Anyone else feeling tired and overwhelmed? They say it’s ‘quarantine fatigue’ but I’m not so sure…

Is it just me, or have you been feeling fatigued and weighed down by the worries of the world? Are you experiencing days when you wake up and wish that it were already time for bed? Does it feel near impossible to focus on a simple task for work? Are you not able to motivate yourself, let alone all the people that rely on you at work or at home? Or, perhaps even more frustrating, can you not do your job because the person you rely on, simply doesn’t have the energy or direction to do theirs? If only it were already 2021, right? 

Do a quick internet search on ‘quarantine fatigue’ and you will see article upon article discussing our collective feeling of tiredness and how best to beat it. The sheer number of articles, linked articles, nested articles, blogs, tweets etc. on the topic is fatiguing to think of. This tiredness, it’s too much. Coronavirus is too much. Everything feels like too much. ‘God how long can this go on? Can’t you see it’s crippling me, crippling everyone?’ 

Having experienced the physical fatigue that often accompanies Covid-19, the kind of tiredness that keeps you in bed all day as the body aches and the headache feels like it’s teetering on the edge of explosion, what I feel now is something very different. I wonder if what I am feeling is not ‘quarantine fatigue’ but grief. 

Grief, as defined by my Apple Pages writing software, is ‘deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.’  To define it further: sorrow is ‘a feeling of deep distress caused by a loss, disappointment or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others, and distress is ‘extreme anxiety or pain’.  I do not doubt that I, and much of the globe’s population, as we watch our nations, families, and friends lose loved ones and face unemployment, social unrest and upheaval, we are living through a prolonged period of grief…and, until that elusive vaccine, there is no end in sight. Could the entire world be living through a period of grief? 

For me, my tipping point was the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Police Officer in the United States and the subsequent protests, violence and looting. Then seeing businesses burning that I would frequent in Los Angeles up in flames; it broke me. For I saw the deep scars, pain, hurt, anger, despair, rage, and grief of an entire community of people ripped open and laid bare. The truth can not be denied: we are a broken people living in a broken world. And Coronavirus, our unseen enemy, makes ground every day. Our cries for justice, our grief, is surely heard throughout the universe. For we are ‘exhausted and completely crushed. (our) groans come from an anguished heart. (Psalm 38:8) 

Until today, I have not been able to bring myself to blog. And even now, I still don’t know what to say. I am as lost for words as I am in thought. I have no answers. No solutions. I am but a small voice in an increasingly loud world. What, if anything, could I blog about that might encourage you? That might bring you peace? That might inspire you to read God’s word? That might be an answer, or insight, into an unspoken question you have? How could I possibly think that I could be a little of a light to you when the world that we knew crumbles beneath our feet and nothing seems to make sense? I have been overwhelmed with sadness, with confusion, with grief. It’s not just because of injustice, it’s everything. And I’m going to guess that you feel it too. 

I did make a few attempts to blog. I have been reading about King David and King Saul. I finished the books of Matthew, Mark, Judges, and Joshua, as well as reading most of the Book of Psalms. There’s a lot of topics I could have chosen to blog about but nothing felt appropriate. Personally, I was encouraged by David’s years in the wilderness and, as it touched on a previous post of mine (Is it just me or does isolation feel like a wilderness?), I could have easily written something about it – Specifically that David spent about a decade in the wilderness running for his life even after God (and Samuel the Prophet) had anointed him as the next King of Israel – talk about a long time waiting for an answer to prayer! I found many Psalms of David to be relevant and encouraging (honestly, given his struggles and persecution, his songs and poetry are extraordinary), but I still couldn’t bring myself to write.  

So why today? Why is today so different? Well, I think it’s because I am finally able to recognize, to define, what it is that we are all going through. It’s not fatigue, it’s grief. We’re grieving loss that our generation has not known before. Lost jobs, lost health, lost lives, lost childhood, lost economy, lost connections with family and friends, lost education, lost birthdays, lost weddings, lost funerals, lost church, lost entertainment, lost travel, lost opportunities, and lost freedoms. We’ve also managed to lose faith in the democracies and nations of the world we live in. Nothing is certain. All is unknown. Together we cry out for God’s help and together we can weep and mourn for ‘Morning, noon and night (we) cry out in our distress and the Lord hears (our) voice.’ (Psalm 55:17.) 

So, I’ve cut myself some slack for not being able to blog. For, in periods of grieving, it is better not to say anything and just listen.

Listen and pray. 

Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am ovewhelmed by my troubles.’ (Psalm 55:1-2)

Pray for our world leaders. Pray for God’s presence to be found and known. Pray for revival. Pray for God’s will to be done here as it is in heaven. Pray for healing. Pray for peace. Pray for the families of those who have lost love ones. Pray for those who are sick. Pray for a vaccine….the list goes on. 

God is listening. He is waiting for us to seek him. He wants us to trust him. He desires for us to be in relationship with him so that, and because of, ‘God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace’. (Luke 1:78-79.) 

Is the rising panic I feel in my chest anxiety, or could it be the virus? I’m so worried…the entire world is worried. What should I as a christian be thinking?

The Lord is my shepherd. Psalm 23

As if the fear, paranoia, and anxiety surrounding catching the Coronavirus is not enough, today thousands, if not millions, of people face unemployment, piling bills, and rising mortgage pressure. How are we to get through this? People around the world are likely to be thinking ‘Is the rising panic I feel in my chest anxiety, or could it be the virus?’ Worry, paranoia, fear, sickness, and superstition threaten to derail humanity. What should we as Christians be doing? What should we be thinking? Some of us may be questioning the strength of our own faith and wondering how to appear strong for family and friends?’ 

Today, you and I have some decisions to make. We can give in to worry. We can give in to fear. We can continue to obsess over the news and the latest Covid-19 figures from around the world. We can allow yourselves to be lost in Facebook or momentarily entertained by celebrities on social media or you and I can take pause to seek what it is that God is wanting to say to us in this moment.  There is opportunity for us here in this deeply uncertain time, to claim the very certainly that God offers. One day soon this virus will be beaten, one day soon we will all go back to work, and one day soon we will be able to buy more toilet rolls. However, if and I you don’t listen, if you and I don’t seek, if you and I don’t desire, we will miss what God wants us to feel, to learn and do right now. It’s up to you. It’s up to me. God’s promises to those who trust in him are abundant in his word.

Let’s look at Psalm 23, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need…’ This is one of the most well-known and quoted chapters of the bible. It is often read aloud at funerals and memorial services. Because of this, we associate the verses with a type of solemnity. Heads bow and listeners wait for the reading to be over as it sounds almost like a religious rite. Often the Psalm seems to be the most appropriate thing to say during such grief when nothing seems to makes sense. However, the darkest valley, or the shadow of death, makes up only 1/6 of the chapter! The rest of the chapter is teeming with life and promises. It also describes a God who is committed to tending his people. 

God as the shepherd.  A shepherd devotes themselves to looking after his ‘flock’. In this case his flock are his believers, the people who decide to follow him. God as the shepherd also provides for all your needs, gives you rest when you need it and leads lead you into nourishing places. And, as you bring honor to his name, he will guide you along the right path. The promises continue: He comforts you in mourning and dark places, he is your safety and protection, walking beside you and longing for you to ‘cast your fear on him’, all the while urging you on to righteousness. He also even prepares a wonderful and edifying feast for you in the presence of your enemies, when things are desperately awful. He honors your faithfulness, and blesses you abundantly.  It is certain that his goodness and unfailing love will pour out on you for all the days of your life. That’s what the Psalm says. It is a chapter of the bible with profound sentiment for all the days of your life, not just the valleys. Though it is the valley where we feel and cry out for him the most.  And it is obvious that right now, the entire world is in a valley. Can we turn ourselves to God? Can you and I find him in his word? If this Psalm can say so much, what else can be found in his word? 

Is there something that God wants to say to you, to me today? As the world reels from the shock, death, and economic disaster that is Covid-19, is there something that God wants you and I to learn, to do, in this moment? How do you think God wants you to feel as the entire world shakes in fear? Should us christians be afraid, irritated, angry, worried? Or should we be calm, rational and unafraid? Should we feel protected as the Pslam indicates? And could we feel, dare I say it, joyful? The shepherd offers such things, if we want them.

In the Old Testament book of 1 Kings, chapter 19 describes an encounter the prophet Elijah had  with the living God. First the Lord passes by him and a mighty windstorm hits the mountain Elijah was standing on. After the wind there was an earthquake, then there was a fire but the Lord God was not in any of these things. Rather, after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. Here, here was the Lord, and speaking gently with him. In all the noise of today, God’s whisper is there. Add to that, we have the Bible where he makes his character, his plan and his promises made known to us daily, fresh every morning…just now to read it. But it’s hard, I know. 

During this pandemic, I have been encouraged by reading the Bible daily in many ways. And as I have been encouraged, I began this blog to be an encouragement to you. I know the website is very basic. I am an amateur in this. This is my fourth post! Thank you to those people who have read it, I really hope that it is providing reason and inspiration to your own thoughts. If you like what I’m doing, and where I’m going then please follow along. After I learn a little about website design, I hope to have a fancy page for you with other sources of biblical knowledge and inspiration and a section for comments and interaction but for now, this will have to do. Again, please know that I’m not a theologian, I’m not an expert, I am just an average person trying to make sense in all of this just like you. My prayer for you is that God provides you with peace and understanding as you seek him in his word. #bethelight