A Sure Way to Become Spiritually Depleted and 2 Ideas to Help Avoid It

Gold Brush Stroke

Overfilling our days: We see others do it and often do it ourselves. And just as a suitcase eventually bursts at the seams (zippers) when overpacked, something will give in our lives too if we continually stuff. Often it’s our spiritual life. 

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free" (Galatians 5:1).

Becoming Spiritually Depleted

So why do we do it? Why do we keep running on the hamster wheel when already dizzy and fatigued? Why don’t we just step off?

What makes a bleary-eyed, overwhelmed, mama attend one more event, say yes to one more activity, stay up long after everyone else is in bed to accomplish one more task?

For most of us, it revolves around two feelings: fear and guilt. As women who care, we have a tendency to carry around loads of both.

We fear what people might think if we actually drop out of something or tell our child no to a requested activity.

We feel guilty that we might not be enough, do enough, say enough (or the right things).

So we run on the hamster wheel:

  • driving this child here; coordinating the activities of another there;
  • squeezing in time with the hubby between listening to the audio Bible to sneak in God time and preparing for tomorrow’s healthy homemade meal;
  • posting one more encouraging comment;
  • transporting the children to the next thing;
  • chairing the PTA meeting;
  • attending the “feel I need to go” meeting;
  • throwing in another load of laundry;
  • working on memorizing that Scripture verse while driving to the “must see” event our child is in;
  • and finally dragging off to bed, too weary to notice if our man is even there.

Come morning we jump back on the wheel, spiritually depleted.

Is It Worth It?

I wonder what’s it all for? Is it worth it?

Is it worth giving up the couch snuggles with our youngest or the late-night soul-searching conversations with our oldest?

Is it worth giving up the contemplative moments stretched out underneath the stars or the time to enjoy spontaneous wrestling matches ?

Is the rat race we run really worth all we give up to have it?

I don’t have all the answers to slowing down. If I did, I wouldn’t be writing this with toothpicks propping open my eyelids.

But I do know this is not God’s design for us. There is something better.

Running faster, doing more, is not the answer to the wearied, aching heart, despite what the culture promotes. Works will not provide us with the peace and joy we long for.

Running faster, doing more, is not the answer to the wearied, aching heart. Share on X

And I do know we won’t ever get off the hamster wheel if we continue to say yes to everything that comes our way.

2 Ways to Dismount

Here are a couple step stools I’ve used to occasionally dismount the wheel:

  1. Say no once in a while (to you, to your community, to your kids—no they won’t hate you forever, in fact they may end up loving you even more). Then let that space that would have been occupied remain open. Don’t fill it with some other planned event. You may be pleasantly surprised by what occurs in the way of rest and relationship.
  2. Intentionally carve out a few minutes every day, once a week, twice a month to sit (or walk aimlessly) and soak in the goodness of God (maybe with loved ones maybe alone). Begin small if that’s all you have, but begin!

Society screams to be more by doing more. Be more involved. Give more time. Give up unscripted time.

Yet if doing more equals more fulfillment, why do we find ourselves emptier and increasingly restless and worn out?

There are good things to do. There are things we should be doing, together as a family, and yes, separately as well. But we are dying trying to do every good thing the right way.

We are dying trying to do every good thing the right way. Share on X

May I give you permission to say no. To stop, even if for a little while, and breathe deep of the freedom Jesus Christ bought for you on the cross.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1


Fear and guilt drive us to run faster and faster on the hamster wheel of doing and going, certain that someday it will slow down and we can enjoy life again. But it never will on its own, and we become spiritually depleted in the process.

Reflections: How do we balance being an involved servant family with the call to be still and the need for downtime? Have you found a good balance?

I’m excited to continue recording blessings this year. Since beginning over 3 years ago, I’ve counted more than 3,500 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! So here we go in 2015: #3639–3659, read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Gently falling snowflakes; Wrestling with the dog and shooting hoops with the boy; God’s gentle reminders that He is near and that He sees
  • Lunch with a true servant; Special people recognizing the worth of Rachel and her entire Special Olympic team and celebrating them at halftime of the high school BB game–Thank You!; A son’s phone call to lift the melancholy
  • Entertained by these little guys; Amazing amount of wildlife in our yard today–a good distraction; Opportunity to be a listener Blue Jay eating out of cat dish-
  • Day with less wind; Arrival of my January Joy Dare Basket books–Thank you, Ann Voskamp!; Diving deeper into Michele Cushatt, Author‘s fantastic new memoir, Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life ‪#‎Undonebook‬ January 2015 Joy Dare Basket books
  • Little shoes for my girl’s tiny feet; Loving guidance of the strong men in my life; The tender heart of my youngest son
  • Rachel’s beginning to clear the table without being asked–she acts so proud to be helping; Many techie things figured out on my blog today; First sledding outing of the winter–and Joey and I survived!
  • Permission and strength to be transparent in the hard days (because we all have them); Grace extended from strangers; Rachel rubbing my back when I most needed it
By His Grace,


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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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