It has been a struggle lately to wake up with optimism and hope. Some nights I can’t sleep, and I’m usually a good sleeper. I wake in the middle of the night, with unsettling thoughts about our crumbling society, the tension, and the helpless frustration I feel. This feeling is out of my comfort zone, so I count my blessings.
I often still feel heavy, and not the kind where I need to lose a few pounds, which I do, but a stifling weight that our world is changing rapidly. Our time is shortening, the days are coming quickly.
Do you feel it? A month flies by like a short week, on fast forward speed. Each day brings news of new loses of freedom, global threats, mistrust and disappointment in our nation’s leaders, attacks on our livelihoods, and families.
Mandates have become an ugly word. In LA County, children ages 5 and older must get the shot or get expelled from public schools. It was voted 11-2 to require “proof of vaccination” in order to shop for food, dine in a restaurant, attend nearly any event, or a business offering self-care (salon, day-spa, massage) – so basically anywhere you go. Get this shot or you can’t function in society. This tyranny goes into effect November 4th.
Whether you agree with mandates or not, as Americans we have rights to choose what is best for our children and our bodies. Who is standing up for our Constitution? Where are our rights as Americans to make informed choices?
Alex Berenson, from Unreported Truths wrote this about vaccine mandates, “…they should never, never, never be mandated.” He continues, “In the United States, we do not force adults to take medicines, or have medical procedures if they are psychiatrically competent (and it is quite difficult to get long-term judgments of incompetency, as it should be). We do not make them lose weight. Or stop drinking. Or exercise. We do not make women get abortions (or get pregnant). Personal medical decision making is personal; It does not belong to the state.”
Covid-19 and vaccines have created tension and broken relationships in many households, between husbands and wives, parents and children, and within friend circles. If the election didn’t divide our country, these issues have. Counselors are inundated with new clients needing help and healing.
The pressure is palpable and real. Some days it feels crushing, overwhelming, and exhausting. I struggle to move through my to-do list. Even decorating for fall, my favorite time of year, felt like walking through thick molasses. Usually I have such excitement, as the house transforms into a warm, cozy space, with spiced pumpkin in the air. Not this year. Sure, the house looks the part, but my heart has not been in it.
Can you relate to these feelings?
A friend explained it as, we’ve been in a “fight or flight” mode for over 19 months, and it’s still not over. We can’t function effectively in this state.
I agree with her, but it feels bigger than that. It feels like the spiritual battles spoken about in Revelation. This last book in the Bible is an unveiling of truth about the things we can’t see. Jesus reveals that He wins the battle of good and evil. He knows what we are going through and He is our security, our unshakable foundation. Whether geological, economic, or political disorder, Jesus tells us to not be afraid. He is seated on the throne, triumphant, in the control seat, and present with us. The end has already been written. Those who call Jesus, LORD don’t need to fear. (More on this in part 2)
With that said, how do we practically make it through our day to day? Here is how I’ve chosen to gain my strength, energy, focus, and find peace.
1.Quiet Time & Coffee: Every morning I start my day reading my devotions, Bible, and I pray… a lot. I spend time in the presence of God, pouring out my hurt and my heart to the One who can shoulder my burdens. I focus on who God is and praise him.
I remind myself of myidentity in Him. (Forgiven, loved, known, a daughter of the King) I confess my sins and repent, so He can blot them out like white out.
I read the Psalms to gain strength and perspective. Every human emotion is recorded in this book: Fear, hurt, anger, disappointment, rejoicing, gratefulness, and peace. It helps.
2. Writing: Journaling my thoughts, emotions, concerns, and gratefulness, helps get it out. Even if it is just a paragraph, I release to paper what is stirring inside. I record what God has shown me that morning, or what He is teaching me through His Word.
3. A Walk Outside: Getting outside in the fresh air, with earbuds in, listening to my worship playlist helps me gain hope, joy, peace, and perspective. I thank God for the trees, flowers, blue sky, and my life in Him. I usually return feeling healthy and invigorated.
4. “Be Gracious to Yourself:” Some days I have energy and feel strong, and a lot gets accomplished. Other days I feel the weight and pressure, so I give myself permission to not accomplish all the things on my “To do list.” I may prepare some comfort food for dinner, or talk with a friend.
4. Grateful for Little Things: I have found myself grateful for my home, food in the pantry, friends to laugh and share with, a smile and a wave, fresh water to drink, freedom to read my Bible, a delicious smelling candle, toothpaste, and coffee. Some may sound silly, but I’m not taking anything for granted right now. I am truly grateful for simple things.
5. Workout: A hard workout (I recommend weight training, kickboxing, or putting up a heavy weight bag in your garage for punching and kicking the crud out of it, releasing anger and hostility) helps me feel strong and energized. Holy Yoga also inspires a healthy body and mind, as I listen to worship and practice on my mat.
6. Talk with a trusted friend: Daily I feel baffled by what I read or hear. It is honestly surreal. Like I’m living in an episode of the Twilight Zone or a prank TV show. Talking with a close friend and sharing thoughts, enables me to not feel like I’m going crazy.
7. Make Your Voice Heard: Sign petitions, write letters to our representatives, attend City Council Meetings or School Board Meetings.
I’ll wrap up with this. Do not lose heart.
Paul wrote in Ephesians Chapter 6, a warning to the disciples of Jesus. In the Message Bible (a modern language version), he says this, 13-18 “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
How have you been feeling lately? What do you do to cope? Please share in the comments below, as we lift one another up with encouragement in community. Or email me directly at [email protected]
Such a timely post and I am certain it will resonate with others as it has me.
I do many of the same things that you are doing – praying, repenting, devotional time, exercise and really trying to be a light to others. It is SO hard! It’s all too easy to wallow in this horrid pit that we find ourselves and yet what a blessing (to me as well) it is when I do try and make another’s day a bit kinder.
Making our home a haven has been super important this year. Last year I honestly didn’t care and I truly felt myself falling into what seemed to be a never end pit. This year I forced myself and found that after doing it for a few months, it really did help me to see all the many blessings that God has bestowed on me.
The world is scary – but we know that God is on the throne and we know how this story ends. I take my comfort in that and turn to God when I just can’t take anymore. We have also made a very concerted effort to minimize watching news as more and more I feel it is the primary tool of Satan. I have also changed my social media accounts to post and read only from those who are positive and uplifting – NO politics allowed. My sister and I do not agree on the vaccine and so we just don’t go there. She is quite aware of how I feel and so we leave it at that. I can’t agree more with your post in that the government has NO business sticking it’s nose (and more) in our personal, private, medical decisions. We have HIPAA for a reason!
Thank you for posting this Leann. We SO need to lean on one another as we go through this journey! ♥
Lin, in tears I read your comments. As I am jumping back into blogging, I prayed that the words God put on my heart would resonate with those who needed to be affirmed and hear them. I am so grateful for your response, and that you too are taking steps to well being and showing your sweet smile and kindness to others who desperately need it. We are called to be salt and light, now more than ever. God bless you, and thank you for reading.
Oh thank you for this…..your thoughts speak as my whole being feels the same way as you described. I keep telling myself it’s my age or the season of life we are in but as I read this it is so much more. I ask God why us,why now ? He must know something I don’t about myself and the battles ahead.
I too am finding joy in the simple things that we are blessed with each day. The spiritual battle is real and evident daily. My youngest children are 13 and 14 and we are facing the realities of the “laws” that are being placed upon us. We struggle with the reality daily. I hope you and Jeff are well. 🙏🏼
Lucia, thank you for sharing. I’m so grateful that what I wrote resonated with your heart. It is so easy to rationalize our thoughts and feelings away, to dismiss what is really going on, and feel isolated and down. With your youngest two at those ages, you are up against a definite battle. Praying you have the strength and courage to stand strong for what is right for your family. You are not alone in this. God bless you! Sending hugs!
Thank you, Leann. You have the loveliest heart. I resonate and appreciate your words so much.
Shannon, oh my goodness! Tears are flowing down my cheeks as I read your comments. God has honestly given me words to share, and I’m finally being obedient to write and post again. I prayed that these words would resonate with “my people” and whoever needed to hear them. He answered that in a confirmation with your words. Thank you. Sending you a big hug!
I feel like this is a warning. Something has to change. Thank you for putting into words the stuck feeling I have. After clear scans, I should be celebrating but instead I am more anxious than ever before♥️
Traci, you are not alone in feeling “stuck” or anxious. Many people right now have lost motivation, hope for the future, and wrestle with an unsettled feeling that won’t let up. Thankfully we know the end of the story. We know that Jesus wins, and we have hope in the midst of chaos. We have Truth in the face of lies. Praying Philippians 4:7 over you, “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Sending you love and hugs!
Leann I’m so glad to hear from you. Your writing is so good! It felt good to read it and know others think and believe what I believe. Time IS running out! This battle is demonic and it can only be won through Jesus’ strength. I pray God will use me, to be bold and courageous to reach people who don’t know Him. The harvest is ripe has never been so true. Blessings to you, Arleen
Arleen, you are so right! People are fearful and hurting, and more than ever, need to learn of the hope we have in Jesus. You are bold and courageous! You are a beautiful light, and I’m thankful you are willing to help with the harvest. Thank you for reading. Hugs to you!
Thank you for sharing these thoughts and words and coping ideas. Feeling and doing just as you are… God bless you and yours💕
Leigh, so happy to hear from you and thank you for reading. It’s wonderful that you are taking steps to stay in the Word, gather your strength from the Lord, and be a light right now. Your positivity will require an answer, if you haven’t already been asked… thankful you are standing firm. Hugs to you!
Thank you for sharing. Reading this I could hear you speaking, I miss your wise words and wisdom.
I agree with all you said. Rise up, stand strong, focus on God’s word and pray.
Great to hear from you.
Betsy, thank you for reading. I miss our Bible Studies around our table too. Thankful for words to share here, as God impresses them on my heart. Amen to rising up, standing strong, and keeping our focus on God’s Word… praying constantly. Sending you hugs!
So good to hear from you again. I remain unsurprised at your grace under pressure. I can confirm that your words and thoughts resonated with me and I am thankful for them. You will be pleased to hear that I am leading a small, small book & Bible study of Revelation based on “Discipleship on the Edge,” largely due to the nudge of God’s Holy Spirit and your high review of the book.
I’ve survived a lung cancer, and am now learning to deal with IPF, a terminal lung disease, and my mantra is: “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
You remain a bright jewel, and affirm God’s sovereignty and all that is right as the darkness pushes in.
Cat, I’m thanking God for you right now. Thrilled that you listened to that nudging by the Spirit to lead a small group on Revelation AND you are going through Discipleship on the Edge! Please let me know if you’d like notes on any of the chapters. I have studied this through twice now, gratefully learning so much.
Your mantra is perfect for your continued battle with lung disease, and I’m happy to hear you say cancer is behind you. Life is forever changed by that word. Stay strong and hopeful. You are positive and that is beautifully contagious. Sending love and hugs to you, dear sister.
I love reading your blogs! You put my thoughts and feelings into words that I cannot convey. I appreciate your knowledge and use of scripture to bring it home. I can’t wait to read Part 2! Love you!!
Ah, thank you Lorie. That makes my heart so happy. It is difficult right know to make sense of what we are thinking and feeling, in addition to figuring out if those around us are thinking or feeling the same. If we can talk more about it, maybe we can all help each other. Sending you love and hugs back!