Household, marriage, children, carpool, career, hobbies, friends – today’s mother is pulled in a million different directions. Maybe this is why women, moms in particular, are so incredibly stressed out – hence, the description mom stress.
The problem is when this stress turns into snapping at our children, our spouses, and other behavior that leads to self-sabotage. We don’t mean to and we always feel terrible when we do. So how can we prevent this? How can we beat the mom stress and be the mom, wife and self that we want to be?
Here are 5 biblical principles to help you beat your mom stress and restore your inner peace:
- No one is guaranteed a stress-free life
- God can use challenges to develop our character
- Christ should be at the center of our households
- Model the Proverbs 31 woman to maintain a peaceful lifestyle
- We have to give ourselves the needed time for restoration
The Christian Woman’s Guide to Navigating ‘Mom Stress’
Are you familiar with the analogy of the swimming duck? On the surface, the duck glides, but underneath is the chaos of flapping feet. Moms are much the same. Sure, we can hide our stress well, but under the surface is a mess of anxiety, worry, fear, doubt, and the rest of our vocabulary that weighs on our souls.
Here’s the problem
This stress builds and once it has nowhere else to go, it comes out. It comes out in the form of snapping at our kids and our spouses. We even can become victims of our own self-sabotage. This can be verbal, physical, emotional, etc. Or, we completely withdraw and shut out those who need us. All of these situations are unfortunate because it’s not helpful to anyone. In fact, it can be harmful and even destructive to families, marriages, our children, and even to our own well being.
So how can we keep it together? And I don’t mean in the false sense like “fake it ‘til you make it”. I also don’t mean in the “who cares” sense, where you just assume everyone is a mess and that entitles you to be a mess and lose your mind too.
I actually mean how do we kick the mom stress to stay sane, maintain our peace and be the woman God has called us to be?
These five biblical principles will guide us through the process of understanding how we can actually leverage life’s challenges in a positive way versus letting it control our emotions. In addition, these principles keep you focus on what matters most – your relationship with God. When we learn to surrender our control and lay our daily struggles at the feet of Christ, we are given instruction and peace in return and that is how we get sustaining grace. Let’s get started with principle number one.
Principle 1: No one is guaranteed a stress-free life
Let’s start with 2 Corinthians 12:8 – 9, where the author states his case,
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
First, let me start by saying I love/hate this verse. Yes, I get it, when I’m weak, I know I can depend on God. The problem? Who wants to be weak?! No one! So how can I apply this truth in a way that it brings me peace during my stressful times? How do we get this grace that sustains us during these stressful times?
Like the author in 2 Corinthians, do you sometimes ask for God to take away your annoying, hindering circumstances? Like, take away the bad attitude in your children, the constant communication struggle with your spouse, etc. So why doesn’t he? Why can’t he just “fix” the people around us to make life run that much smoother?!
If you feel like your prayers for God to “fix” an area of your life continue to go unanswered, then know that you’re in good company.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul was, once again, begging God to take away his stressor. Specifically, he was praying about a physical issue he had been born with. The thing was, in doing his work for God, this physical issue actually posed to be a challenge to him – making his work more difficult.
Now Paul was a servant of God. He was busy establishing the church and spreading the gospel and even he was declined of an “easy” life. So, what does this mean for you and me?
This means that no one is exempt from life’s challenges or stresses.
In fact, Jesus even warned us of this in John 16:33.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Sometimes life is just hard. But God can use these challenging people, circumstances and timings to do great works in us and those around us! Let’s learn more in principle number two.
Principle 2: God can use challenges to develop our character
Just as God was coaxing John to lean more on His peace and grace than in his own self-sufficiency, maybe God is using our challenges in the same way. Maybe, that less than helpful spouse, that challenging boss, or those strong-willed children are actually intentional and designed just for you – to help you shape your character and to teach you more about Christ’s love.
Could it be possible that the mom stress is a form of God pulling at your heart?! Let’s apply this.
Check out this verse in Hebrews 12:10 – 11
“God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
First thing to clarify, discipline does not always mean punishment. Athletes are extremely disciplined in their training. This isn’t because they’re punishing themselves. It’s because they know a disciplined training schedule and diet helps them achieve peak performance. Whether it’s sports, fitness, diet, or even faith – you can be disciplined in anything. With that discipline comes success and God knows that.
God uses discipline to help develop our character.
Do you have a super annoying co-worker? Maybe God is trying to teach you about patience. Does your spouse continue to miss the mark when it comes to connecting with you? Maybe God wants to teach you more about His love and how to extend that even when it’s difficult. So instead of trying to “fix” your situation, try asking God what he wants you to learn from this season? Maybe the problem doesn’t actually lie in your stress. Maybe it’s something you need to work through yourself.
Be consistent in bring your concerns to God, daily, and watch him show you that his grace is sufficient for everything – even your mom stress. The next principle will help you with this.
Principle 3: Christ should be at the center of our household
We were not meant to experience life and all of its challenges on our own. God is with us step by step, but we have to let him in. This is where discipline really comes into play.
I love this verse from Hebrews 3:4,
“For every house is build by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”
We can build the home, establish the relationship, take the job, start the business – whatever the venture might be. But if we don’t seek God’s direction and discretion, we may be wondering down the wrong path and causing unnecessary stress for ourselves. God is our foundation. When our households and relationships are built on a strong foundation, they will withstand the storms.
“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” – Mathew 7:25
When we make Christ the center of our household, our marriage and our parenting, we are building our foundation on the rock.
When marriage gets difficult, it can be saved by God’s grace again and again. Our faith can be evident in our parenting and be an example to our children. But we have to open up and include God, intentionally.
Starting today, what are ways that you can point your family to Christ on a consistent basis? A quick reading of a daily devotional, a night time prayer, just letting your spouse or your children know that you’re praying for them? What about posting a scripture board where you write out a verse you’ve been focusing on. When God is the center of our household, stress doesn’t stand a chance because we will withstand the storms.
Principle 4: Model the Proverbs 31 woman to maintain a peaceful household
One of my favorite lines in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding is, “the man may be the head of the household, but the woman is the neck.” Isn’t wild how much influence a woman has on the atmosphere of her home? This is why when you’re stressed out, it seems like your household is in shambles. Everyone is stressed. So much depends on your emotional strength. So how do we maintain a spirit of peace within ourselves so that we can positively impact our households? One way, is by being proactive.
I know it seems like we do 500 things per minute (and that’s true), but how much of life are you living on a whim versus being strategic? The theory of “flying by the seat of your pants” might be tempting, but is a recipe for chaos and a serious case of mom stress. A little bit of planning goes a long way. Having structured and well-prepared days will mean less running ragged for you!
When you’re better prepared, you’re less likely to lose patience over feeling out of control.
Whenever I think about the proper way to run a household, I always come back to the Proverbs 31 woman. If you’re not familiar with that, get the full scripture here. Proverbs 31 can be intimidating, as it describes what to look for in a woman. Instead of comparing yourself to the description, apply the nuggets of advice.
The Proverbs 31 woman is: up preparing the day before her household, wise about her investments of time and money, eager to bring her skill set to the table, preparing things ahead of time, watching over the affairs of her household, wise and fears the Lord. Point being, keeping peace doesn’t always come without effort. Be mindful of how your household is running. Some of that chaos can be easily eliminated with some daily prep time.
Need some help getting started with this? Check out this article on getting your household in order and restoring your peace.
Principle 5: Give yourself the needed time for restoration
Mom life is just hard – no doubt about it. We’re constantly torn in a million directions and overwhelmed with just as many emotions. How many times are you torn between the feeling of wanting any sort of independence and at the same time pulled the opposite way by guilt.
How many of our stress triggers have a root in fear? Fear we won’t be perceived in a favorable way, fear our children are lacking, fear our marriage is too shaky, etc. Know this, the devil is a liar and comes to steal, kill and destroy. When a mother is weakened, her household is up for grabs. So, it’s important to fight back and get back on our game.
2 Timothy 1:7 says,
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Think about this: power, love and self-control.
Sometimes we need to reboot our souls. We need to do the work required for us to start healing ourselves. When we can heal our past pains and rejuvenate our souls, we are in so much of a better position to be the wife, mother and self that we’re called to be.
The work of restoring and maintaining peace is difficult. Maybe that’s why so few people take the time to do so. However, think of the benefits. Could you imagine a life where your heart is full, your mind is steady and your faith is evident? That’s the life God wants for you – power, love and self-control.
Needing some help getting started with this?
Check out these helpful articles. I put them in the order I would recommend reading.
First, is establishing a quiet time – why it’s important and how to start.
Second, is how to use mind mapping for stress management. This can totally be incorporated into your quiet time, but you have to start designating some personal time for yourself, first.
Last, is an overview of spiritual warfare. Every Christian household is a threat to Satan. If he can dismantle your household, it’s all the more beneficial to him. Therefore, we need to be wise of his ways and know how to counter his moves.
The combination of these five biblical principles and resources will help guide you through overcoming your mom stress and restoring your inner peace. Make sure to share with another mom needing a boost and, remember, you are a lady well-loved!