TRANSCRIPT: Good morning, Five Minute Families. I saw a social media post the other day that said, “Fight FOR your family, not WITH your family.” That sentiment is one of the reasons we bring you this devotional spot each week. We want to empower you with practical skills and suggestions to better engage with your family through the norms and storms of life.
With some recent health issues, not including but complicated by the pandemic, we began to contemplate more in-depth the concept of exhaustion. Did you know that there are different types of exhaustion? And, yes, the kids can feel them too. Often, with our kiddos, we think a good nap will fix it all, and occasionally it does, but the reality is that each if us reaches different types of exhaustion at different times, and we need to be mindful of one another. Just to quickly list the five types of exhaustion we are discussing briefly today, they are:
Let’s think about Elijah. In 1 Kings 19 we see that after he had prophesied for the Lord for years, through famine, battles, and drought, his life was threatened. He reached his limit. He became fearful and exhausted. What type of exhausted? Well, while the Bible doesn’t explicitly say, but we know the angel of the Lord gave him food to keep his energy up for a forty-day trip, so he was likely physically exhausted. He slept - an extra awful lot - so he was probably mentally exhausted. Yet again, he had been the Lord’s demonstration of His awesome power, and still the people rejected God and him, so he was likely dealing with emotional and purpose-lost exhaustions. And, finally, the people he had been trying to reach day in and day out for all of his ministry as well as the people who fought against daily would have easily caused him to reach a level of social exhaustion.
So, families, what does all this mean for us? How do we apply that to our everyday lives? Let’s think through five common areas families face.
1. Stereotypical bedtime battles - Children are sometimes afraid of missing out on the fun so they will get themselves into a place of physical exhaustion that is difficult to combat. Having a consistent bed time and bedtime routine will help tremendously for everyone to deal with physical exhaustion.
2. Tantrums - (and just so we are clear, we will use toddlers for this example but don’t forget that we adults are guilty of tantrums, too) Tantrums usually come from a place of emotional exhaustion. A nap won’t cause emotional hurts to disappear. When a loved one is emotionally exhausted, allowing them to share what’s on their heart, even if their tone isn’t at its kindness, can help. Also, work to identify the emotion being felt and figure out what is needed to lead to a calmer and more logical skill set of dealing with the problem.
3. Illnesses - When someone in the family is sick, physical and emotional exhaustions are obviously happening, but mental exhaustion may be overlooked. We gather information, sort through the important parts, plan appointments and family schedules, and keep track of medications. Mental exhaustion, or burnout, must be addressed, even in the midst of the illness. Take time for breaks using relaxation techniques and seeking counseling if needed. Also, you can keep a gratitude journal and focus your mind on prayer.
4. Natural personality differences - Are you a family of introverts, extroverts, or mixed? Being considerate and mindful of these natural differences is important. One is not better than the other, but everyone has to be flexible. As a family, you must plan social interactions with everyone in mind. For the extroverts, the social interactions need to be frequent and meaningful to avoid social exhaustion, and for the introverts, you must allow boundaries for how often and to what extent they must participate to avoid social exhaustion. Likewise, for the introvert, planned down time is extremely important.
5. Disappointments - While purpose-lost exhaustion can happen even when all is going well, disappointments are a leading cause. If you or a loved one is facing purpose-lost exhaustion, first examine yourself and your walk with the Lord. Dive into His word and ask Him to show you where you and your family will find their purpose. Then, try volunteering in various places until you find what you are passionate about. You can take a sabbatical or retreat to reconnect with one another and the Lord. As Christ-followers, we know our ultimate purpose is in glorifying God but how that looks day-in and day-out will look different for each family.
Thank you so much for joining us today. Please check out clearviewretreat.org for more information, especially if you or a loved one is facing one of the exhaustions that we can help with. May God guide you this week as you seek Him. Be blessed!