Why Are We So Exhausted? (And What To Do About It)



“Can you teach the pre-school Sunday school class this next term?” 

“We need more volunteers to help with the Saturday morning benefit breakfast…”

“Calling on all small groups to help provide food for the memorial service held next week…”


Does any of this sound at all familiar to you? How about this…


”Mom, I need my uniform washed before the game tonight…” 

“Honey, could you iron my shirt for work tomorrow?” 

“Dad, when can you take me for my driver’s license test?”

“But tomorrow night was when we wanted to have the sleepover!

“Is dinner STILL not ready?” 

“Dad, when will you be able to fix my car?” 

“That writing assignment has got to be done today!”

“I’m sorry, but you’ve waited too long and it’s no longer covered by insurance.” 


Busy Parenting


Ahhh…This crazy life. The rollercoaster rides that take our breath away. It’s these truly wonderful, yet ridiculously hard moments that are weaving together our beautiful fabric of life.


When the dog barks incessantly at the white squirrel outside the window, jumping wildly from window to window, the five and seven year olds are bellowing out two different songs…while the teenage daughter is using the high powered blender. And in the midst of it all, you’re attempting to concentrate on writing! Yes, those moments. But then your dear husband calls and asks how your day is going…


For us, this blissful chaos is happening while two adults, two teenagers, and two younger children are living in a forty-foot motorhome. So there’s no retreating to your bedroom to block out the noise. It’s a crazy life, but an oh-so-good life!


But do you know that we Christians are “up there” on the charts of some of the most exhausted and worn out people around? Why is that? Because we scurry in a gazillion different directions…from one church event or family project to another. As I talked about in my previous blog, we socialize in our churches to the point of replacing God Himself with these church activities. When we don’t spend quality time talking with God, we are giving Him the leftovers from the church idols we’ve created.


You see, we’ve all learned how to be the perfect little Christian, performing one good deed after another. We strive to serve others in the church, while exemplifying our best efforts at modeling a “perfect” marriage and family. We try to be all things to all people. We never want to let anyone down.


My personal story has included some of this very thing. And I’ve faced my share of exhaustion because of it. I believe God has given me the gift of discernment, but like all things, there can be negatives to discernment.


I can be in a room full of people, or talking individually with someone and I’m often able to detect the needs they have–or the expectations they have of me. But I can then begin to feel responsible to meet their needs. The last thing I want to do is fail to meet their expectations, and this can lead me down a stressful path.


Unfortunately, sometimes we, as a church, can be guilty of placing high expectations on each other. Of course, as born again believers, we are called to walk uprightly and to possess Spirit-filled traits. But there’s a difference between encouraging others to live godly lives, and placing unrealistic expectations on them or ourselves. We think we need to appear as a superman or woman who effortlessly juggles all of these many church events, while untiringly serving and meeting the many needs of our families.


My friend, God’s not looking for another “cookie cutter” Christian. He’s looking for an authentic heart, flowing with agape love. In the past, I’ve served God and others too often because of Christian duty, other’s expectations, or my own fear of failure. My focus has now changed and I’m (trying to be) okay when I’m not able to say “yes” to everything. {Even good things–like speaking engagements. Ouch!} I’m learning what establishing boundaries actually looks like. I’m trying to come to grips with the fact that I will be letting others down. I will disappoint my spouse, family and others. But I really don’t have to excel in every area of my life in order to gain God’s love and acceptance. And that’s what’s most important. I’m an imperfect and very fallible human being and I have limitations. But God knew what He was doing when He created me with limitations.


Cookie Cutter Christian

Photo Credit: Wicker Paradise

So what can YOU do to prevent exhaustion and “burn out?” How can you stay active within the church and maintain a servant’s heart without sacrificing your family? Or your sanity…Here are a few ways:


Realize that having limitations doesn’t mean you’re failing.


Refuse to feel guilty when you say “no” to a great opportunity.


Stop having unrealistic expectations of yourself.


Establish clearer boundaries in your life.


Ask your family what priorities need to be adjusted in your life.


Recognize that church activities does not equate with personal time with God.


Remember that just because you see a need, it doesn’t mean that God is expecting YOU to fulfill it.


Listen for God’s voice in the midst of the clamor and allow Him to guide you.


Why should God’s children be stressed out, worn out and frazzled? Remember, we are being led by the Gentle Shepherd who is the Giver of peace, rest, and “still waters.”


~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)


  • Verna
    Posted at 07:20h, 27 August

    I appreciate being able to read this article this morning. I have been asked by a church sister to take over a monthly activity that would require a fair amount of organizing and leadership. Someone needs to do it and I look like I should be qualified. But I am already tired mentally and emotionally from other stressors and it’s not my gift. So I need discernment. Is God asking me to do this and does He want to stretch and teach me in a new way? If I say No, am I being selfish? Or will accepting mean that I have to neglect other important responsibilities?
    Thank you for writing this article.

  • Cindy Mullett
    Posted at 15:57h, 27 August

    I will pray for wisdom for you, Verna. I know it’s not always easy to discern what God’s will is. I’m just afraid that many times our decisions are made because of feeling obligated and not having a “good enough” reason to decline, rather than on hearing from God. During times like this, I like to express my concerns and struggle with my husband and have him pray with me about it. God usually confirms His will through my husband, and it’s easier when He reveals His will to both of us.

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