Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hope for Weary Mamas---Talking to Yourself

I've been touching on the subject of weariness as a mama recently and I'd like to share some thoughts from an excellent sermon. As a mom, there is the sheer physical weariness of endless chores. As a woman there can be the bodily weariness of PMS, illness, pregnancy, or lack of sleep. As a Christian in the fight against sin, there is the weariness that comes from our flesh, the enemy, or the hostile world we live in. Often, our physical weariness leads us into feeling spiritually or emotionally weary or our downcast spirit causes us to feel physically ill, intertwining the two.

I'm in the midst of reading the excellent book, "When I Don't Desire God---How to Fight for Joy" by John Piper. Though I've had it around for a while and had started it, I haven't really gotten well into it until now. And right now is the perfect time! Don't you love when God does that? At first I thought, "Well, I really do desire God and to be close to Him. My weariness seems physical because spiritually, I don't feel abandoned by God, angry with Him, or like my heart has grown cold." I felt like my weariness problem (which isn't there every day but is there at least monthly if not weekly) was mainly a physical one based on my tough job as a mom. But then I heard this sermon by Mahaney and I had to ask myself: When I'm tired and overworked, do I lean on the promises of God and cling to Him or do I joke about taking the kids to the orphanage and jumping on the next plane? Do I tell myself that God is with me and that He is my Helper in any and every circumstance or do I listen to myself say, "This is just too much! I hate my life!!!!"

All too often, I listen to myself instead of talking to myself.

Before you read the following, I have to say that something I get a kick out of is whenever a Christian blogger makes a list of something you should do he/she always starts with: Draw Near to God (or the equivalent of this.) Whether it's How to Make Your House Homey or How to Discipline Kids or How to Budget or How to Overcome Your Fear of Clowns or whatever. Now, I'm not knocking that very-important, top priority of God being first which God Himself commands and I admit that I have often put this at the top of my lists too for various How-To Posts also. It just makes me always think, "They had to write that. If they didn't write that how heathen would they sound? I mean, nasty anonymous commenters would be on them in a heartbeat saying, "How dare you organize your coupon folder or plant a garden or practice your labor-relaxation breathing tips without first drawing near and keeping God at the top of your priorities?"

So, in taking you on that rabbit trail, I will say that you had to have known that as I explore the concept of Weary Moms that my first post on how to deal with it involves drawing near to God and His Word.


Josh Harris interviewed C.J. Mahaney on the subject of the fight for joy as a pastor:

Joshua Harris: I would love to just hear from you, C.J., about what the fight for joy each day looks like in the life of a pastor. What are some key moments for you when it comes to cultivating that kind of joy? How is it expressed?

C.J. Mahaney: Your reference to the fight for joy is right—it’s a fight each and every day. So this is not a natural disposition that one possesses. Each day sin will be opposing the experience and cultivation of joy in our lives. I am personally very familiar with weariness and discouragement and, therefore, what I read in Scripture about the priority of joy and the experience of joy is very applicable to my soul. And each day what I seek to do, from the outset of the day, is position myself as close to the gospel as possible so that I might experience the effects of the gospel. One pronounced effect of preaching the gospel to my soul is joy. I am the worst sinner I know. And given the countless sins I have been forgiven of, as I contemplate the Savior’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross for my sins, the effect of that contemplation in my life is joy. So from the outset of each day I seek to “survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died.” I seek to study the doctrines of grace. I seek to prepare my heart to discern evidences of grace throughout the day. And as I devote myself to those practices at the outset of each day and throughout the day, the effect upon my soul is joy.

A question posed by Mahaney:
Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?

You can listen here: The Troubled Soul: God's Word and Our Feelings

Talk to Yourself instead of listening to yourself

Talk to God

Sing--Troubled souls become hopeful souls when we sing truth to our soul

Spurgeon on God's Promises:

“God’s promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper. He intended that they
should be used. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see His promises put in circulation.
He loves to see His children bring them up to Him, and say, ‘Lord, do as you promised.’ We
glorify God when we please His promises. Do you think that God will be any the poorer for
giving you the riches He has promised? Do you dream that He will be any less holy for
giving holiness to you? Do you imagine He will be any less pure for washing you from your
sins? He has said, ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are
red as crimson they shall be like wool.’ Faith embraces the promise of pardon. It doesn’t
delay, saying, ‘This is a precious promise, I wonder if it is true?’ but goes straight to the
throne with it, and pleads, ‘Lord, here is the promise. Do as you promised.’ Our Lord replies,
‘Be it to you even as you will.’ When a Christian grasps a promise but doesn’t take it to God,
then God is dishonored; but when one hastens to the throne of grace, and cries, ‘Lord, I have
nothing to recommend me but this, You have said it;’ then the desire shall be granted. Our
heavenly banker delights to cash His own notes. Never let the promise rust. Draw the word of
promise out of its scabbard, and use it with holy violence. Don’t think that God will be
troubled by your importunately reminding Him of His promises. He loves to hear the loud
outcries of needy souls. It is His delight to give favors. He is more ready to hear than you are
to ask.
It is God’s nature to keep His promises. Therefore, go at once to the throne with, ‘Do
as You promised..’”

Charles Spurgeon

*Italics in above quotes are mine*

So, in my weariness, I need to be treasuring God's promises and bringing them before Him. I need to be refreshing my mind with the Word and letting it talk to me instead of listening to my self, which is tainted by my own sinfulness. I need to be finding strength for my physical weariness in Him. As the Mahaneys often say, I need to be preaching the Gospel to myself on a daily basis.
For more on this interesting idea, read "How to Preach the Gospel to Yourself."

When I finish the Piper book I will do a review of it here with more thoughts on fighting for joy. More posts to come on Hope for Weary Moms.......


Thia said...

Thanks for this post. Have you ever read Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World? It's a good one.

Momma Bear said...

uh i just checked that book out from the library ironically.

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