I don’t know about you but as a mom I could use a little cheerleading, some pats on the back, and some general words of encouragement approximately every 5.72 seconds.
Whether dealing with sleep deprivation and poopy diapers or navigating the complex waters of a child’s illogical brain and resulting behavior, the constant demands of motherhood zap my energy like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I feel like I need to bring my “A-game” around the clock, which is virtually impossible.
Ya feel me? Do you have mommy meltdowns too?
When I was a new mom three kids under five, I was losing it—frequently. After a few months (ahem, years) of struggling, I finally came across a method that would help me be refreshed enough to make it through (most) days.
I have a personal cheerleader! His name is God. Also affectionately called Jesus, Lord, Dad and a few other names.
Yep, God offers words of encouragement throughout my day. I just have to know where to find them and how to use them.
Words of Encouragement
About a year ago when I was in the midst of launching my new blog, I was having a rough week. I was feeling exhausted and disorganized and just threw together a quick post: 11 Bible Verses for the Exhausted Mama.
It turned out that I’m not the only exhausted mama out there. Shocking.
It was relatively easy to put the post together. I had recently developed a new habit that saved my sanity on the days when the coffee wasn’t strong enough and neither was my willpower: writing down all of my favorite Bible verses on 3×5 notecards. I placed them on my kitchen counter where they were highly visible. And every time I had a meltdown, I’d reach for them and start flipping through them.
Over time, I noticed two gradual changes in myself:
- I was able to talk myself down from whatever crazy feelings I was having at the time.
- I eventually “weaned” myself off of turning to the cards because I pretty much had them memorized.
I’m convinced that this simple discipline transformed the way I think and has helped me to not completely lose it when I’m having a rough day.
Want to create a similar habit? Here are three ways turn to the Bible when you’re having your inevitable “mommy moments.”
1. Use the Bible To Replace Lies with Truth
This might be sobering news if you’ve never considered it before, but we are fed lies our whole lives. They come from all directions: media, friends, family, negative experiences, even our own creative brains. Lies like:
I’m a failure.
I don’t measure up to others.
I’m ruining my children.
I’m not cut out for this.
Enter yours here _________________.
And it’s no wonder when you read passages like this:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. —1 Peter 5:8 NIV
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. —John 8:44 NIV
Well okay then. Apparently we’re up against some scary stuff.
To effective way to get rid of lies, you have to recognize them and replace them with truth, just as Jesus did when he was tempted by the devil in the desert (see Matthew 4:1–11). He responded to each and every argument with a scripture.
The only way to do that is to know what the Bible says. And the only way to know what it says is to read it—a lot! Keep reading to learn how.
2. Use the Bible To Retrain Your Brain
Our brains are absolutely fascinating. Neural pathways are like lanes on a superhighway, and our thoughts are like the cars. The thing about those cars, however, is that they like to take the paths of least resistance, out of habit. Have you ever gone on autopilot on your way to somewhere you go everyday, without even thinking about it? I tease my husband sometimes, because sometimes on weekends when we pull out of the driveway, he’ll immediately start driving to work if he’s not thinking hard enough about it.
The problem with this neural tendency is that it applies to negative thought patterns. You know what it’s like: you go down this negative thought path (a lie!), usually unconsciously, out of habit. It’s likely that this negative thought pattern has been entrenched in your brain for years, so it’s really hard to get rid of it.
But you can get rid of it (read more about this in From Despair to Hope: the Science of Choosing Your Thoughts). And the way to do it is with the Bible. Practically speaking, that means that you have to teach your thought to go down a new lane by consciously introducing a new thought. Over time, choosing the positive thought over the negative one will be the more natural habit!
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. —Philippians 4:8, NIV
Words of encouragement from the Bible aren’t just like bandaids you put on your wounds; they change your brain from the inside out.
3. Impress the Bible Throughout Your Daily Life
At this point you might be thinking, “Okay Gina, I know I need to use the Bible to undo the lies in my head and to retrain my brain, but I don’t know how.” Perhaps this very large and old book intimidates you, you don’t know which scriptures you should use and you need help!
And in order for the Bible to be effective, I believe we need to saturate our lives with it, in the spirit of Deuteronomy 6:5–8 (NIV)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
For me, all it took was a few notecards placed in a prominent place. For you, maybe you need to put some sticky notes on your bathroom mirror, on your phone’s wallpaper or in your planner. Trust me, those little reminders go a long way in changing the way you think.
If you’re not even sure what Bible verses you need throughout your day, I’ve got great news for you! After the popularity of my post for exhausted moms, I’ve done a whole series of Bible verses for moms! I’ve grouped together words of encouragement based on common feelings moms deal with: exhaustion, grumpiness, loneliness, insecurity and more.
For easy access, I also offer a printable download of each list of scriptures, which you can get for free by signing up below:
Also be sure to check out my Quiet Time Bucket List post for more ideas about how to dig into your Bible.