I contemplated taking this week off from posting, but realized that it was not a good idea for two reasons. One is my concern for you and one is my concern for me.
Throughout this past month-plus as we seemed to embrace the holidays in a new and powerful way, I have wondered if the renewed gratitude for the joy of the season due to the past year of isolation and pain would also mean an enhanced post holiday let-down for many.
We have done 2020 in an odd kind of camaraderie with each other on social media or via text messages and zoom calls. Every country around the globe has been affected and it has been quite a ride of upheaval and angst and sorrow and yet sharing laughter and ways we see God at work.
So as we move from the lights and anticipation of what Christmas 2020 looked like, I want to share my own place of temptation. It is not sorrow that would be my fall back emotion after I take the trim down and resume trying to figure out this pandemic/politically devisive/economically shaky world we still have as we usher in 2021.
No, the telltale sign of a dangerous spiral for me is a numbness.
A spiritual and emotional numbness.
I have felt too much in 2020. And while I have enjoyed feeling hope and joy and anticipation of Christ’s return to the full extent of Advent….while I have enjoyed the happiness of actually seeing all three of our children in various settings with masking and social distancing where needed and not all together at once but at least once each…piled on top of my realization of how many are hurting and how much this year has taken from so many, I am sensing a shutting down.
All the feelings of this past year have crowded together in a culmination of too much of everything and for someone who has experienced a couple of bouts of depression, the concern is not grief that it is over but a kind of flat line of the soul.
I am speaking to just a few, I know. There are many who are busily taking down the trim and moving on to the typical purging and reset of a new year with purpose and efficiency.
Good on you.
You keep the world moving and those of us who struggle to keep their footing in change are grateful for you.
No, today I speak to those who are feeling like you could cry and yet no tears fall. The reservoir of deep feeling has been hit hard. And it might seem a relief to not be feeling, but I urge you to take this as an alert that you need to develop some healthy habits right now so your soul can heal and your heart can feel appropriately as we enter into the new year.
Nourish your mind with God’s Word.
Don’t escape to entertainment or scrolling to fill the void. Our books and viewing should be icing on a cake, not our main diet.
When the dark thoughts start, truly force your mind to think of all the things you are grateful for.
Get outside even for a few minutes. Bundle up and get some fresh air and fill your vision with God’s beautiful creation.
Reach out to others, prayerfully ask God who you can serve with a phone call or a card.
Practice breath prayers – simple sentence prayers that can refocus your mind.
I am using one I picked up in our church sermon a few week’s ago from our associate pastor, Brian Talty.
“Change our minds, so Jesus can change our hearts, so we can, with Your help, change our direction.”Brian Talty, sermon “Overflow”, November 8, 2020 https://www.firstdecatur.org/messages/overflow/
It is a short prayer and one I can remember when my mind is starting to spiral away from healthy thoughts.
Continue to do the disciplines that you know promote health in your mind, body and spirit.
May God bless you today, my friend.
The world needs your whole self doing what God placed you here to do.
Whether this spoke to you or not, I hope you will return for the remainder of the week. I want to share some positives from 2020 to brighten your day and remind you of the good God has done for us <3