“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1 – 3
This month has been hard. It seems like since I got back from my vacation in July, I haven’t been able to catch my breath. I am no sooner processing one thing, when another comes along with a vengeance. It isn’t just being busy at the church, there is just a lot going on with family, friends, the state of our country and world, the events in Afghanistan, the fires, and it is also hurricane season and it all weighs heavy. It is more than enough to make you crazy. So, the days seem hard, and life seems hard, and everything just seems hard. It is exhausting. I even told my husband the other day, that I couldn’t figure out why I felt so tired all the time. I was sleeping but still woke up tired. And then a few days ago, it came to me: There is no place in my life right now that isn’t being disrupted in some way. Which in turn makes everything feel hard.
Now, I need you all to know something very clearly, I am NOT complaining. I have a great life. I am just using my blog to work through some observations I am having, and I have found that many times when I am working through something, somewhere, someone else is working through something similar. So…I have a feeling, that many of you are working through something that just feels hard. It doesn’t help that we are living during a pandemic that is spreading like wildfire throughout our world. Couple that with the fact that due to our instant information society, we can’t begin to process all the information coming at us from all directions. We also have to be our own fact checkers because we need to discern from true and what is false. And again, the internet doesn’t help here as anyone can put their opinion out there as fact even if they don’t have a clue what they are talking about. Leaving the rest of us trying to discern fact from fiction from all the competing voices that are out there! And I realized: It is no wonder I feel exhausted. So, I imagine most of us might be feeling a little exhausted too.
I read a Facebook post by Nadia Bolz-Weber where she wrote this:
“I’m not sure the human psyche developed to hold, feel and respond to everything coming at them right now; every tragedy, injustice, sorrow and natural disaster happening to every human across the entire planet, in real time every minute of every day. The human heart and spirit were developed to be able to hold, feel and respond to any tragedy, injustice, sorrow or natural disaster that was happening IN OUR VILLAGE.”
YES!!!! Thank you, Nadia for putting into words what I am feeling right now. We are being inundated with information and we have NO TIME to process what we are hearing, seeing, and learning that encompasses our entire world. We were not meant for this much information. We are not computers who take in data and spit it back out. We are human beings who feel, and empathize, and hurt. No wonder everything feels hard.
But the good news, and it is very good news, we can do hard things. We may not like doing them but since they are part and parcel of life, we can work through them as we need to. We can get counseling when what we are going through is too overwhelming. We can talk to our pastors, although when you are a pastor counseling is the better bet. We can talk to trusted friends and family members. We can be honest about what we are going through. We can stop saying “I’m fine” all the time. Because remember saying “I’m fine,” only means you have feelings in need of expression. But the best news of all is knowing that God is there with us through all we go through in life. No, God will not remove the hardships as it is through the hardships we grow ever deeper in our faith. Hardships also develop our character. (I think I am enough of a character at this point, but I guess God thinks I need more character.) Anyway…for me, just knowing that God is there to turn to when life feels hard, is such a comfort. I mean, God, who created everything we can see and even what we can’t see, cares enough to be a comforting presence in our distress. That is a powerful friend right there. And one who will not let us down.
Here is what I know: In time, things will settle down, or I will just find a new rhythm that includes all the hard things and life will go on. I will still laugh and find the humor in each situation. Because they all have humor in them. I will still find time for me because self-care is important to our overall health and well-being. I will still turn to God in each situation for guidance and comfort. What I know is when I am connected to God, I know that God sustain me in all of this and more. And I think I will also pick a day where I take a fast from technology. My peace of mind needs that more than I think I know.
So, for now, I will leave you with this: Life is what we make of it. We can wallow in the “hardness,” or we can learn through it. And so, for me, even though it all seems hard in this moment, I will keep on keepin’ on.