Exhausted?

Is it just me?

Am I the only one?

Dude. I am exhausted.

I get up in the morning. Have my coffee. Ready to go back to bed.

Exhausted.

This time of year is not normally met with exhaustion. The sun is finally shining. The birds are chirping. Flowers are blooming. This time of year I am normally hopping out of bed before the sun rises and running around until well after dark fueled by the smell of fresh-cut grass and dirt under my fingernails. But not this year. This year is different.

This year is different for so many reasons. Our normals are gone. Gone are the days where we work all day and then head out to the kid’s soccer games and track meets. Gone are the days where we decide to stop in our favorite restaurant for a bite before heading home. Gone are the days where shopping doesn’t feel weird and dirty. Gone are the days when we can talk to someone freely without wondering if they have “the virus”. We have lost so much in such a short period of time.

When the stay at home orders first came I thought it would be an excellent chance to get done some of the things I needed to do around the house. What an awesome opportunity to really make the most of my garden this year! I have to be honest, that didn’t last long. I began sleeping in way longer than I have since I had kids. Spending the days on Facebook and watching the news endlessly. My productivity fell and my motivation went out the window. For someone who prides herself on how much she could tackle in a day this behavior is totally uncharacteristic. I began to feel bad about not getting anything done. I was really struggling with a lack of worth during this time matched with a complete shock of the events happening around us and how fast everything changed.

I don’t think that I am alone in this. I think there are a lot of people stuck in some kind of fog and exhaustion and I think it is important to say that is ok! It is a normal reaction to the world around us right now. We are grieving and we don’t know how to handle that. We don’t do grieving well in North America. We get a few days off of work and a few sympathy cards and then it’s time to pull up the bootstraps and get back to work. Would you be surprised that in other countries grief is met with an extensive period of actual emotional grieving? The Jewish culture has different levels of grieving that range anywhere from seven days to a year based on your relationship to who died and other factors. Eastern Orthodox Christians and Islamic communities mourn for 40 days. But here, we rush through it. Americans don’t like to feel our emotions. We do everything to cover them up and stuff them down. We smile and say we are fine. We drink our sorrows away, we experiment with drugs – legal and otherwise, we become burdened with anxiety and panic. All because we don’t allow ourselves to be real with anyone, not even ourselves. We never allow healing, never allow the grief to come in and begin the sweet process of healing.

Granted, at this time, most of us are not grieving someone we love. Although at the time of this writing there have been over 80,000 people in America who have passed away due to Covid-19, most people I know, myself included have not had to suffer the loss of a loved one due to this virus. However, we have lost so many other things associated with it. We have felt many of our freedoms being taken, normal everyday activities are gone, our ability to hug a friend, gone. Jobs, gone. Financial stability, gone. So much and it seemed to be taken as suddenly as a loved one in a tragic accident. We are grieving. No doubt about that. But what if it is all really part of a bigger plan? Trust me, I am not going to jump into a conspiracy theory here. We have heard too many already. But I believe this is all part of a bigger plan. Hear me out…

What if all of this is God’s plan to pull us back to Him, the One True Lover of Our Souls?

Back in October, I felt God telling me to be still. I needed to take a break from busyness and to be still. There were circumstances and traumas in my past that I hadn’t dealt with and as weird as it may sound, I really felt that I couldn’t move forward with anything else in my life until I had dealt with grieving losses and life events spanning my entire lifetime. If you have read my blog, Emotional Sweatpants, you know how I was feeling about all that. It is an uncomfortable place to be when God stops you and forces you to look inward. But sometimes it is more uncomfortable when He forces us to stop and look at Him…

Throughout the Bible you see God’s people turning their backs on Him and taking up idols in their lives. They worshiped the god Baal, a pagan fertility god, and offered their children up as sacrifices to him. God pulls away His blessings and really forces His people into a sort of “timeout” where they are able to reflect and look inward to see the idols they have placed above the Lord Our God and find their way back to Him. In these times, His people call out to Him and they grieve. They grieve the broken relationship with the Heavenly Father, and if we are being honest, they grieve the loss of the earthly idols that caused the broken relationship to begin with. The Israelites coming out of Egypt grumbled about losing the comforts they had found under the oppression of the Egyptians while being led by God Himself! (Exodus 13:21-14:13)

Idolatry is the ultimate betrayal of God, yet we all have idols and all we need to do is wake up and look around the world we live in to see that we are not a society that puts God first. “God bless America!” we yell on the Fourth of July, a day of Independence, but we have misplaced dependence. We have put all of our trust in money, smartphones, flashy cars, and mini-mansions. All of our worth comes from our worldly things and when the novelty of our new phone wears off another new phone is released. When we aren’t trusting in material things that cannot give us the affirmation we seek we turn then to people. We feed ourselves on compliments, purge ourselves of people who we see as those who bring no tangible worth to our lives. We vote for politicians who no longer hold the values that resemble those we claim we once had but hold celebrity status and rage at everything we see as a guilty reminder of the calling to serve the least of these. We have fallen. Again. And again. And we call on God to bless this nation when we do not follow God. We follow the flesh. We follow the gods of our flesh.

And when God says “Be still and know I am God” we say, “No, I don’t think I will be still, I really miss shopping at TJ Maxx. How do I do that again?”

I know friends, this is a bit much. Isn’t this supposed to be a blog about urban homesteading? Yes. And no. Froggy is about Fully Relying on God, Go Yaweh! And my journey to get there, to be relying on God alone, through homesteading and herbalism and walking through this crazy spiritual journey God has me on and this is a part of that. If it is too much for you, that really is ok. But if you bear with me just a little longer, I will try to tie this all in for you. Okay?

It is what it is. We are a fallen nation and we have forgotten that God is bigger than goosebumps during a good worship song on a Sunday morning. And I think this COVID-19 is His way of saying, “Hey, remember me? I remember you and I will heal your land. You will be my people and I will be the Lord, your God.” And yeah, it hurts. He has stripped us down and we are grieving and we are lost in this. But you know what is really sweet about it? God alone is our Healer, He is our Rock and our Strength and our Refuge. His Word says that when we turn and seek His face He will hear our cry and He will heal us. (2 Chron. 7:14). When we find Him, we are no longer exhausted, we are no longer grieved. We are whole. We are free.

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”

Jeremiah 31:25

His Word says when we are exhausted, He will uphold us. He will be our peace. I have been exhausted. I have been grieved. Are you? Do you know the One who promises a renewed strength? He will be our strength. He will heal our land. He will heal our hearts and comfort us in our affliction. Maybe all that is going on in the world right now is a conspiracy of a different kind. Maybe it is an invitation to cast off our worldly desires, to destroy our golden calves and to turn, to seek our Father’s face and live under the grace and peace He offers. Maybe, just maybe, this is a new kind of Independence. Freedom from the idols and the metaphorical Egyptians that have oppressed us.

Will you pray with me?

My Dear Father in Heaven,
Forgive me for the times I have filled my life with worthless idols and fought in my own strength. You are where I find my strength and my peace. You are my Rock and my Refuge, Lord and I am exhausted. I am exhausted doing things in my own strength and filling my life with things that take my focus off of You. Lord, I surrender. I surrender my grief and my exhaustion to You. Be my strength. Keep my eyes fixed on you and do not let the things of this world sway me. You are my God.
In Jesus’ Name.
Amen


Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31