Have you ever expressed the feeling that you are juggling too many balls and a well-meaning friend has suggested that maybe you just need to let a couple of things go? The problem is that sometimes there’s nothing you can let go and you’re getting to the point of wanting to throw it all down in a tantrum and cry. But you can’t really.
According to Psychologies, a monthly women’s health and mental well-being magazine, you need a life upgrade.
This enlightening revelation only came to me because there was a lady on the train on Friday who happened to be reading said magazine. There was a lovely watercolour background to the four page spread presenting the quiz: What Life Upgrade Do YOU Need? and I realised, rather than getting better at juggling, why not just upgrade my life altogether?
Sadly, I only managed to surreptitiously scribble down three out of four of the answers before she turned the page. All the same, I thought I’d share them with you in the hopes that you might find the cure to your burn-out among them. Why not? The answer to all your problems might just be there.
Maybe you’re struggling with everything that’s going on because you’re just all over the place. If you could get yourself a nice colouring book and a tin of pencils, or if you could master minimalism or hygge, or do yoga or something, your life would be so much easier.
By taking an hour or two out of your day to practice breathing exercises and realign your chi(ll), you might have even less time to do all the things you need to do but it won’t matter anymore. You will have achieved the mental focus to concentrate better on how stressed and overstretched you are!
If you already have cognitive clarity enough to be able to zoom in on your inadequacies, consider instead having a daily routine (or adjusting your daily routine).
By creating a rough timetable for your daily life, you can upgrade it from chaos into organised despair. The exercise alone of trying to sit down and plan a routine will make you feel better because you’ll discover a new appreciation, admiration, and (let’s face it) envy for all your marvellous friends who even have time to Instagram how well they can keep it together.
On the other hand, perhaps you are already mentally focused on how little time and ability you have to keep up with a daily routine in which case, fear not! There is a third lifestyle upgrade option just for you.
Start talking to yourself!
Sure, it’s a well documented sign of madness (which is why you use your inner voice) but at least you’ll finally have someone to talk to who understands what you are going through. No one gets you better than you and talking to yourself may not prevent you from becoming exhausted and having a breakdown but at least you have someone you can whine at who can’t just walk away while you moan.
“What This Bike Really Needs,” Said Mrs Armitage
Ah, I see you are still juggling all your responsibilities and concerns. Me too (I typed this with my toes). But at least this magazine article has taught us how to improve our lives: we just need the mental focus to complain to ourselves about how unrealistic our daily routine is.
In all seriousness, I don’t know about you but I feel seriously let down by these proposals. When struggling with having too much that needs to be done, it doesn’t help to be given something else to be doing. It would seem that ‘upgrading your life’ only adds more burdens to worry about. None of these things help with the utter exhaustion and frequent frustration of trying to balance work, church, family, and the everyday tasks of living.
Here’s something you don’t have to buy a magazine to work out: it’s not an upgrade that you need. Bigger and better doesn’t make life any easier to bear. A bigger home means more housework. A different job means different but equally trying colleagues. A different church comes with different baggage. You don’t need an upgrade, weary one, you need to look up.
I’m not sure that God doesn’t give us more than we can bear. I think he does because how else would we be reminded just how much we need him? We forget our need so quickly when we have strength enough to carry ourselves. His power is, after all, made perfect in weakness and his grace, he has said, is sufficient.
We’re not promised that life will be easy when we believe, we’re only promised help, that if we wait on the Lord, our strength will be renewed. If we cast our burden on him, we are sustained.
That doesn’t give you license to stop doing what you’re doing. On the contrary, it reminds us to keep going because even when flesh and heart fail, he sustains us. Sure, it’s difficult. Life has been ever since the Fall and it will be until Jesus comes back again.
In the meantime, we have to persevere through the aching desire just to throw it all down and refuse to go on. We have to remember that he gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
The struggle is real. And I mean that not in a millennial way but wholeheartedly. There are days when you wake up wishing the world would stop for a minute so you could get off, wishing for a moment of rest but unable to grasp it. It’s the way of life now, always toiling.
But we aren’t the world. We don’t find our answers in multiple choice quizzes in nicely designed magazines that tell us we should sort out our mental focus, inner voice, and daily routine, that we should do crosswords and drink more water. We find our strength and refreshment in Christ.
We’ve just got to wait on him. He’ll renew your strength.