take it! Even if you aren’t able to separate yourself from your kids, talking to God in your head for a few minutes can help.
  • Check out YouVersion’s verse of the day. Don’t just skim it. Read it carefully and think about it. I know it’s hard to slow your mind down sometimes–I often ask God to help clear my mind so I can focus on His word in front of me.
  • Pull up one of your favorite Christian songs and dance along with it. Think about the words as you sing along, and reflect on their meaning.

5–15 minutes

  • Pray! Sit down and write out a few specific requests. Pray for your husband, your kids, work, and anything else on your mind.
  • Read a devotional, whether it’s in a physical book like Truth For Life’s Daily Devotional New Testament (the one I’m currently working on) or an app like YouVersion. They have a ton of devotional plans on there you can choose from, and most of the ones I’ve seen can be done in 15 minutes or less.
  • Go for a short walk. This is one of my favorites! But I don’t just walk: I also spend the time listening to a Bible-focused podcast. If you want one that’s less than 15 minutes, I’d recommend the Bible Study Podcast (they’re usually 15 minutes or less). 

15–30 minutes

  • Pray! Notice a theme? To be honest, writing this as the first idea of each time chunk is as much a reminder for me as it is for you. I try to talk to God continually, but prayer is an area I need to get better at, too. Anyway, if you have more time, that means you have time to pray about more things. It’s always good to pray for your husband and kids, but expand beyond them. Pray for your coworkers that don’t know Jesus. Pray for our leaders. Pray about anything and everything.
  • Study the Bible. Ask God to take away the distractions and open your eyes to what He wants you to see. Read through a section a couple of times (it doesn’t have to be a large chunk) and write down anything that stands out to you. Do any specific verses resonate with something you’re going through? Do you have questions about anything in the passage? Even just writing them down can help you notice when God reveals the answer later (that’s happened to me multiple times–I’ve written down that a verse doesn’t make sense to me, and a few weeks later I happen to hear something that provides the necessary context for me to understand it).
  • Go for a longer walk! My favorite 25-minute podcasts to listen to while I walk are Truth for Life, Living on the Edge, and Destined for Victory.

Speak Up

What are ways you like to rest and recharge? How do you optimize your time as a busy mom?

2 thoughts on “Breaking Point: It’s Not About Self Care

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