“Frazzled” sounds like the title to the latest Disney movie…oh yeah that’s Frozen. I haven’t seen the movie but I can guess there may be some analogies that can be made. Frazzled is a state of existence, maybe even being for some where you are simply going through the motions of life, barely existing because you are tired, burned out and just plain worn out. Your life source has fizzled…you aren’t running on empty you are running on the fumes!
Ironically or maybe unfortunately this term is most associated with women. We tend to be more prone to stress and being overworked than our male counterparts. Interestingly, I googled “Frazzled” and there is a book and movement called “Frazzled Female”. I haven’t read the book and I don’t know much about the author Cindi Wood…other than she is a Christian author. Needless to say, I can relate to the concept of “being” frazzled, “living frazzled” and thinking this is just the way life is for me…daughter, sister, wife, mother, business owner, student, advocate, counselor, doctor (healer), prayer, minister, and the list goes on for most of us. We women wear many hats and play many roles in the lives of those we love.
This frazzled female realized that I could not exist in the chronic flow of stress, tension and depletion of energy. It took a health challenge several years ago to MAKE me change the way I was living. At that time I was homeschooling 4 children, two with special needs, running a retail boutique with a partner, an elder in my church and overseeing ministry. I was suffering from symptoms of MS. After an MRI and an appointment with a wise neurologist, I accepted the truth. My symptoms were “psychosomatic”, his words not mine, and “my demon was stress”: his words not mine. It was interesting he said “demon”. He calmly told me, “you can’t be all things to all people” and I had to stop. I listened. I put my children in public school, released my half of my retail business, resigned from my eldership at church and began to recover myself. It was not easy. I am sure I went through phases of depression.
In order to recover myself I had to start in prayer. I had to begin to bring spiritual disciples into my life that would help me maintain some level of balance. I had to realize that life with children with special needs could present varying levels of stress on a daily basis. It was not good for me to add onto these stresses by filling my life with unnecessary obligations; especially if those obligations didn’t serve as life-giving additions to my life. Matthew 11: 28-30 (MSG) helped me then and continues to remind me of the “frazzled” self I must resist:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
There is much I could say to expound on this scripture, but I will allow the Holy Spirit to speak. Those bold portions are my reminders. Selah.
It would be wonderful to say that I never contend with my “frazzled” self, but it’s just not the truth. I have learned that as a type A personality I am prone to overextend myself. I have learned that when I am suffering from chronic stress it will manifest in my body. I have learned that I must be diligent to DO those things the LORD has revealed to me to do…come to Him, recover my life, learn the unforced rhythms of grace and keep company with him…in order to keep Ms. Frazzled from ruling.
Earlier I mentioned the book Frazzled Female, I haven’t read that book but two books that I would recommend are: Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life by Keri Wyatt Kent and Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. I have read several books by both authors and their practical wisdom for women has blessed me tremendously. Both authors encourage silence and solitude as spiritual practices just like prayer. I absolutely agree with them and have practiced both as a result of their wisdom. My ministry, Spirit Soak, is the fruit of my spiritual discipline to keep company with Jesus. Soaking is all about communing with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is about “being” with God and not “doing” religious activity.
Most recently, I have been compelled by the Spirit to observe the Sabbath. It is interesting the number of Christians who do not observe a time of rest. The Sabbath is a holy day that our Father consecrated as an appointment with Him. For several months the Lord commanded me to rest. It was imperative because I was again faced with a health challenge. I thank God for the victory but I earnestly believe my obedience to His command was instrumental in the outcome. The book Hebrews says that there remains a rest available for God’s people and we must be diligent to enter into it (Hebrews 4: 9-11). The truth is living a frazzled life is not God’s plan for us; His plan is Sabbath rest. A life of complete total dependence on His goodness and grace to lead, guide, protect and provide for us in every situation and circumstance.
Finally, my transition into a new career as a personal trainer and wellness consultant is also a result of my own revelation of living “frazzled”. We women spend our lives pouring into others and rarely discover that we too need to nourish our own souls. My commitment to encourage women to live lives of wellness is because I know how detrimental chronic stress can be. I know of what I speak.
Friend, we will all encounter our “frazzled” self, such is life. However, the best news is that we have a way of escape. We have someone who has invited us to learn His rhythms of grace, He will teach us. He wants us to keep company with Him and He has promised not to pressure us or put obligations on us that don’t fit who he created us to be. He is our Source of life and His name is Jesus. Leave “frazzled” and learn to live freely and lightly. Our journey continues.