I’ve seen a lot of posts lately, using Bible verses to encourage moms to do more—to lift them up, prepare them for more work, and to heal their hearts so they can continue on. I love those articles! They motivate me. But sometimes a mom needs a different kind of encouragement. When a mom is exhausted from burnout, she needs a special type of Bible study that focuses on one of Jesus's enduring habits.
It's No Wonder Mothers Experience Burnout
One of the hardest jobs on earth is being a mother. We are cooks, cleaners, problem solvers, laundry washers, dishwashers, organizers, and caregivers. On occasion, we are also nurses, chaos preventers, janitors, emergency workers, and disaster clean-up crews. We work days, evenings, and nights. We work 7 days a week and are on-call 24 hours a day.
It’s no surprise that mothers experience the same symptoms you see in long-term healthcare providers, daycare workers, police officers, and paramedics—burnout.
You may have experienced the kind of exhaustion that falls in the burnout category:
- when you feel you simply can’t keep going
- when you’re not enjoying your tasks
- when you just want to go back to sleep instead of getting up and going to work
- when you crave an escape from your daily grind, but the thought of a holiday or family vacation is unappealing because that would mean more work for you
If this is you, you’re not alone.
Burnout Can Make a Homeschool Mom Feel Guilty
To make the situation worse, mothers often feel guilty for these feelings.
Taking a break from your children sounds like an unkind thing to do to them, and asking a spouse for help may feel like giving them more work to do on top of their already busy schedule. Asking a friend or family member for help may feel like imposing.
Taking time to ourselves feels selfish or unloving or uncaring. But the truth is, taking care of ourselves is one the most important things we can do to take better care of our family. Every person needs time for themselves. Don’t believe me? Take note of what Jesus did, and how often he needed to be alone.
Here's your Bible study about self-care, based on six different verses that you probably don't read in the typical exhausted mom article.
1. Time to Yourself
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Matthew 14:22-24
- Jesus sent the crowd and disciples away so he could recharge and be with God alone. He needed time to himself. He needed time away from those closest to him. So we might also enjoy a few minutes to ourselves, or a chance to take a short break.
2. Time with Friends
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. Mark 4:35-36
- Being alone was a regular occurrence for Jesus. He didn't get away by himself just once, but several times. Each time is related to a different story, so it's not just a different retelling of the same story. If Jesus needed time away on a regular basis, then so do we. Sometimes, as here, we may feel a need to just need to go hang out with our friends without the crowds of children who need us. (Even if our crowd is just one child.)
3. A Habit of Silence and Reflection
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Mark 1:35-37
- Jesus enjoyed silence and being alone. He cherished this time of being alone in prayer and thought. So, also, do we need time alone in silence and reflection.
4. Leaving the Group for Solitary Prayer
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:15-16
- People needed Jesus, even more than our children need us. The multitude had constant needs for healing and teaching. And yet Jesus demonstrated that unless people take the time to take care of themselves and their needs, they will get exhausted taking care of others. Jesus expects us to take time for ourselves even though the needs of those around us are great.
5. Making Time for Grief and Processing Emotions
(This verse occurs just after they buried John the Baptist after he was beheaded.)
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Matthew 14:13a
- Life can be unbearably painful. Even Jesus needed time alone to deal with his grief. His friends were also mourning, people needed to be healed, and yet, he took time for himself first. When the hard times hit, we might find ourselves needing even more time alone to process things.
6. Saying No and Taking Longer Breaks Alone
“You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. John 7:8-10
- For Jesus to be alone was not uncommon, but in this instance he traveled a 90-mile trip by foot from Galilee to Jerusalem—a 5 day journey—solo. This passage shows us that sometimes people need more than just a bit of time on their own. Sometimes, they need longer breaks.
There are many other instances in the gospels that mention or imply Jesus's being on his own. He regularly practiced self-care when he retreated from his busy life, filled with constant demands of his time and energy.
Just like Jesus, we homeschool moms need time to refresh and rejuvenate. We need to take care of ourselves, and we have a Biblical precedence to do so. Meditate on these six Bible verses and ask God to show you how you can be more like Jesus when it comes to self-care in the face of your burned out exhaustion.