Healthy Living,  Personal Growth

Jesus Called Her Out For Living Life Stressed Out. How To Be At Peace When You Feel Like You’re Drowning.

Have you ever been so stressed out that you felt like you were drowning? If so, you are not alone. I have. There’s even a story in Scripture where Jesus calls a woman out, and as He has a way of doing, reveals the root cause of her stress. Stress obliviously isn’t a new problem, so we’re going to look back to find the solution to having an abundant life in the midst of crazy circumstances.

In the summer of 2011 my husband, Tyler, and I were serving as youth pastors, and we had 3 kids, ages 4 and under and I felt like I was drowning. I was overwhelmed and life was about to get crazier.

Due to the economic aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession, our family was in a situation requiring that Tyler oversee two ministry departments at our rapidly growing church. In addition, I had to go back to work fulltime. With a 4 year old, a 2 year old who had recently been hospitalized with an unexplained seizure, and an 11 month old, this made my mama heart ache.

My ultimate desire was to be at home, taking care of my babies, and although I had worked one day a week throughout their entire lives, they had never known a reality of having a full-time baby-sitter.

During this season I first experienced real anxiety as an adult (read more about that here). I was scared, exhausted, and overwhelmed. Looking back, I now can honestly say that I am thankful for that season. I learned invaluable lessons about how to live abundantly in the midst of circumstances that I would not choose, and I’m going to share that with you in this post.

Why are women stressed out?

As women we are over-achievers at being caregivers and putting the needs of others before our own. We also live in a social media era where we get to see everyone else’s highlight reel. We are forced to wrestle through the comparison trap that no generation before us has had to navigate.

According to a 2019 Gallop poll, women statistically make up nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce. In more households than not, we typically carry the greatest responsibility in taking care of our children’s needs, overseeing that food is purchased and prepared, seeing that laundry gets done, the house gets cleaned, and the bills get paid.

All of the things listed above are good things. Caring for others and serving others is good. Working and caring for our family is good. However, it is not good when we neglect our health because we prioritize everything else in front of it. If we are not investing into our physical, emotional, and spiritual health, we will not have inner peace or reach our fullest potential in loving and serving others.

As Christians, we have access to all of Jesus’ promises. He said that He came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. However, how often do we find ourselves looking around, wondering if abundant life is possible?

What is abundant life?

Abundant life is only fully possible by putting our trust in Jesus and resting in what He has done for us. He offers us fullness of joy, peace in the midst of trying circumstances, and 24-7 access to the Holy Spirit, who comforts, counsels, and leads us into all truth.

I have seen many Christian women struggle with the idea of prioritizing abundant life for themselves because they see it as synonymous with living selfishly or self-indulgence. This simply is not the case. Choosing abundance is resting in Jesus and prioritizing your emotional, spiritual, and physical health. From a place of health, we are most able to reach our fullest potential in our work, our relationships, and our service to others.

Women have struggled with stress for thousands of years

Just this morning I was reminded of a woman in Scripture that was a lot like us modern-day, multi-tasking, over-achieving, getter-doners. Her story actually gives me a lot of hope, because I’m reminded that Jesus loved her enough to call her out for living stressed out, and I can feel the nudge of Him lovingly calling me out too.

While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”

The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

But Jesus, the work still has to get done

Martha’s story in the Gospel of Luke is a perfect example of the reality that there are responsibilities that do have to get done. The bills still have to get paid, our families still need to eat, and we prefer to wear clothes that look and smell clean.

Martha was hosting Jesus, the Savior of the world, and likely his twelve disciples as well. There was a lot of work to do in order to get the food on the table. Talk about pressure; hello! But Jesus lovingly reminded her that she needed to determine what was most important in order to be at peace. Her sister, Mary, was sitting at the Savior’s feet as He spoke life into her soul.

Dinner still would have happened if Martha had joined her sister at Jesus’ feet, just not on Martha’s timetable.

What can we do about it?

To live life abundantly and not stressed out, intentionality is a must. No one can prioritize our emotional, spiritual, and physical health for us, we have to choose to make it a priority.

Step 1. Determine what is most important

The first step is to actually determine your personal, core values. Do this when you are not distracted and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Ask yourself, “When everything is stripped away, what is most important? What are my personal, core values“? I used the language, “who I am” when writing out my core values. My list looks like this:

Who I am

  • I am a lover of Jesus.
  • I am healthy in how I care for my body, mind, and spirit.
  • I am a best friend, partner, and loving wife to Tyler.
  • I am an engaged, loving mom to Judah, Justus, and Faith.
  • I am an encourager to others to help them overcome adversity and live abundantly.
  • I am the overseer of feeding our family well and making our house a home.

Step 2. What do I do?

Then take your list of personal core values and go a little bit deeper. If my first core value is that I am a lover of Jesus, how do I actually prioritize that? I’m sharing my list as an example.

What I do:

  • I spend time with Jesus in the mornings.
  • I eat real foods, exercise 6 days a week, sleep 8 hours a night, and practice a weekly sabbath.
  • I prioritize my marriage by looking for ways to bless my husband each day.
  • I am present for my children and not distracted by less important things.
  • I spend time in the mornings creating, reading, and writing.
  • I manage my time well. If I get on social media, it is after I have done the important things.
  • I encourage others to overcome adversity and live abundantly.
  • I steward our resources well.

What is this time for?

Before we get to the final step in this practice, here is a valuable question to ask yourself, “Are the things that I did today in alignment with my personal core values? Are the things that I spent my time on causing me to become the person that I want to be”?

The Ancient Greek language had two words for time. The first, Chronos, “meaning what time is it”? The other, Kairos meaning “what is this time for”? I believe that question, “what is this time for”? is where we very practically find the key to prioritizing our core values in the midst of crazy-busy responsibilities.

As you saw on my list, my top priority is that I’m a lover of Jesus. Honestly, I know that if I don’t plan to spend time with Jesus in the morning, by reading my Bible and journaling, it most likely will not get done. The same goes for exercise. If I push exercise back and say I’ll do it in the afternoon, something always will come up and I end up choosing not to exercise. So I have designated my early mornings for investing in my spiritual and physical health.

Remember that everything we say “yes” to, means that we are are saying “no” to something else. If I say yes to staying up late, watching Netflix, I most likely am saying no to waking up early, to invest in my health.

We have to determine to be at peace in saying no to the less important things, so that we can say yes to the most important things.

Step 3. What my time is for

Based on your core values that you wrote out in step 1 and 2 , designate blocks of time to intentionally prioritize what is most important in your life. No, you won’t be perfect everyday. Yes, everyday something unexpected typically comes up. We still need to intentionally determine the purpose of blocks of time during the day. The awesome thing is that we get to start fresh each day!

Here is an an example of how I put my core values into blocks of time:

What is this time for?

Monday – Friday

EARLY MORNING – Spiritual & physical health

MID MORNING – Work: writing, creating, developing

AFTERNOON – Cleaning and errands

EVENING – Family time





If you’d like to go deeper into developing good habits, I highly recommend the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear.


My life looks different than it did in 2011 and therefore, my list of how I prioritize my health has to be analyzed and adjusted often. And, I’m reminded almost daily of my need to rest in Jesus and His grace. I can’t live abundant life in my own strength and you can’t either.

If you are not yet prioritizing your health, I encourage you to begin this practice right away. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you write out or type your core values and look at it each morning. Remind yourself that you are worthy of investing in your health, living with inner peace, and reaching your fullest potential. This is all possible because Jesus promised us abundant life!

I’d love to hear from you! What is one of your core values and how do you live it out?