As we draw near to Easter, I have been thinking about what good news might sound like right now. Would it sound like peace and reconciliation between vengeful populations? Would it be the sound of the “right” presidential candidate winning the election? Would it sound like rain falling on California’s parched land?
Perhaps you know the feeling of an emotional marathon. You wake up every morning with barely enough gumption, and while there’s not quite enough coffee in your cup, you choose to be strong anyway. Perhaps this marathon is a series of difficult events that have just unfolded in each other’s wake. Or, you run into the same, consistent challenge again and again, with no end in sight.
Whatever the cause, and from wherever it comes, we all find our souls fatigued.
And as tempting as it might be to Netflix-binge or overeat or purchase things we don’t need, we somehow know that our souls thirst for an authentic, reviving cure. Even if it’s not a long-term fix, we’re desperate for intervals of rejuvenation as we sojourn on.
The past couple of weeks have been very full. There have been very high highs and some rather low lows, and I have found myself, in pausing, just a little weary. There’s a voice in my head that jumps on that feeling of weariness with phrases like “self-care” and “practice gratitude,” but all I really want is to be made new.
So how do we cope? Let’s start with these 5 simple reminders.
5 Simple Reminders for the Weary Soul
1) We live in the tension of corruption and redemption.
Whether you believe that there are supernatural forces at war in our world, you are likely familiar with this strange coexistence of the very good and very evil that we call the human experience. Atrocities are committed daily, and just as often as moments of grace, generosity and beauty. Remembering this helps me realize that my circumstance does not have to define my sense of reality. We ride the highs and lows of each season because such is life, but it doesn’t mean that the universe is all one or the other. We are suspended, in fact, between opposites.
2) We were made for rest.
Rather than reminding myself that I have limitations and “can’t do it all,” I’ve decided to stand in the truth that we were created for rest. There are emotional, physical and even spiritual components to this, and every aspect of my being relies on good, deep, intentional rest. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I ask myself when was the last time I stopped and took a moment to breathe. When was the last time I drank water, or went for a refreshing walk outside?
3) We share responsibility for outcomes.
We are neither 100% the authors of our fate, nor 0% responsible. In every circumstance, we have a share of the authority and agency involved. Knowing what we can and cannot control is the beginning of drawing healthy boundaries, setting reasonable expectations, and balancing ambition and submission. When I feel my anxiety increasing, I know that it’s time to step back and assess what it is that is in my hands, and what is in the hands of others.
4) We can observe without judging.
Whether it is our own emotions and behaviors, or those of someone else, we can easily shoulder the burdens we were never meant to carry. While there are moments when we must exercise good judgment, there are other times when judgment is not the right response. Perhaps we do not fully understand the circumstance, or we simply have no agency in it. Being willing to observe, and then to save judgment for a later time, allows us to focus on tasks at hand. It also helps us to be grateful without wariness or fear.
5) Everything will be made new.
“Then the One seated on the throne said, ‘Look! I am making everything new.'” (Revelation 21:5). I have taken so much refuge in this reminder lately. Every spring, I am reminded that even the deadest, most hopeless of all creation can be brought back to life with the nourishment of light and water. So when you’re close to despair and nothing else seems to work, remind yourself that renewal will happen. It is the destiny of all things, and that is truly good news.
The bottom line: speak to your soul often.
I think we’re the only creatures who do this, but it is truly effective. When we remind ourselves of what is true, we are able to move forward, beyond moments of deep pain or weakness.
I hope that you draw strength from deep wells that are within your reach.