I didn’t want to wake up.
But the bird outside wouldn’t shut up. I squeezed my eyes closed and put the blanket over my ears to see if I could cue another dream. Two minutes later, I rolled out of bed, frustrated, grumpy and slightly depressed.
My only saving grace was that it was 6:40 am and my kids would be asleep for another hour at least. So I headed upstairs to my office, resigned to leave my morning coffee for later. No need to make noise grinding coffee beans. Silence, my heart, and God were all I needed.
#Momlife was exhausting me. But so was #homemakerlife and #quarantinelife and all the other lives that I think I’ve lived in the last few months. Pent-up stress with no where to go. I was reaching a breaking point that was. not. good. Honestly, I wanted to stay in my office, stare out of the window at the trees, and not see a soul…for days.
Practical Solutions that Seems Impractical
What do we do when our emotional gauge is so low that we feel like we are a glass vase about to shatter? Or a volcano about to erupt? When I reach a place in my emotions where Doug’s extra assistance, a weekend trip, and sleeping-in doesn’t help, I know that something deeper is going on in my soul. Usually I’m pretty good at dissecting the unseen parts of my being, but when I get a sense that “I’m close to a breaking point”, I know I need to tell someone who lives outside of my life.
1) Ask for Prayer.
I’m blessed to know a TON of prayer warriors. And if I didn’t have them, my church has a prayer help line. So my simple advice if you ever feel close to a breaking point is: phone a friend. A praying friend. A simple text is enough. Keep it simple: “I desperately need prayer because I am feeling (fill in the blank).”
The reason why I choose to ask for prayer first (versus texting “can we Facetime” or “Can I call you”) is this: when I talk to someone in this emotionally frayed state, I leave that initial conversation disappointed because I go into the conversation unconsciously expecting them to solve my problem.
Maybe it’s just me who does this, but when I am this low-which doesn’t happen often, but it does happen-I inadvertently make it someone’s job to get me out of my darkness. It’s totally unintentional. I don’t realize it until I feel the weight of disappointment settle on my shoulders after the conversation. The disappointment helped me realize that inwardly I’d hoped that they, friend or counselor, could “save” me from my despair. Maybe this has happened to you. Instead of feeling disappointed, perhaps you’ve gotten angry. Or confused. While emotional support and spiritual discernment is absolutely necessary when we are having a “dark night of the soul” day or season, no other human being can heal our souls. Note: I will always endorse professional counseling. If you are still sinking quickly despite the fervent prayers of faithful friends, then please pursue a professional counselor. Call a local church for recommendations.
Prayer does what a moment of practical help cannot, because it takes us to the only One that can truly bring us relief.
Prayer from a trusted friend reminds me of Mark 2:4. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
When we are frazzled, paralyzed in a mood, or emotionally depleted, we need others to take us to the feet of Jesus. We need them to carry us, through the act of intercessory prayer, to the place of healing and breakthrough.
Some people don’t understand how prayer and intercession actually works. Here is a super simple, one sentence analogy for prayer. (Please don’t be offended by the “commerce/store” aspect of my analogy. I do recommend the books: With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray and Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets for a thorough teaching.)
Prayer is like driving your car to the store, buying what you need, and then going home.
Maybe that analogy doesn’t work for you. 😮
What about this: prayer is dialogue with God that involves asking (supplication), thanking and honoring (worship), and intercession (supplication on behalf of someone else).
I’ll explain the 3 parts of my first analogy this way:
1) going to God (the storehouse, Luke 12:24) who supplies what you need and orchestrates how your need will be met (2 Cor 9:10)
2) currency (confidence/certainty that you will receive what you need, Mark 11:24)
3) patience for the car ride to and fro (the duration of realizing your need and it’s manifestation in your life, Heb 6:12).
*Intercession means that your friend is driving you because you are too weak to take the wheel!
2) Dig and discern.
You’ve asked a friend to intercede for you. Now what? Even if your spouse gives you the night off, there is still the next day, and the day after that. And the daily chores we give our kids don’t erase the continual burden of responsibility we feel as as parent. The next solution is to dig and discern. We must make time for God to go deep and show us the reasons for how we feel.
Sitting in my office that morning, I realized that my “breaking point”, my “funk”, or whatever you want to call it was rooted in a wrong perspective. For months, I’d felt trapped. Subconsciously, I had begun to believe that responsibilities and other people kept me from opportunities that made my heart soar. After an hour of looking outside at the trees in silence, God helped me realize that this perspective was simply not true. I began to do two things: 1) think about scriptures that would replace the lie and 2) ask God to heal my heart from a case of “hopes deferred”. I knew God would fulfill my healthy longings and dreams, but I had to wait for the right season. It wasn’t a matter of being trapped, it was simply not the right time.
After digging with the Lord, if I can’t easily find a wrong perspective or a lie that I’ve believed, I ask God to help me discern any demonic source. Christians don’t talk about demons often, but remember the verse, “Put on a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness?” I take it literally. John 10:10 even teaches that there are God-opposing, spiritual entities whose mission is to steal, kill, and destroy my vitality. Besides Paul’s depiction in Eph. 6: 12-18 of the unseen war zone that we were born into, 1 Peter 5:8 says, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Truly, there have been a couple of times where I’ve prayed against a spirit of heaviness and felt an immediate change. My prayer goes something like this: “Father forgive me if I’ve sinned in a way that has opened the door to a demonic attack. I confess ______. Thank you for your forgiveness by the Blood of Jesus. Now, in the name of Jesus, whether you are a trespasser or have come around me due to sin, I am forgiven by the blood of Jesus, so go!” (By the way, you don’t have to shout, the name of Jesus carries 100% authority and evil spirits tremble at His name (James 2:19).
These solutions have helped me through the “dark night of the soul” days and seasons. Sometimes it took time–but the desperate sensation of falling apart would get less day by day. I learned that consistent time with the Lord coupled with the fervent prayers of friends, allowed a deep relief to begin to flow up and out of my innermost being. Eventually, the lens from which I viewed #momlife was no longer dull and my heart towards my roles were strengthened by the fruit of the Spirit, peace, long-suffering, kindness etc. God breathed refreshment, healing and deliverance inside of me (2 Tim. 1:4) that helped me want to keep on living and loving.
Tina is the mother of six amazing children and has been a tremendous inspiration to my wife and me in our parenting journey. Cultivating the Souls of Parents offers a comprehensive roadmap to the secret treasure buried in all of parenting: the opportunity for unparalleled personal growth and transformation. ― Rev. Dean Nelson, National Outreach Director
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