**WARNING: METAPHOR ALERT – THERE WILL BE MANY AND MIXED METAPHORS AHEAD!!**
This is one of the major struggles of long time homeschoolers. When we first start out on this adventure, we NEVER realize what the long haul will really be like. We may even start thinking that we’re going to homeschool through high school, but we really don’t REALIZE what that will mean!
I’ve been homeschooling 21 years, I still have 8 years to go and sometimes I STILL don’t realize what it fully means.
We do it all, but we don’t always do it all well. Being a wife and mother by itself is a full time job – add to that the pressures of educating our children and burnout WILL happen.
With burnout comes: frustration, fear, irritability, exhaustion, anxiety, loss of focus and passion and direction. Burnout does NOT mean we are finished and we might as well throw in the towel. Nor does it mean we have failed. It DOES mean we are human and haven’t learned pacing – how to run the marathon instead of trying to sprint our way in this journey!
Dealing with burnout requires 2 things:
We need to first give ourselves PERMISSION to be recharged. We are running the batteries of our lives out of juice. We need to plug in to the ONE who can refresh us – can let us drink from the fountain of Living Water and rejuvenate us to continue to serve.
This may take many forms, BUT it is really important that we talk to our husbands and get support from them! We MAY need to actually get away from home ALONE for a short time (up to 2 days) to do this. For years my husband gave me the equivalent of 2 full days (usually in 5 hour segments) ALONE!!
He would take the children and leave me the house (if I wasn’t going to be tempted to clean) so I could: sleep, pray, read, rest, sleep, etc. Sometimes he would stay and I would go. I’d take a CD player (before the advent of the MP3 player) and go to a park with my bible and journal and just listen, pray and write.
There have been times when I actually went to a hotel room for 2 days and 1 night (on rare occasions, 2 nights) and I would sleep, read, pray, worship, sleep, and soak in a whirlpool tub!
You will be surprised what 24 hours of NO ONE looking for you, calling your name or just not being able to make a decision without you can do for your mental state!!
It isn’t enough, however, to just rest. We need to make sure that we are resting IN THE LORD. The hub-bub of life can keep us from really sitting quietly to hear God throughout the year. We cannot walk in power to serve our families if we are not being filled up with the Lord. We need to use this time to refocus our hearts on Jesus and allowing HIM to fill us and refresh us in His Spirit and His mindset.
The other thing we need is redirection. We need to look at our schedules again and rethink what we are doing. What are we allowing in our lives that lead us to burnout? How are we not protecting our time and our priorities? What specific things can we change (short term and long term) so that we are not so pushed and pressured? What outside activities do we need to drop in order to have the strength for this marathon?
Sometimes dealing with burnout requires tough choices. Remember, for the believer, the good is the ENEMY of the best! God calls us to the best He has for us. But too often all these *good* things crowd our lives, leaving us with no time to do the BEST things God has called us to. We may need to do a lot of purging of these *good* things so we are free to do the best God has for us.
As the school term comes to an end, are YOU feeling burnt out? What can you do to bring a time of refreshment and rejuvenation? And what redirecting do you need to do of your time and priorities to avoid this in the future?