I need to start this ‘musing’ with a confession. In some measure, like the rest of the world, I too have been impacted by Covid-19. I am grateful that my losses so far have been minimal, in fact I have also enjoyed some gains, but I can not deny that imposed socio-environmental changes and resultant shifts to my own personal thoughts and behaviours have been taking a toll on my productivity. I have entered this week with a diminished sense of creativity and will to work. If not for accountability to an employer and responsibility to others who I have contracted to serve, I might have just settled into my ‘La-Z-Boy’ chair and disappeared into a stream of web-entertainment. I felt uninspired for this week’s writing.
I know that stress can hijack our access to parts of our brain responsible for memory, decision making, and creativity. I also know that stress can throw other parts of our brain into hyper-drive causing us to react with short-sighted impulsivity or leave us uncomfortably inhibited and unable to function.
I was faced this morning with an internet ‘pop-up’ that read from 1 Chronicles 28:20 (GNT) “…Be confident and determined. Start the work and don’t let anything stop you. The Lord God, whom I serve, will be with you. He will not abandon you, but he will stay with you until you finish the work to be done…”
Another confession: My first impulse was disobedient and dismissive. Kinda like “Yeah? Well that is easier to say than do”. And then I am reminded that this is true. It is easier to talk self-care than to passionately engage in it. I am also reminded that there is a reciprocal relationship between self-compassion and compassion for others. We humans often know what we need to do in order to live better or to be of more effective service, but so easily give up the will to follow through.
Then I was reminded of another passage this morning while joining in the ‘fellowship of saints’, my fellow sinners, my zoom congregation of peers.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)
If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed today, know that you are not alone but that you can also do something about it. Good, purposeful, deliberate, self-care can feel like work, but you are absolutely worth the effort. God wants you to do what you can to live well, to be well, and to serve well, regardless of our circumstances. Reach out to help and receive help. Purposefully increase your awareness of what is good in your life. Actively and passionately engage in wellness.
My prayer for you this week is that you will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit within you, and around you, as you engage together with God in what you are given. Rejoice in all things and connect with your inspiration, now and in each moment.