Monday, October 09, 2006

Am I losing my mind?

My husband was gone three night last week. He travels quite a bit for business, so we (the kids and I) are used to the routine. When I say we are used to it, that doesn’t mean we necessarily like Dad being gone. We’ve just figured out ways to cope make it fun. For one thing, I give the big kids the option of sleeping on the floor of my room. Then, they each get to take a turn sleeping in my bed - why is Mom’s bed just so much more sleep-inducing than a plain kid-bed? We eat out more often, and when we do eat in, it’s more junky kid-friendly fare. Our routine is much more chaotic flexible.

Unfortunately, with the change of routine while he’s gone, I end up staying up WAY too late. So by the third night or so, I am dead tired. And when I am tired, my fuse is, well, nonexistent. The kids know Dad’s coming home soon, and the junk food is starting to make them feel sluggish, so they are not making the best decisions, either. It is a deadly combination.

The third night of last week’s trip was a case in point.

It was bedtime. The little one had taken a long afternoon nap, so she was not tired. Besides, she was just not about to miss the party going on in my room. She was a mess. I was in her room trying to get her calmed down, while from my room, the noise of the big kids’ hootin’ and hollerin’ and having a great time carried across the house. Even the dog was going wild.

Even though they were having fun, I felt my blood pressure rising. Don’t they know I’m trying to put her to bed? Arggh! Then, just as suddenly as the laughter had started, someone got mad. Then someone else’s feelings got hurt. “MO-OM!“ Then there was no end to the tears and sorrow.

Now I was really frustrated. All I wanted was a bit of peace and quiet. They know what I expect of them; why do they insist on behaving like this when they know I am alone and can’t be running back and forth to remind them?

And it was at this moment that I heard myself say the words I’ve said to myself hundreds of times in similar situations: “I. am. losing. my. mind.”

I was getting ready to go in there and give them the what-for, when I stopped. There was this little dialog going on in my head.

Are you really losing your mind?
Yes, this time, I really am.
Are you sure about that?
I most certainly cannot possibly take any more of this. There is a band of hooligans in there and I am just one person. I can’t do this. My brain cells are fried.

Then suddenly I remembered this verse: “But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16b, NIV)

Well, I did go in there and give them the what-for. It could have gone better, but they eventually came around to my line of thinking: You need your sleep and I need your sleep, and in the morning we’ll all see Daddy and things will look better.

But I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about more silly phrases that run rampant in my vocabulary during the tired, chaotic moments of my life. I usually hear myself saying them in fun, but I wondered how much I’ve let myself believe them:

I’m going crazy.
I’m losing it.
I’m going nuts.
I can’t do this.

But do I really have the mind of Christ? That’s what it says (I went to 2 Corinthians just to make sure).

When I am tired, and when I feel alone, I am most vulnerable and least likely to “think like Christ.” My mind becomes a battlefield, and I am too tired to fight.

But it is precisely at those times when I need to call on Him the most.

What would the mind of Christ be thinking about in that situation, knowing I was exhausted and had a houseful of kids whose schedule was messed up and who missed their dad?

Probably something like this:
For God has…given us …a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13, NKJV

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3, NKJV
Well, I blew it that time. My mind was not on Him. It was on me. I was so busy focusing on how badly things were going, and I took the easy road: passively reacting to circumstances, rather than being “clear minded and self-controlled so that I can pray” (1 Peter 4:7).

But next time, I’ll be ready. For one thing, I’ll stick to a better routine and get the rest I need. And I’ll “prepare my mind for action.” (1 Peter 1:13).

By all accounts, there WILL be times it looks like I‘m going crazy. But I know the truth.

Now I want to walk in it.
Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth.
Psalm 86:11


Jennifer said...

Katherine- As a mother of 2.5 year old triplets, I NEEDED this message this morning. I will return to it often. Thank you!!

Susanne said...

Katherine, this was a great post! I can so relate and like you I get myself overtired and then feel like I'm losing my mind. Great lesson here for me. Get my rest so that I can be more on guard for the battlefield that is the mind.

Kristine said...

I think many of us with many children have felt this way when we are functioning "alone". Your reminder that we really just need to rely on Christ in these kind of situations touches a particularly sensitive and sweet part of my heart. I know what you have related today is true, and that we can do ALL things with Christ.

Thank you for the beautiful reminder this morning.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Great post, Katherine. The resources available to us (through the Holy Spirit) are so amazing, but it is so easy for me to not tap into them... Thanks for the reminder.

And by the way, what is it with staying up late when husbands are out of town? I do the exact same thing - just stay up way too late...and then eventually regret it.

Anonymous said...

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Rachel said...

Thanks for the reminder. You are, as cliched as it may sound, an inspiration to me. The late thing must be a genetic female tendancy when husbands are away cause my sister and I do it too. I get much more sleep when he's around.

Andrea said...

I totally relate to this! In fact, sometimes I think I'm the only one who does this. It's so hard when our husbands are out of town.
But it is so true, we *need* to put the mind of Christ on. Think like Christ.
Great advice. I will try to do this next time I find myself saying, "I cant do this." No--"I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me."

Christa said...

Thank you for sharing so transparently and for reminding me of where my sights need to be.

Gina Conroy said...

I have so been there even with the hubby home and it's usually the break in routine and the junk food that pushes my kids and myself over the edge.

Whenever my kids are acting out of control I just take a look at what they've eatten and there behavior usually has to do with what they've eatten. The last time they were out of control was the day AFTER the state fair. Corn dogs, funnel cake! Ultimate junk food!

When you're in the middle of the mayhem is so hard to hear God's voice, but that's when we need him the most!

Wendy said...

Great post Katherine, thanks for the reminder!

Rachel Anne said...

I know what you mean about staying up too late, esp. when there is no school! Part of my frustration is when I've looked forward to "alone" time (kids in bed, quiet) and it doesn't happen...thanks for the reminder!

Christine said...

Here's another passage to add to yours. I love Psalm 25!

"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long."

God's ways, not ours. I need to remember that too. Thanks for the great post!

Pam said...


What an eye-opener! Those same thoughts run through my head much of the time, and now I know where I can take them -- at least you have reminded me where to take them. Thank you for this post. May we all have the mind of Christ today. I know it will be fresh for me as I go about my day.

Jenn @ Knee-Deep in Munchkin Land said...

I think we all "blow it" from time to time. We are, after all, human. I think the best thing about having that relationship with God is that He knows our hearts and He gives us gentle reminders when we've strayed from having "a mind like Christ." Don't be too hard on yourself. I think you're doing an amazing job with 5 children!!

Unknown said...

Wow--go ahead and add this to your favorite posts lists over on your sidebar. I am convicted and encouraged all at once. This is so right on--I will try to remember the sound mind and the mind of Christ in those trying situations.

Elise @A Path Made Straight said...

I'm so glad that I found your blog! I really needed to hear this today. I can tell that you are a great encouragement to others, even as you feel stressed and "crazy". I will be back!

Joyfulness said...

I am just ending day 6 of my husband being gone. Thankfully he will be home in the morning! I so needed to read this post. Thanks for the encouragement and the TRUTH.

Mindy said...

I found your blog yesterday and was hooked instantly. You are saved in my favories now. Anyway's, I need these words of encouragement.Thank you. I am going through your favorite posts right now, but really I should take a nap while I have an hour or so!!