As you head out today, do you smile as the clouds course across the sky, or do you reach for your umbrella? Do you see the glory of God’s creation in a meadow of wildflowers or do recoil at the thought of bug bites? These days when “Snoopy” kisses you do you hug him back or run away crying, “GERMS…get the disinfectant!”
Remember when we smiled, praised God, and hugged back? It seems like we have gone from being free to being fear-filled. After years of being battered by crisis after crisis: hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism, financial issues, political stresses, nor’easters, wildfires, mass shootings, Murder Wasps, and now another pandemic and civil unrest, our nervous systems are worn out. In addition, there are those of us who are suffering personal crises like my friend Elizabeth who is spending weeks at a time in the hospital with her two-year-old son, Ruddy, battling leukemia, and my friend Leila, whose twenty-five year old son Carter is struggling to find a new “normal” after losing an arm in addition to other serious injuries when he was hit by a boat while snorkeling with friends. Many if not most of us are suffering from “crisis fatigue.” Our brains can only take so much bad news!
Like me, do you sometimes not remember what day it is? Does getting things done seem to take so much longer these days? Does “more time” seem like way “less time?” I honestly don’t know where the days go! There are moments that feel surreal to me and to borrow a line from Pete Seeger, moments that feel like my “get up and go, got up and went.” Thankfully, when we don’t have the energy to put the tears of our heart into words, those are the very moments when the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness:
“For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, becausethe Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
“Crisis fatigue” is real and some of the symptoms are fatigue, depression, anxiety, problems sleeping, a sense of generally not feeling well, frustration, anger, and despair. There is also evidence of weight gain, high blood pressure, breakdown in relationships, a sense of impending doom and social withdrawal. So how do we turn this around in our own lives amid quarantines and curfews?
Start by cutting back on the hours of watching the “news” on the internet and TV. Go for a drive. Plant a garden. Start some of those projects you have been meaning to get to. Read for pleasure and relaxation. Try a jigsaw puzzle or Suduko. I know you can come up with some of your own ideas!
My “go to” is God. We need to pull our hearts and minds away from fear and turn to faith. God is a faithful presence in our life. He keeps calling us to Himself, and we keep worrying about tripping and falling. It’s time to read our Bible and meditate on His word. We need to practice trusting Him in all things. We don’t need herculean acts, we just need to love God and love our neighbor. We need to let Jesus use us, right where we are whether at home or work, to give Him glory.
Let’s not buy into a crisis culture. Let’s focus on all of God’s gifts that we can be thankful for. A grateful heart will reap the rewards of healing, comfort and peace. Let’s focus on Jesus’ gift of redemption and salvation. By it, He has given us hope and a future. Let’s, Trust in the Lord with all [our] heart;
and not lean on [our] own understanding; [but] seek His heart in all that we do, and follow the path that He lays out before us. (Proverbs 3:5-6)