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 Leann@LeannSeale.com