Worn Out Woman
When your life is full and your spirit is empty
Dr. Steve Stephens
Women wear many hats. A wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister, housekeeper, cook, church member, and employee each have extensive job descriptions. Suffice to say, living life with that type of constant motion will inevitably wear a woman out and potentially rob her of her joy—not to mention energy.
Authors Steve Stephens and Alice Gray bring with them a background of psychology, writing, speaking and first hand experience at being “worn out,” and combine in an effort to tackle this predicament. They seek to identify the problems that contribute to our female weariness, and weave together solutions that will help replenish the spirit and reenergize the reader with joy.
The proposed first step toward recovery involves a careful inventory of the reader’s life to determine is she is, in fact, worn out. The authors suggest she first look back at her life/upbringing and pinpoint the reasons she acts the way she does. It is recommended that the reader not dwell in the past; however the patterns she has developed may have been born early in life and recognition is key to her recovery. It also helps if the reader knows her type of temperament, who influences her, and any negative circumstances or trauma that shaped her stressed-out life. Finally in this discovery period, the authors advise the reader, should she have deeper issues, to consult a licensed counselor or psychologist and possibly investigate medical/chemical intervention.
What follows next are the prescribed solutions and, written in no particular order, the reader is free to approach each one on a need-to-know basis. As she investigates her behavior, a woman may inquire of the book to help her,
Accept her limitations/let go of expectations
Try not to control situations/people
Change her current circumstances and potentially work or volunteer in a different atmosphere, one more favorable to her passions
Find God’s will for her life, instead of simply reacting to life situations
Change her attitude/add laughter and thankfulness
Give more of herself and her gifts to others
Simplify her life
Put God in her schedule
Find a few friends
Rid her life of needy individuals
Release sorrows and disappointments to God
Start her day right
Get enough sleep
Appreciate and enjoy the beauty that surrounds her
If attaining joy and energy were as simple as reordering the structure of life, this would be the book women should read. Unfortunately, life is more complicated than that. There are many times in a woman’s life when she will -out of necessity- be worn out. A new baby, a sick parent, a job required for financial stability; all threaten to rob her of energy, joy and peace. These times may not be open to reorganization, so the true test remains; find joy and subsequently energy within them.
A closer look at the Bible reveals that it does not speak to this 21st Century ailment of being worn out. In fact, the woman observed in Proverbs 31 illustrates the very type of woman that fits Chapter 2 of “Worn Out Woman’s” assessment… busy! However by delving into Proverbs, a woman can find the solution her female Biblical counterpart discovered and thereby realize her own. This on-the-go Proverbs 31 woman did not lack energy or joy because she was one who “fears the Lord.”
Perhaps, then, the question that needs to be answered is not, “how can I reorder my life so that I will have more energy, obtain meaning, enrich my relationship with God and therefore find happiness and joy?” Rather, “Am I doing the tasks I have been called to do and if so, how do I glorify God in them?”
Beyond asking the wrong question, this book tends toward the typical self-help dilemma; Worn Out Woman focuses primarily on (wo)man and her gain.
“when I do something for somebody else I feel really happy” pg 100
“having a positive outlook energizes you and draws people to you” pg 88
“you have the right to set limits on your interaction with other people” pg 150
“forgiveness is not only a gift you give to others, it is also a wonderful gift you give to yourself” pg 156
“without your realizing it, these hurts are draining your energy and distracting you from a more fulfilling life” pg 157
“the beauty of God’s creation is inescapable—if we only open our eyes and other senses to appreciate it. More important, it’s a reminder of God’s amazing and ingenious provision for us” pg 213
As well, the Bible is added-to or subtracted-from in interpretation.
“King David cried out, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God’ Surely one way God does this is by helping us clear out the mental, emotional and spiritual clutter we’re so tired of wading through.” Pg 110
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.” Pg 117
“Setting boundaries with other people can significantly lower your stress, but only if you are clear with yourself and others about what they are…You need to be direct and firm – as the apostle Paul reminds to ‘speak the truth in love” pg 149
Where scripture is quoted it is either a) minimized in it’s importance; i.e. number 3-5-or even 7 on the solution list or b) deemed insufficient in and of itself to tackle the so-called problems.
The authors believe that God continues to speak,
“when God speaks to you through Scripture or during your prayer time, you can write down what you hear so you won’t forget.” Pg 125
“Prayer is not a monologue but a conversation. Pray as though God is present….pause briefly after each statement of praise, each request, and listen for how God responds.” Pg 124
And visualizing is used as an alternative route in order to move forward in the prescribed solutions,
“Then imagine walking into a glorious throne room where Jesus is waiting. Place the package at His feet and wait as He bends down and lovingly picks it up. After He removes the wrapping, He tenderly holds the gift close in His arms.” Pg 184
In all, this book suits a very secular need. The little amount of truth it contains is buried in a sea of psychology and 7-steps of self-help. A Christian woman in quest of joy and energy in her life would be better equipped to handle her varied and stressful situations by seeking to learn the fear of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, and where true strength comes from.
A recommendation of books on those topics include, “Desiring God” by John Piper or “Take Charge of Your Life” by Dr. Richard Ganz