This morning I sipped a cup of coffee and just cried.
I cried with gratitude. I cried with exhaustion. I cried with relief, thanks, frustration, weariness, and empathy.
Let’s be real: We just survived a natural disaster in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s ok to not be ok.
“Unprecedented times” fatigue continues to tear at our stamina and well-being.
Living in “survival mode” is unhealthy for us physically, mentally, and emotionally. And most of us have been living in that place for close to a year now. According to the American Psychiatric Association, common reactions in adults after a disaster include:
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Sadness, depression, hyperactivity, irritability or anger
- Having no feelings at all or feeling numb
- A lack of energy or feeling exhausted all the time
- Lack of appetite or, the opposite, eating all the time
- Trouble concentrating or feeling confused
- Social isolation, reduced or restricted activities
- Thinking no one else is having the same reactions as you
- Headaches, stomachaches, or other body pains
- Misusing alcohol, tobacco, drugs or prescription medications to cope
In addition to all these concerns, we may also be struggling spiritually.
One of my children spoke to me this week about feeling like she’s not growing in her faith. I assured her that we all go through phases like that, especially during dark and difficult periods in our lives. I related it to gardening. When we plant seeds in a garden, it looks and feels like nothing is happening until we can see those first green sprouts coming up from the soil. Right now, in this time of COVID-19 and winter storms, we are planting seeds. The growth and the harvest will come later. For now, we water our faith by spending time in the word, worship, and prayer. We wait for the sun to warm the ground, and we trust new life will burst forth in the Lord’s timing.
It’s similar to Lent. We abstain for now and focus on God and how we can live more intentionally for Him, knowing that Easter is around the corner.
In the meantime, know this last year hasn’t been easy for anyone. Help one another. Focus on opportunities to do good for those around you. Love others like Jesus loves you. And don’t forget to cut yourself some slack, too. We have all been through quite an ordeal, so extend grace and mercy to yourself and others.
The winter thaw is already happening. Look around. The sun is shining. The Son is, too.
Spring — and Easter — are coming soon, friends!