I am going to share honestly with you all. So far, I have felt a lot of peace in the midst of what is going on in our world. Not because I have any answers or know how this will all work out, but because I have experienced God upholding me in tough times before and I am confident that He is good, He is in control, and He is not worried or asleep. That being said, let’s be real. Our world is in a major time of uncertainty, and daily life as we know it is shifting. I don’t know about you, but I love routine and structure. And yet the current situation requires flexibility and adaptability (two skills I have learned, but are not part of my default mode). Many things are up in the air, schedules are changing, many of us unexpectedly have kids at home or find ourselves required to stay home. None of this is necessarily terrible or bad. But it is different. And when you add it all together, it honestly is a little overwhelming. I would imagine that many can relate and that many are facing much more than I am. But here is something I have learned that is worth its weight in gold: how to be tender with myself in my weakness.
Many years ago I was in a very rough season. I felt so frustrated with myself that I couldn’t be more together or just be stronger. What I failed to see was that just about every area of my life was going through a major transition – I had a new baby (premature by 1 month), I had postpartum and a staph infection, major shifts were happening in our diet due to a child having major food sensitivities, and we were experiencing huge changes in our work/relationships. Looking back, to me it seems understandable that I felt overwhelmed and weak in the midst of all I was facing. But what I lacked at the time was the capacity to 1) acknowledge how much was coming at me and 2) be gentle and kind toward myself. What a game-changer that would have been!
So yesterday, as I started to feel the overwhelm of everything shifting and moving around me (tip-offs I was feeling overwhelmed were tension in my body and less patience with my kids), I was able to give myself the gift that I lacked in that past season – gentleness. You don’t have to lack faith or be worried about your future or our world (although there is no shame in having moments of struggle in those areas too) to feel stressed by all that is going on. I hope that I can give you permission to acknowledge that what we are all facing – whether it be having to stay at home because you are over 65, having to suddenly homeschool kids, job uncertainty, canceled trips or plans, inability to find toilet paper or other needed items, etc – can feel overwhelming. If you need a moment of quiet if you need a bath to soak and rest, if you need to cry with a loved one on the phone, if you need to get in your prayer closet and spend some time in God’s presence or take a walk in silence around the block – please be kind to yourself and do it. Ignoring overwhelm won’t fix it. On the contrary, acknowledging how we are feeling and receiving what we need from God so we can find peace in the midst of the shifts and uncertainties is what will strengthen us to endure this season well and have the capacity to care about those around us.
If you know you are overwhelmed but don’t know what to do with that, I have a quick recommendation. I am hosting a free webinar with THRIVEtoday where you will learn some practical ways to find peace in the midst of stress and overwhelm. What will be shared in the webinar has been such a gift to me, and I hope it can bless you too.