What is the Wilderness of Sameness Teaching You?
Each Monday in the month of March we’re going to be discussing the times when we feel burnt out in our homemaking. Hospitality, homemaking, all of it is a real ministry and all of it can potentially cause seasons of burn out, or as I like to call it, the ‘I don’t wanna’s.” How do you handle these seasons? How can you reposition your heart and mind to find passion in homemaking and hospitality again? Each week, I’ll be sharing a few thoughts on overcoming the season of burnout.
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What is the Wilderness of Sameness Teaching You?
One of my favorite kid movies is Finding Nemo. There are just so many lines from it that are applicable to our lives. Is there someone in your life that’s struggling? “Just keep swimming…” See! Useful!
There’s this one scene in it that reminds me a lot of homemaking. Dory and Marlin had just gotten lost when they decide to look around and find someone to ask directions. The camera pans one way and all you see is blue. It pans another direction… blue. Still another… blue. Until finally, they notice what seems to be a small fish in the distance. If you’ve seen the movie, you’d know it’s actually a whale.
But the simple searching and seeing the same thing over and over again. Doesn’t that seem like homemaking? We want some excitement. We want some creativity thrown into our day. But instead, we find the same mountain of laundry begging for our attention. We wash the same dishes each day. Make, generally, the same meals all the time. Soon, all the same-ness feels so heavy and thankless, doesn’t it?
Have you ever thought about burnout in the Bible? It’s actually more common than you’d think. You’d think that because we’re talking about the Bible, that we’re talking about people who had practically mastered life. Instead, we find broken, burnt-out people who are just like you and me.
The group of people off of the top of my mind that dealt with burnout would be the Israelites while they were enslaved in Egypt. If you want to talk about overworked people doing a thankless job, I think they would get that award, wouldn’t you think? Their story kind of begins in Exodus when their burden caused them to cry out to God for relief and He hears them. God raises up Moses from the unlikely place of Egypt during a time when Pharaoh had ordered baby boys to be killed. God then calls Moses to lead His people out of Egypt.
God led His people out of Egypt.
When we’re feeling overworked, burnt out, and unappreciated, maybe what we need is a change of scenery. Sometimes the change of scenery is as simple as a vacation, other times, it’s as simple as just doing something different. When we look out over the sea of sameness, what we might be needing is a change of pace. Maybe that looks like a new routine, maybe it looks like a recipe for dinner tonight, or maybe it looks like painting (or rearranging) a room so that it doesn’t look the same. God led His people out of Egypt. He led them away from their slavery and led them to something different.
God led His people to the wilderness to teach them to listen to His voice and to follow His footsteps.
The Israelites learned to follow God in the wilderness. What will God teach us in our own little wilderness of sameness? Right now, as I consider these “I don’t wanna” seasons of burn out when I step back and I can’t help but notice the ministry that’s being done in the midst of all this sameness. The work we put into these seasons, even when we don’t want to, doesn’t go unnoticed. Our family notices and appreciates our work (even when we don’t think they do). God sees the work that we’re doing and He honors it. But maybe, when we feel frustrated with the same old thing, that we would benefit from listening to God’s voice and looking for His footsteps to follow.
The wilderness served a purpose.
One thing that has always stood out in my mind was the realization that the Israelites, given that they were slaves prior to the wilderness, had to be taught how to do battle. There was so much this little nation lacked and every single bit of it was on how to be a nation! They were immature followers of God. They were immature in battle. They were immature and didn’t realize how to do a lot of things for themselves (which then caused them to miss their time as captives). The wilderness served a purpose where God took this season of their life to teach them valuable lessons that would carry them through the next stage in their growth. Those valuable lessons would be useful when they would step into the Promised Land!
Is our own wilderness meant to give us space to learn valuable lessons that will carry us through the next step in our growth, in our marriages, and in our families? I don’t want to get so caught up in my frustration that I miss the lesson that God is trying to teach me here and now, in the wilderness of sameness. Can you imagine if Israel would have been so focused on their frustration that they were useless when they went to war for the first time? It would be terrible! I don’t want to be unprepared for where God might call me next!
What does the wilderness teach us about burnout?
- It teaches us that we may need a change of scenery. Maybe we need to change up our routines, go on a vacation, or simply seek God for a brand new perspective on our ministry.
- To listen for God’s voice, to watch for His footsteps, and to be prepared to follow His leading in this season of burnout.
- That the wilderness serves a purpose and prepares us for the next stage in our growth.
Hey, you know, I speak whale…
So when you find yourself feeling like Dory and Marlin, turning in every which direction until you spot the fish, let me remind you that the fish is the next stage in your growth. And just like that whale, it’s coming for you. Will you be prepared?