Once upon a time, I greeted every new morning with a bright rendition of a song I learned way back when I was tiny: “Good morning, good morning, good morning, it’s time to rise and shine!”
Not only was it time to rise and shine, but I was ready to rise and shine. Not now. Now my first words are usually, “Oh … I’m sorry, but I’m tired, Lord.”
I know I’m the only girl who greets the Lord and a new day this way all too often. And now the holiday season is approaching, promising even more exhaustion ahead.
Between those who tell me to slow down and those who tell me to hurry up, it’s hard to know where to start, but I thought these practical tips might help you as well as me as we seek to live in the midst of the tiredness.
Talk to your doctor. Just so you know there’s nothing wrong. It’s good to be sure the tiredness is not the symptom of a health problem.
Take care of your body. According to 1 Corinthians 6:19, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
- Sleep. Only God can “neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4). Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night, so try to get that much, but not too much more. Late nights with books and games and friends are fun, but for everyday real life, early nights and early mornings are good for catching a full night of sleep and a perky start the next day. It’s not always possible in a family, but be flexible and make seven to eight hours of sleep your goal for the night, not a 5am start to the day!
- Eat. Try to eat a balanced and healthy diet. Include foods that give you energy like peanut butter and bananas. Avoid sugar if it makes you sluggish. I’ve found that eating enough, but not too much, is best – eating even when I’m too tired to feel hungry gives me energy and eating moderately when I feel hungry stops me slumping and wanting to sleep!
- Groom. Shower, clean your teeth, do your hair (and your make up if you wear any), wash and iron your clothes—be pretty! Personally, I find a little bit of quality time with a shower and a toothbrush an essential beginning to a day, but I know that it’s easier to toss on a crumpled skirt than to iron it, if you’re already tired and you’ve got a long to-do list. However, wearing fresh clothes and taking the time to be pretty really does make me feel perkier – and it probably will make you feel perkier, too!
- Take care of your space. Keep it tidy, keep it clean, keep it organized. It will go a long way to help you cope and function in the midst of the tiredness. I know it’s hard to tidy and clean and organize when you’re tired, but do a little bit every day and enjoy the difference it makes! Less is blessed. Simple is best. Piles are good. Just have a place for your stuff and make sure it’s in that place.
- Smile. It doesn’t take a lot of energy. It’s possible to be happy in the midst of the tiredness, so go for it and look happy! Smile at your reflection when you pass a mirror. It’s been proven in studies that smiling makes you feel sparkly and you’ll respond positively if you see yourself smiling. Seriously!
Be aware of what makes you tired. Some things can’t (and shouldn’t) always be avoided – things like the resolution of personal conflict in family or ministry or work relationships. But some things can (and should) be avoided. Two things that make me tired are blog-hopping and Facebook-stalking. Lots of people find gazing at TV and computer screens for long periods of time physically draining. For some reason it’s easier to mindlessly do those things than to get up and intentionally rest. But if you’re aware that the computer, for example, is making you tired, turn it off when you’ve finished work and intentionally rest – by, for example, cooking or knitting or doing whatever is constructive but doesn’t make you tired.
Accept that only God can do everything—and you can’t do everything. That’s a fact.
Only God gets His to-do list done each day.
Stop trying to save the world. Do what you can – what you’re gifted and called to do. Do what God has created you to do and is asking you to do in His strength day by day.
Talk to your father, your husband or your pastor. Just so you know there’s nothing wrong. The guys in our lives often have a clarity of perspective we’ve missed in the fog of the things left on our to-do lists and the tiredness. Often they can point out a problem area – where we’re wasting precious time or striving too hard … or both. Seek their counsel.
Take care of your relationship with God. Make your relationship with God your Number 1 Priority. This won’t solve all your problems, because that isn’t the way God works. But God – and thus your relationship with Him – is the true source of energy and enthusiasm. Some girls get up early and other girls stay up late. But make sure you have a Quiet Time every day to …
- Read your Bible …
- … and Pray …
- … or Worship.
Do this and you’ll be better equipped each and every day for living in the midst of the tiredness … promise!
Take care of God’s Number 1, 2 and 3 Priorities for you life. God’s top priorities for your life will likely be different from His top priorities for my life, because we have different lives, different gifts and responsibilities, different callings. But take care of your family, your home, your friends, your ministry, your work, etc. … and hold all other things lightly. For me, “all other things” includes blogging. For you, it may include, well, anything God lays on your heart as not top of His list for you today! If He says to hold it lightly and let it go when you’re more than usually tired, do it, because He really does know best.
Intentionally live in spite of your tiredness. It’s so easy, in the midst of the fog of the tiredness, to muddle though life an hour or a day at a time. It’s so easy to focus on what must be done and let everything else go for now. It’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture. The big picture … ? God has a plan for your life. He may be allowing you to experience a season of tiredness at the moment, but He has so much more planned for you …
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’
Whether it’s making a home and raising a family or working a job, try to look beyond the tiredness and enjoy the little blessings and the bigger hopes!
Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation that you believe to be the will of God.
- Pray for yourself using words of Scripture about strength. Not in an attempt to “name and claim” promises that aren’t yours to claim. But, for example, to ask God to help you wait upon Him and renew your strength (Isaiah 40:31 ).
- Choose thankfulness in spite of tiredness.
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:13)
- Don’t multi-task at the expense of your family and friends – “be all there” for the people in your life.
- Let go of things you don’t need to do – for me, that’s blogging and Twittering.
- Be inspired by godly women – from the Bible, from church history and in your life – who struggle with things like tiredness and yet live their lives “to the hilt”.
Stop and think for a moment – what has GOD created you to do? Find our what is HE calling you to do day by day … run to Him … walk with Him. Live moment by moment as He directs.
In my experience, there’s no “easy” answer to the questions and problems that the tiredness creates when it goes on and on and on … and feels as if it’ll go on forever. But at the end of a long, long, long day when I’m so tired I cry, I like to remember that one good thing about tiredness is that is raises the eyes of my soul to heaven – where I won’t be tired in the presence of my Lord.