May 5, 2023
Burned Out? Hope Is the Oxygen Your Soul Needs
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“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23 (ESV)
My hair was falling out.
Yes, me — the girl with thick, black locks, whose hairstylists always declared, “Wow! You have a LOT of hair!” Now I quietly freaked out every time I shampooed.
It started during the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, I wasn’t too worried. Oh well, it’ll grow back. Things will be better by the summer, I told myself, holding my breath.
With work deadlines hanging over my head, my anxiety climbed as I tried to juggle the gazillion hats I wore — from cheerleading mom to crisis counselor to referee and first-time home-schooling teacher to short-order cook.
My priorities were my husband and kids. Me? I’ll figure that out later. But the longer the pandemic stretched out, my emotional reserves, once filled with optimism, started thinning along with my hair. The more stressed I became, the more hair I seemed to lose.
What I needed was hope. Optimism is imagining how circumstances will get better, but hope is seeing God’s love and care in the midst of bad circumstances. Hope is our refuge in uncertainty even when optimism runs dry.
Are you also feeling weary? Are you in the middle of a hard season you thought was temporary, only to discover you’re stretched so thin that you’re burned out, losing your joy and hope? We often don’t know we’re stressed until our body sends us signals. Our hair starts falling out. Fibromyalgia worsens. We might get migraines, eye twitching or insomnia.
But God cares about you. It breaks His heart seeing you, His little girl, running ragged.
There’s a story of a little girl in the Bible who everyone thought was gone forever as she lay on her bed without breath. Everyone had lost hope, just like I had. But when Jesus came to sit next to her bed and gently hold her hand, His loving touch brought her back to life. Guess what Jesus said first?
“… Give her something to eat.” (Mark 5:43b, CEV)
Jesus didn’t tell her to go greet the crowd gathered outside. Jesus didn’t tell her to go do her chores. Instead, Jesus lovingly focused on her well-being. It’s important to God that we nourish our bodies with rest and take time to feel His loving touch revive us through His Word.
I realized God wanted me to believe I was worthy of care and take action in the midst of my hard, messy moment. To encourage you, here are three practical changes that helped me:
- First, I started healthier eating habits. Because I was trying to squeeze in a bottomless checklist of to-dos, I was skipping lunch and snacking instead. Eat lunch, Bonnie! You need fuel.
- Second, I faced my fear. I had to let go of responsibilities that were no longer healthy for me. Despite worst-case scenarios playing in my head, I asked God for courage and asked friends to support me to create boundaries.
- Third, I prayed “breath prayers.” These prayers nurtured hope whenever I felt overwhelmed. It’s a simple way to pray using Scripture to release tension in your body and re-oxygenate your soul with God’s peace.
Use this breath prayer from Lamentations 3:21-23: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Inhale: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
Exhale: Your mercies are new every morning.
To hope again is to believe God will help you. Hope gives you permission to do things differently and to believe God will be faithful. His love fuels your hope, and hope is the oxygen your soul breathes.
Since I’ve made changes to my schedule, nutrition and prayer habits, my hair has stopped falling out as much. Over time, I’m hopeful my hair health will be replenished.
God can renew your hope. Jesus tenderly folds your hand in His, loving you unconditionally.
Thank You, Jesus, for being my anchor and hope. Help me rest in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
You were hand-picked by God … to be His daughter. To live in freedom. To be your child’s mama. To tell people about Jesus. To be your husband’s wife. To use the gifts you have. To be a light in this world. For a purpose. At Proverbs 31 Ministries, we want to give you the tools and resources to live like this is true. Will you donate today so we can continue to help you and other women just like you know and live the Truth of God's Word? Click here to learn more.
Do you know a mom you can encourage this Mother’s Day? Let them know they’re loved by gifting them Bonnie Gray’s new book, Breathe: 21 Days to Stress Less and Transform Chaos to Calm. With Scripture and science, this book will help break the chains of worry and anxiety, refreshing weary hearts to flourish in four areas of wellness — emotional, physical, spiritual and social. Get a copy for yourself and one to bless a friend!
Take Bonnie’s free “Soul Care Quiz” — your personal wellness assessment — to learn what type of care you’re missing most and how to flourish with God’s peace and joy in your life! You can also follow Bonnie on Instagram or Facebook.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Hebrews 6:19a, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (NIV)
Psalm 119:114, “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” (NIV)
How is God inviting you to hope again? What could you do differently if you chose to live with hope under God’s care? Share with us in the comments!
© 2023 by Bonnie Gray. All rights reserved.