It was a Sunday afternoon and I was driving home from worship service when I stated aloud, “I’m tired!” I was so depleted. Instead of leaving church refreshed, I felt an internal wrestling as I anticipated the week ahead. That’s when I realized I had to make a shift—a shift in how I truly viewed and valued myself in relation to the daily grind mindset I had succumb to. I needed to look deeper into how I could escape the robotic, repetitive cycle I had blindly adopted as “necessary to get ahead.”
I decided that for several weeks I would take a few moments right before I lay down at night to journal my prayers, begging God to reveal His will for my life. I recognized that operating from a monotonous place was slowly but surely changing my core. I had become more irritable, pessimistic, withdrawn, and lifeless. Now, don’t get me wrong, what others saw—and what I projected—was strength and organization, a well packaged, finely tuned “superwoman.” All the while, underneath the shine was sadness and crippling chaos. I was tired and wanted to retreat into a dark, lonely place. Yet, somehow, I was also determined to fight to receive the peace and rest I desired and innately knew I deserved.
I ventured into this journey towards rest and change. For me, even just the word “change” was difficult to swallow. It began with my willingness to identify the multitude of unhealthy, negative thoughts I had adopted as my truth. This realization surfaced painful feelings of guilt and shame. How and why did I allow myself to get here? I thought I was way more self-aware and perfectly attuned to my surroundings. This revelation was an unsettling awakening as I started to see myself through a different lens. I wanted to fully blame “the system” and western culture for brainwashing me into believing the gimmick—that bigger, better, and more was what I needed—but I had to own my own contributions that fed into these lies and distortions.
Along this journey, I grappled with the idea of returning to the mindless, tiring rat race that had robbed me of joy and purpose for decades. Then I remembered what one of my very good friends told me; it was something her husband told her, “Never let anyone make you feel shame for being human.” That statement resonated with me so deeply. It invoked a sense of security that my current feelings and behaviors were actually normal and common, and there just might be a glimpse of purpose in my pain.
As I began to welcome the conflicting emotions that surfaced during my internal struggle, I knew I was not alone. There were other women who also wore self-imposed blinders that prevented them from seeing their need for rest and care. Women like me who stretched beyond their capacity just to meet the demands and expectations of those around them, while diminishing their own ability to show themselves compassion and gentle care.
As a licensed professional counselor, I feel blessed to have the tools and support necessary as I embrace mental and physical rest. I’m beginning to assess my life goals and aspirations differently. I’m practicing mindfulness during my day-to-day encounters and noticing more fulfillment and way less exhaustion. On several occasions, when enticed to give into self-criticism and doubt, I’ve used positive self-talk to affirm that I’m on the right path. I remind myself that I will be just fine. The uncomfortable ache within my soul is a normal and natural part of grieving the death of the familiar and embracing the beauty that evolves with the uncertainties ahead.
Today I am the proud founder and owner of Mary’s Foundation of Hope, LLC, a private counseling organization I launched in 2023 in honor of my mom who died from lung cancer in 2014. My mom’s courage and strength, I believe, flows through my very being. Her spirit of compassion and fierce determination has helped me gain a greater perspective of what truly matters to me—my God, myself, and my family! That’s right, it’s okay to add “yourself” to your list. We can better support others when we are less tired and more rejuvenated from the inside out. Give yourself permission to rest. No judgment here, girlfriends!Leave a Comment