The Secret to Making it to the end of December without blowing apart

The Cup of Tea
~ Mary Cassatt

I am reposting from a couple of years ago. But as I was rereading this post, it spoke to me. This week has added stress to an already very stressful season with the shootings and economy and so much more.

But the essence of this post is still so true. We must guard our health–mentally, spiritually and physically, and see that we do not run dry, or else we will crater. Even today, I decided to lay down for 15 minutes and just seek peace because I needed that more than I needed to keep pumping more adrenalin into my body from so much to do.

So, today, instead of mentoring Monday, I offer you the admonition to take care of yourself today, say no to something, sit down and listen to some music for 5 minutes with a lit candle–just find a way to decide to walk this week with peace.

Dear Sally,
A Mom

Dear Mom,

I have said and felt a need for help so very often and so I offer you my best advice. First of all, chill out. Take a little time for yourself until you can get perspective. I hope something I say may help. I have had to learn that no one else in the world will be responsible for my over-all well being. I have a husband and children who need me, and as I have said before, they are going to want to continue eating every day and want to wear relatively clean clothes, with the expectation that I will be the one to keep this going. However, there are times I run out of soul-fuel and have to stop it all to refuel the tank of my heart, soul, mind and body.

As we all know, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So, I have to tend to my own happiness and well being and you need to tend to yours.

I am responsible for my rest, my quiet time, my eating and exercise, filling my cup, so that it will not be empty when others want to keep taking and taking from me–and I am also the manager of my  my chill time. Laughing and lightening up really brings health to the bones. (A joyful heart is good medicine has been proved by the medical research1) I do have countless emails in my inbox vying for my attention, and people expecting to hear from me, but I know that I will never get to them all, even if I wish I could–never, ever, but it is God’s will for me to survive with grace.

And there are tasks calling my name around the house, but I have become the queen of turning my head away and trying to stick to my most important priorities. I have found that there will be just as many things screaming for my attention tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

But today, I know that my body and mind need a little rest and my emotions become frayed and I become grumpy if I don’t create a little break. No one else is going to tell me when I have reached my limit. But if I do not monitor myself, my children and husband and I will come to regret it when I blow!  I am a steward of my limitations and body. If I don’t protect my  walk with the Lord, it will get eaten up in everyone else’s agenda.

Though still learning, I am always simplifying and evaluating if something is worth the effort–(I do think that making things beautiful and special during the holidays are worth the effort as it builds the taste and values and work ethic and ministry skills of my children–but all in its season, and only so much.

Not everything “we have always done before,” has to be done. Fast food with candles lit is just fine. But it may not be worth it to answer one more phone call or one more email–as this will certainly steal from my children and husband who need me today. Sometimes, I have even been known to hide from my children. It made me smile.

Each of us has a different puzzle and different personality and we must accept our limitations within our own story and be comfortable being ourselves. There is great freedom in deciding to enjoy who I am, as I am not going to essentially change any time soon! I see so many moms seeking to live up to other’s expectations and ideals and then burning out in the process. I have high work times,  and times when I just can’t get anything done–and somehow the world does not crash when I take time to just live and enjoy, and avoid the “I have to do everything or I will be a failure” syndrome.

It is why I have my cup of tea every day–a way of saying, “I will take time for a moment of pleasure and peace, because it centers me, and I have decided I will last a lot longer in this very long distant race, if I build anchors of serendipity into my schedule.”

If you and I don’t eventually make peace with our own life circumstances, then we are in danger of cultivating a heart of bitterness, inadequacy, guilt or whining, or possibly blowing apart into oblivion. But if we become the conductors of our own life symphonies and live within our own melody of life, we will last longer more gracefully with the God of grace who leads us.

Spend time in God’s word and let Him love you and you love Him back. He came for you–he came to comfort. Let His comfort be yours. You cannot find peace without the prince of peace.

Take time to regroup today–Go eat some chocolate, and don’t feel guilty as you are eating it–that is a waste of good chocolate! Listen to some beautiful music, watch a heart-warming movie, take a nap, eat off of paper plates! The rest of December is still coming and you will be the better for it! I’ll be praying for you!


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  1. says

    “Go eat some chocolate, and don’t feel guilty as you are eating it–that is a waste of good chocolate!”–truer words have never been spoken :)

    Praying for you today, and thank you for the words of perspective this morning!

  2. says

    I loved the title of this post, as I’ve been wondering that exaclty, just how I will make it to the end of December without blowing apart! Brilliant title!!

    I might print out a couple of copies of this post, one for me and one for a friend. Wonderful advice!


  3. Shauna Congelliere says

    Your note to Moms reminds me of the same message my friend with cancer shared – the idea is to THRIVE not merely SURVIVE. Jesus did not come into the world to give us a day to make ourselves crazy trying to celebrate it. He arrived without glitz and chaos – quietly and humbly he came. I love this message to slow down, live purposefully, enjoy quiet moments, simplifying and evaluating how we are to live. All by God’s grace… thanks Sally.

  4. Valeska says


    you are such a blessing! Each and every one of your articles is brilliant. I have been close to burn out myself these past couple of weeks/months due to different circumstances and I have come to the realization that the world keeps turning even if I don’t accomplish everything I had planned. There is so much pressure on women nowadays it is almost unhealthy trying to live up to it. I have been taking it easy for a week or so and I feel so much better already. I was a nervous wreck but God put on my heart to “just be” and enjoy. Taking a minute just to sit down with the kids instead of doing yet another load of laundry etc. Your articles are so very encouraging and you always hit the nail on the head . You encourage me all the time just to keep going and I know you are a wonderful blessing to so many people. Keep doing what you are doing. I am looking forward to more life giving words of yours in the new year! Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with your loved ones!

  5. says

    Much needed word for me today.

    My potential blow-out isn’t Christmas related just life related. So many needs so little time and all under my own roof…this doens’t even count the outside world. I loved where you said:

    ” I have had to learn that no one else in the world will be responsible for my over-all well being”


    “If you and I don’t eventually make peace with our own life circumstances, then we are in danger of cultivating a heart of bitterness, inadequacy, guilt or whining, or possibly blowing apart into oblivion. But if we become the conductors of our own life symphonies and live within our own melody of life, we will last longer more gracefully with the God of grace who leads us.”

    I have entered that “danger zone” of late. Trying to find the balance between what really does need doing and being one person doing it. And doing it pretty much with little or no support.
    Anyway, God used your words for my heart today.

    off to listen for the melody of “my” life.

  6. Anda Brown says

    Oh Sally! I’m sitting here at almost midnight, all 7 of my children in bed, and I am laughing and crying at the same time! Thank you so much for this TIMELY word! Instead of doing all the wonderful holiday prep that I had planned for today, I instead ended up combing lice/nits out of my 6-yr-old’s hair for 4 hours (there was an “epidemic” at her school for a span of 6 weeks before the holidays – we didn’t make it out in time. :)) Anyway, I was a pitiful gratitude model today and I’ve been beating myself up for it off and on all night. Thanks for reminding me to laugh! You remind me to just BE with Jesus! Merry Christmas!

  7. says

    Oh Sally, I SOOOO desperately needed to read this today. I’ve heard you give this advice before but I needed this reminder. I’m printing up this post and will hang it on my vanity mirror as I’m certain I’ll need to review it many times in the coming days.
    Meanwhile, someone else can clean up the kitchen tonight — or not. Maybe it’ll just wait til morning. Regardless, I’m going to spend the evening refueling.
    Love you much!

  8. Kim Allen says

    I spent an hour in bed this morning listening to the kids trying to help themselves to breakfast…..feeling an overwhelming sense of dread. Is it normal to be scared of your own kids?? I definitely needed to read this post this morning! Sally, thank you so much for the encouraging words. I will be returning to this post over and over again.

  9. Heather says


    I haven’t read this yet as I wanted to print it to take it with me through my day. Is there a ‘print’ button somewhere that I’m missing? If not, could there be a way to easily access a printer-friendly version of your posts?


  10. Leslie Dawn says

    Dear Sally, Truly The Lord had used you to tell me to seek Him first. I have a daughter in a coma at home over 5 1/2 years and we have five sons in the nest too. I “was” daily reading my One Year Bible with our youngest (14 y.o.) and started walking 2 1/2 miles a day & we would take turns praying. It’s a new good habit I’m training Asher Brooks in, we take turns thinking of what to pray—it’s wonderful. I’ve been letting things come between our Bible time & I’ve been staying up too late. Yep, I need to turn around. And I’ve been working on loosing weight as my health needs this! I’ve lost 25 pounds. Soon I’ll be weighing in the 160′s, I’ve been over 200 at 5’6″ . And it is a huge help to have a lighter burden.. Things are looking up. I “was” memorizing Song Of Solomon. It turned out so pretty. I need to get back on to doing good, and not being weary in well doing. I know He is able to do anything. …so help me God♥

  11. Domoina M. RATSIZAFY says

    Thanks for yur help, thanks for your answer to help many moms around the word, you are a great tool for HIS glory for wholeheart mothering. Thanks, and be always blessed

  12. Hillarey says

    I really needed to hear this from another mom! My sweet hubby is always encouraging me to take time for myself and I always feel so guilty. It seems like there is ALWAYS a project or something that needs cleaned up, even the basics are hard to always get accomplished in a day. I am starting to realize I am expecting too much of myself some times though, and I need to learn to give myself that half hour or hour here and there. And a friend just offered to babysit for me once a week if I want time to myself. . . so maybe I need to take her up on it!

  13. Anna says

    Deep sigh…. This encouragement was sweetness to my soul. With a child recovering from surgery, me getting over the flu, changes in schedules and slightly feeling burned out – this was a timely word and my heart wants to cling to this truth and walk in the freedom that comes from accepting my limitations and rejoicing in the truth. I can plan my way, but The Lord directs my steps.

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