[The winners of last week’s book giveaway are Keri F of Canton, GA, and Carol M of Glendale Heights, IL. Congratulations!]
Question: Are you feeling more tired than November of a year ago? Despite less travel and more time at home, are you also experiencing less energy and more fatigue? Less patience, more anxiety? Beloved friend, me too.
The good news? This is normal for the abnormal times we’re living in.
I meet online each week with different groups of women. We’re not medical professionals, but we gauge each other’s emotional temperature by sharing how we’re doing mentally, physically, and spiritually. And – no surprise here – we’re all tired. It’s as if this year has drained us totally dry, like a cellphone that’s lost its charger cable.
I’ve asked my author friend Gina Butz to stop by today to help us understand what’s happening to us. The short answer? We’re not living at full.
Let Gina explain.
“Living with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic is like a thousand pinprick holes in the bucket of our lives. Constantly adjusting to a different way of living is exhausting. No, it's not as big as in the beginning when we were stuck at home. But think of the mental and emotional energy that a series of small events in one day can take:
What Drains Us
· Remembering to bring a mask with you everywhere.
· Awkward social greetings because you don't know if your friend is OK with physical touch.
· The isolation of working from home.
· Being surrounded by family while you're trying to work.
· The kids need you for their calls.
· You forgot to mute yourself.
· Or you forgot to unmute yourself.
· Hours of trying to read people over zoom.
· Zoom butt (my husband complains of this daily)
· You just got exposed to someone with the virus.
· Watching people argue on social media.
· You are the one arguing on social media.
· We don't see eye to eye about the pandemic.
· We don't see eye to eye about politics.
· It's unclear where others stands on the pandemic or politics so now it's awkward to have a conversation.
· The date for another event that should have happened passes by.
· And all that on top of normal life events that would be a challenge even without a pandemic.
Every day there are a thousand little things that drain us. A thousand ways life is different, not the way we knew, not the way we hope.
We could pretend it's fine. Just look on the bright side. Console ourselves with, "Well, it's better than it was." But those thoughts don't fill holes.
So what do we do about the drain?
We need more filling. So much has drained us this year, and few of us have taken the time we need to refill. It's hard to find the time, honestly, between zoom calls and online learning and navigating new social situations.
We can't control the situation we live in, but we can be kind to ourselves by recognizing that this "new normal" isn't normal. It's not the way we are meant to be. And we are human. It wears on us to live like this.
We need this grace. Grace to acknowledge that we're not operating from full tanks right now, and that's normal. When we're impatient and tired and it's harder than we think it should be, we need to remember that we're running low. Deep breath.
These days, our buckets drain more quickly. We need to go to the well of God's grace or the well of relationships in our lives more often. Not just daily but even moment by moment. Every hour we need Him.
We need more of God. We need more kindness. More grace. More of that which fills us up while the world drains us. In that sense, there's something good about this season. It can make us more dependent, keep us closer to that which ministers to our souls.
We may not be able to stop the slow drain, but we know where to get filled up again.”
Beloved friends, please comment below and share one step you are taking now or plan to take soon to refill your bucket. I’ll share mine next week, along with a photo that’s shown me how I want to view God, and a recent technique I’ve learned that’s helping me sort through the deluge of misinformation online.
But until then?
That bucket full of slow leaks is not to be kicked or put on a list or discarded. There’s a sweet spring not far away that will fill it to overflowing. And we’re on our way there together.
“For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17