Lessons in the Sleeping Bag Aisle

Carol DunfeeFaith, MotherhoodLeave a Comment

All I needed was a sleeping bag. But there I stood in the camping aisle unable to even focus on what the options were. Three small treasures were bouncing up and down the aisle. “Look, Mom!! What about this one?” said one curious child. As soon as I touched a fabric sample, it was ripped out of my hands by another curious child. The third one had to point out all the sleeping bag prints he wanted, which of course didn’t match what his sisters wanted.

Seriously. Choosing a sleeping bag shouldn’t be this hard.

Except when you’ve lost half a night’s sleep for the fourth time in two weeks. Except when the amount of input attacking your brain is too much for its sleep-deprived state. Especially when you are the kind of girl who needs 8-9 hours a night to feel like a real person. Even more so when caffeine is not an option. Ugh.

In the sleeping bag chaos, I thought back to a Facebook post Margaret Feinberg wrote on June 25. She said:

“Years ago someone asked me, “What is the biggest thing that causes you to sin?” After thinking about it I came to the conclusion: “Lack of sleep.” Without enough rest, I become increasingly impatient and unloving, more susceptible to fear, and easily angered…”

Wow! She must be a kindred spirit or something!!

My worst moments as a mother have been when I was overly stressed or utterly exhausted. My foggy mind and weary body are simply unable to cope with normal child-chatter, much less the inevitable spats of sibling rivalry.

Slowly, over many years, I have learned that my temper-flares are red flags warning me to change something. They tell me I have too much on my plate or that I haven’t had enough rest…or that I’m striving for an unattainable perfection.

If I can adjust course with the following tools, I can avert a mommy-meltdown. Maybe these ideas will help you, too…

Simplify

Give yourself a time-out to re-evaluate your priorities. Cut out some items on the unending to-do list. Set aside the frustrating task for a little while. If outside activities become overwhelming, cut back. Too much of a good thing is still too much. Put a limit on events that constantly take you away from home. 
Realize that it just might not be possible to please everyone. Give yourself permission to not do everything perfectly. It is OK to not say “yes” to every opportunity that arises. It is OK to let the housekeeping go a little. It is OK to say “no” to the people begging for volunteers. 

Unplug to recharge

For introverts and extroverts, this can mean different things. An extrovert might need an impromptu coffee date with a friend. An introvert might just need quiet time to fold laundry uninterrupted. Recognize what is draining you and purposely do what recharges you.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” –Proverbs 27:17 NLT

Rest.

Our society seems to frown upon rest while it glorifies busy-ness. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your family is to take a nap. 

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” –Psalm 127:2 ESV

Soak in God’s strength.

We need more than sleep and food to strengthen us. We need to have our sails filled by the winds of the Holy Spirit. Pull away from the busy-ness. Dig into God’s Word. Let Him refresh your soul.
It is a contradiction. When we stop trying to do everything and instead refocus God’s priorities, He empowers us to do far beyond what we thought possible. He might prune our activities, but the things we do in His power become even more effective than anything we might have attained on our own.

So go ahead and snuggle up in your well-chosen sleeping bag. Let God refresh you.

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

–Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT

–Carol

About Carol Dunfee

Carol is a wife, mom, piano teacher, and blogger for Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry. Having grown up in church, life made her dissatisfied with empty religious traditions and trite answers. She discovered that Jesus alone is the way to real life and true contentment. Ever stumbling and learning herself, she invites her readers to experience God’s love and forgiveness like never before. Read more at CarolDunfee.com.

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