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Take Heart


Coming off a traumatic week, I was wracking my brains. What should I write about? Do I add to the noise of everything that’s going on? It felt insensitive to write about something else. By Saturday morning, it occurred to me that in the midst of the events taking place in our nation’s capital and at the capitol, I hadn’t really spent any time with God.

I had laid awake refreshing Facebook. I had read dozens of articles and seen even more horrifying images. I had experienced nausea, sleeplessness, a racing heart, and headaches. I had participated in Facebook discussions. I had liked posts urging me to pray for our nation. But do you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t pray. Maybe a quick “Dear God. What’s happening?” was uttered under my breath, but I didn’t fall to my knees and cry out to God. But why?

If I were to put the events of last week into one word, it would be CHAOS. As humans, we all deal differently with chaos. But many of us close off. We feel alone and so we cocoon in that isolation pulling away from others and from God. I know I have a tendency to do this. But when I’m in it, I can’t recognize it until it passes.

One thing I should always remind myself in these moments, is that I’m allowing the enemy to win. In times of stress or trauma, the enemy wants me to feel hopeless, cut off, and numb. He succeeded this week because I felt all of those things.

Saturday night, I spent some time talking to my husband. And although we had dialogued a number of times throughout the week, he helped me process some of the things I’d been feeling. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone.

A good friend of mine shared a story this week on Facebook. It’s one I’ve heard before, but its timing was perfect. It was about a man who had pulled away from church. His pastor came to visit, but he could see that the man wasn’t in the mood to talk. They both spent some time sitting and watching a fire dance in the fireplace. The pastor took out one log and set it on the hearth. In a few short minutes, the log that was once an red, burning ember, was black and cold. Then, he put the log back into the fire and it immediately ignited. The man thanked the pastor for his sermon and then the pastor left.

Isolation isn’t a good place to be in times of crisis. Unfortunately, we’re in the midst of a pandemic, so it’s tough to find connection. And social media isn’t the connection we need. We need to hear the voice of a trusted friend. We need to connect with those in our household and we need to connect with our Creator who knows us better than we know ourselves. A verse I found comfort in this morning is John 16:33 ESV:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

When I think of the images I’ve seen this week, I know I won’t soon get them out of my head, but I know that my God heals.

When I think of the future over the next few days, weeks, and months, I’m sick with nerves. But I can have peace.

When I see headlines that feel like I’m reading a dystopian novel, I remember that God never promised everything would be easy, but that He’s with me and He has overcome the world.

As you process this week and the weeks to come, don’t pull away. Surround yourself with people who speak truth into your life. Continue doing whatever it is you do for self-care. I read a great article about dealing with trauma (even from afar) that had some great tips for keeping healthy mentally and spiritually. I urge you to check it out. But, no matter what, try to remember that though in this world we will have tribulation, Jesus has overcome the world.

I’m not suggesting your bury your head in the sand, but resting in that fact is important. Stay informed from more than one source. Don’t obsess or dwell on images that are not helpful. Don’t neglect yourself, but also don’t try to numb your feelings with alcohol, sleep, or food. Talk to God. Even if it’s not something you do regularly. Read the Bible. If you don’t know where to start, download the Bible app on your phone and look for a reading plan that interests you. If you have friends on the app, ask them to join you. We were made to be in the fire with others not cold and alone on the hearth.

I wish I could say this is all behind us, but it’s not. The next few weeks will probably bring more stress and conflict. But Jesus has still overcome the world. Take comfort in that. You are in my prayers.

Blessings,

Shannon

 

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