Tips for Bringing Up Your Child in God's Word: Part 4, But I don't have the Energy

When we think of King David, we usually picture an uber-successful ruler. He slayed Goliath, everyone loved him, he became rich and powerful and defeated all his enemies. We usually forget that he had some incredibly hard times in his life. He was chased for years by a jealous King Saul who wanted him dead, and so David had to live in caves in exile. And when he was older, one of his own sons tried to kill him, and again David ended up an exile on the run. So imagine some of the moments he must have felt, living in caves, exhausted from running during the day and sleeping on the ground at night. He must have had some days where he simply cried out to God, “I can’t go on. I just physically/emotionally/spiritually do not have the energy.” And yet, David wrote these words in Psalm 103:
 
Praise the Lord, O my soul, 
and forget not all his benefits— 
3 who forgives all your sins 
and heals all your diseases, 
4 who redeems your life from the pit 
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things 
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
 
It’s that last line I especially love. David’s saying something like this: When I pause life, and I reflect and take a moment to praise God for forgiving me all my sins and taking care of all my physical needs and redeeming me and crowning me as his holy precious child… When I think about all of that, my youth is renewed and I feel like soaring like an eagle. Spiritually, David was rejuvenated and made ready for the future whenever he meditated on God’s grace.
 
Spiritual rejuvenation can also help motivate physical and emotional growth. It starts with believing that change is possible. As parents, if we are run-down and emotionally tapped out, we can often fall into the pattern of seeing our children as the problem, our problems as insurmountable, and our life as unchangeable. And, let’s face it, when we view our life this way, we often treat others and ourselves terribly. But there is a way to stop this negative spiral. Instead of waiting passively for our situation to change, we can see our situation as a red flag, a whistle, blowing in our ear, warning us that the kettle is about to boil over. 
 
Here is tip #1: Identify ways to re-set in the short-term so you can plan better for the long-term. We do this by seeking out what parenting coaches may term “trampolines” or “pressure valves”—tried and trusted ways to let off steam, change our thinking, elevate our mood, and boost our energy. This could mean: exercise, deep breathing, music, a warm bath or a cold plunge, journaling what you are thankful for, stepping out and getting some fresh air, watching or listening to something that makes you really laugh, or even calling someone in for some additional support. For a child this might mean sharing in something with a parent: reading together, playing catch, sharing a snack. Below you will find some of these ideas put together in simple printables to help remind you of them when you or your child’s kettle is about to boil over. 
 
Once we’re able to re-set in the short-term, we’re then in a position to step back and observe the big picture: what in our daily rhythm is leading to calm and what is contributing to chaos. And that leads to our tip #2. Identify the chaotic patterns of your day.  Are you constantly having battles with young children about cleaning up mountains of toys or older children about their screen-time? If so, it might be time to de-clutter/limit those items.  Do you feel like the whole day is chaotic because you just have too many responsibilities on your plate? Then it might be time to consider who you can invite into your circle to be a support.  Do you fall asleep at the same time as your kids, utterly exhausted? Then it might be time to incorporate earlier bed-time routines for your kids that are non-negotiable so that you have time to re-charge.
 
And our third and last tip is probably the one you’ve been expecting: God’s word rejuvenates. Remember what David said in his famous Good Shepherd Psalm: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” What’s David’s point? God’s Word is rejuvenating. That’s a truth God has been telling us for three-thousand years. Just like, if you’re physically exhausted, putting together a healthy meal takes work but afterwards recharges you, if you’re emotionally, psychologically, spiritually exhausted, putting together a healthy spiritual meal takes a little work, but it willrecharge you. You would never say, “I’m too physically exhausted to eat.” You recognize good revitalizing food is what you need when you’re physically exhausted! It’s no different with emotional, spiritual exhaustion. If you’re emotionally and spiritually exhausted, God’s Word is exactly what you need.
 
And remember David when he was on the run: When we feel like we’ve been running all day and wake up still drained, we sometimes cry out to God, “I can’t go on. I just physically/emotionally/ spiritually do not have the energy.” And then through his Gospel, God reminds us what he’s done for us: How he’s forgiven all your sins and takes care of all your physical needs and redeems you and crowns you as his holy precious child… When you think about all that, how does that make you feel? When you really think about it, how God loves you so much and has given you so many blessings, your youth is renewed and you can feel like soaring like an eagle. Spiritually, God’s word can rejuvenate us. And when it spiritually rejuvenates us, you know what? It has the potential to physically and emotionally rejuvenate us, too. 

Written by Pastor Thompson and Christine Thompson