Why am I so tired?  How can I find rest?  I mean that deep inner rest, not just sleeping.  That is something I was pondering the day before I did an interview for a lady’s conference where the theme was “Quietness.”

Ironically, that was the question she asked me.  What did I suggest for the women who were reaching out to their ministry all with seemingly the same voice saying, “I am SO tired.  How can I stop being so tired?”  

I laughed because I too had been asking that question and facing the dilemma and had not yet figured out my solution.  All I could answer is that we are indeed in a culture that is like Pharaoh lording over the the Israelites exclaiming,  “Oh! You want to go worship your God with your family?  You must have too much time on your hands.  I would like you to keep your same production level but this time, gather your own straw.”

My hypothesis is this, God didn’t ask us to do everything we are doing.  We are a slave to our culture’s values, not God’s.  So, as briefly as possible (because I only have one hour to write this out), I am going to share with you my struggles and where I think the major problem lies.  I believe you can look at them and probably find some similar traps in your own life that might not be exactly the same, but have similar roots.

1. Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

My very real struggle is this.  I need some uninterrupted time in my day to accomplish this ministry.  Before I started this ministry, I needed some uninterrupted time to take a nap when I was pregnant with each child after my first.  When I started homeschooling, I needed some uninterrupted time to just read with my child for 30 minutes.

I remember crying when I got up a half hour earlier than usual to walk with a video and my one year old could sense I was awake before her and I ended up holding her on my hip while walking with the video.  I was so mad.  I was so hopeless.  I felt so guilty for feeling mad at my daughter for interrupting me.  I was SO TIRED.  I was giving up sleep to try and walk and even then I couldn’t get away from the interruptions.

So, my solution for that season was that after lunch was done and the kitchen was tidied, I would put one child on the couch and the next youngest in a pack ‘n play, grab the very youngest to come in and take a nap with me and turn on a movie.  I would drag my (probably pregnant) body to my room, close the bedroom door, turn on the fan and rest my brain.  Sometimes I would fall asleep.  But mostly I would just find uninterrupted rest.  But this did take some training, ensuring safety and consistent discipline of the children first.

Now my life looks different.  The kids are bigger.  There aren’t any naps, and rather than creating a limited & set time (because a movie has a beginning and an end) to rest my mind, I find myself sneaking away for short periods throughout the day (hello bathroom) to scroll my phone for 15 minutes.

To me, this is the endless input of information (ever learning) but for no purposeful reason (never coming to the knowledge of the truth) that puts my mind into a pattern of continual and over stimulation and what it really needs is a set time to process and rest.  I have realized I need to reorganize when and how I use my phone and for what purpose.

2. I call this one “the beast.”  Feed the beast at all costs.  Who is the beast?  Your “side hustle, ministry, creative outlet, arena of influence, etc.”

The boss babe mentality didn’t start in 2016.  I remember when I first got married it was there, just in a different form. 

I 100% believe that MLMs target young married women because they know that these young wives have a heart to be homemakers, but still want to feel like they “contribute.”  So, I too was lured in by the idea that I could “earn some money from home without being away from my family.”

That was until I realized that (back then at least), “earning money from home” actually meant spending 3 evenings a week away from your family hosting parties, and then countless hours during the week delivering products.  No longer was I going to be handing out tracts at the grocery store or drive thru window, I was going to be handing out my business card and informing someone of my value statement.

You see, many Christian women didn’t want to be career women, but the allure of that trip, that car, that achievement, that recognition, that extra money … and in today’s spectrum … those followers on your social media account that prove you are wanted, valuable, significant, doing good, capable, in control and creating a financial nest egg of security … that enticement traps women.

We are being sold a bill of goods (and it’s not just MLM’s) that for a few hours a week we can (fill in the blank.)  The fact is that if it was just a few hours a week, we might be able to handle it, but it is WAY more than a few hours a week that we have bitten off.  Side entrepreneurial businesses, highly involved ministries,  becoming a social influencer and part time jobs have taken us away from the BIBLE’s priorities.

Instead of focusing on being a better keeper at home, investing in that needed eye contact and focused interaction with those in our home, we are making someone else money, being self deceived about our value and are draining our mental and physical resources.

It’s not just MLMs.  The boss babe (ministry leader) mentality is draining us of not only our time and labor, but also the endless mental planning, creating and managing that we utilize when we are not actively doing that hands on labor. 

God is not a heavy task master.  It is not He Who has heaped this beast in addition to our household management. He is only asking us to do what NOURISHES us, our children, our husbands and our home environment.  

3. The beast I feed.

I, Melissa Schworer, saw that trap in my early twenties, and I opted out.  I lost the money on the product I had “invested in” and I settled into being invisible.  I still created music and wrote books, but it was definitely no the emphasis of my life.  I was still taking naps.  My kids were not independent.  I KNEW I didn’t have the capacity for more.  I was tired, but it was because babies are hard to grow and toddlers are fast.

But then God dropped this ministry in my lap.  I was in a different season where I did have a little more time and energy.  I wholeheartedly believe God wants me involved in being an encourager through music, books and counseling.  I just don’t think He requires of me what the social media business model does.

When I started this ministry I looked online about “How to grow awareness of your product.”  (This is rather embarrassing, because a ministry does have a business element to it whether we like to talk about it or not.)  And I watched the YouTubers all talk about growing a following.  I read about the click funnel that you need to build to your own web-site.  I learned that apparently the ultimate goal is an email list of “warm leads” so that you aren’t dependent upon the social media outlets. 

I learned about:

Value statements (what you do or provide to your audience.)

Value propositions (how much your product or service is worth.)

How to tap into someone’s core need so they will click into your funnel.

How important it is to “show up” and “be consistent” and “provide content that keeps them coming back.”

How my “unique voice” will shine and attract those in my niche and my niche will become my warm leads.

But I am a thinker.  That seemed a lot like the seeker mentality of some mega churches out there.  In fact, that seems a lot like some churches I know of that kept rebaptizing bus kids to get “numbers” of kids “saved.”  It smelt like those churches who rang their faithful members dry in campaign after campaign to get the Sunday morning attendance a little bit higher for a month, and then that next month.  Then those poor pastors would go to a fellowship meeting and get asked, “So, how many does your church run?”  Then the onslaught of complaining about church members who hinder “growth.” The end goal was a large church and growth at any cost under the ruse of “win the lost at any cost.”

Who do you think is behind that mentality?  God?  The flesh?  The devil?

Let’s compare that a little bit with us ladies and our task masters.

Instagram?  YouTube?  TicTok? Facebook?  Those who make money of your hard work and free content creation to feed the beast.

It reminds me of my pastor who said, “I always thought it was such masterful marketing of lifestyle brands (think Nike, Adidas, UnderArmour, American Eagle) to get you to pay extra to wear and advertise their brand for them.”

What do they provide for us?  A sense of value and belonging?  An invisible chain about our brain?  

It is this beast, the social media business model beast, that I started to feed.  Sure, I really didn’t care too much about numbers, giveaways, networking and email lists, but feeding the continual beast of content creation has had a toll on me.

I would think, “I need to cut back.  I don’t have enough time to do all of this well.”  Then in my mind, I would think, “But then you might go backwards.  You might lose people.  You made a commitment.  You CAN’T do less!”

I’m telling you ladies, if you are thinking that about something that God didn’t put as the emphasis in Scripture for your role, then yes you can.  You CAN do less.  The thing is that you might value IT (or what it subconsciously fills in you) more than God values it.

4. The things I value.

Still, as I was becoming more aware of all this, the other day I was reading something that asked me to name my “non-negotiables.”  I have done this before, many times.  I list what I know is important and then I place them in the order that I know they should be in priorities.

My spontaneous list looked like this:

  1. Soul winner,
  2. Please God in obedience,
  3. Rick’s best friend
  4. Faithful and kind mother,
  5. Keeper at home,
  6. Teacher of good things
  7. Me things (flower gardens, baking, chopping fresh produce, walks)

Because I know, and you know that our order of priorities is supposed to be:

  1. God,
  2. Husband,
  3. Children,
  4. Household,
  5. Ministries,
  6. Anything else.

But if those are what my non-negotiables are, than why do I struggle looking at my children in the eye when they are talking to me?  What am I looking at instead?  When I am trying to sit with my husband after dinner, what am I really thinking about?  Rather than taking time in the afternoon when I schedule in my kid’s screen time and using that time to go outside or in a room with the door closed and the fan running and focusing on some restorative rest, prayer and processing … what am I using my uninterrupted time to do?

The beast.  My mind doesn’t rest, because the beast keeps calling.

I would be more honest about where my mind is truly focusing if I listed my non-negotiables as this:

  1. Loving God and striving to live in obedience,
  2. Steward of my health, (because migraines will punish me if I don’t)
  3. Teacher of good things (this probably takes an average of 10 hours a week, plus continuous planning)
  4. Keeper at home,
  5. Feeder, manager, teacher and quieter of children (while feeling like I should look at them and smile more),
  6. Distracted wife of Rick, but kind and appreciative of all he does,
  7. Soul winning, truly the best I can.

5. And so I am tired

In my list of non-negotiables I didn’t put in there the actual time I spend trying to get away and escape to that 15 minutes to 30 minutes of scrolling periodically throughout the day. I honestly don’t really have the time to do that, but I am SO TIRED.  I don’t feel like I have the energy to put into anything else at the moment.

In fact, while I go scroll, I am often have the kids play Roblox for a while because they want a break from chores and I want a break from disciplining and managing them.  They are all done with the things they have to do anyway, and my list seems to never end.  I want to tell them to go find something quiet to do, or to play outside even though the weather is awful, but I know that none of that is going to really happen.  If it does, it won’t be for very long, so … the I succumb to feeding off of social media or someone’s created content or I sit back and start creating my own.

6. Oh, no!  My hour is up and the kids will be back from their friends and this will have to be finished later.

I am just being honest.  I literally have run out of time talking about how we as women run out of time.  Ha! But I am determined to share the solution.  It is just going to have to wait until next month.  That is good anyway, because that will give me a month longer to put the solution into practice.

Your friend,