The pandemic of weariness
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Are you tired and weary, too?
We are a tired and weary people. I see weariness all around me. For we pandemic and vax skeptics, the fear didn’t phase us, but the weariness got us. So, in a sense, those in power won at least a momentary victory.
A few days ago, I was speaking to a friend who is a career sherpa; that is, she helps people navigate through their career. She has observed a real sense of weariness all around. People are tired of change, as the radical life changes decreed by those in power, using the pandemic as a tool to gain greater control, to force us to give up our liberties of freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of movement, and so on took a toll on all of us. Consequently, when businesses further enacted institutional change, even those of us who adapt well to change, were weary, felt drained.
Weariness affects mental health
A recent Canadian study supports her view that we are weary and tired. This study revealed that the period from March 2020 onward has taken a significant toll on Canadian’s physical and mental health. Although mental health is certainly a struggle for people of all ages and both sexes, it appears that women have suffered most, with 60% of women aged 18 to 34 and 63% of women aged 35 to 54 reporting that their mental health had gotten “a little” or “a lot” worse since March 2020. However, only a little more than half the men within the same age range (54% of 18- to 34-year-olds and 55% of 35- to 54-year-olds) reported the same.
I bet you feel weary, too.
Within the information tsunami in which we live, our souls are drowning. There is both anecdotal and research-based evidence to suggest that our reaction to this information overload has been an emotional numbness, in some cases, even a destruction of empathy and a rise in narcissism. According to the Cleveland Clinic, stress and trauma can take a toll on us, helping create empathy fatigue. When we can no longer relate to one another with empathy, we as a society become fragmented, ultimately descending into dog-eat-dog savagery.
Some ways to stem this destructive weariness tide
There are some ways we can begin to mitigate the effects of weariness. For example, we can:
Unplug ourselves from technology
We can unplug ourselves from our phones, our computers, our electronics, on a regular basis. Begun as thought experiment more than a decade ago, the Tech Shabat (or Sabbath), has gained quite the following. I suggest you try it, too.
Eat nutritious meals and take vitamin supplements
“You are what you eat” is not just some pithy phrase; there is a lot of truth to that. I notice a difference when I may snarf some junk food versus eating clean, nutritious food. The junk food saps my energy but the nutritious food gives me energy. So take stock of what you’re consuming and make some adjustments, even small ones to start. By augmenting nutritious foods with the right vitamin supplements will go a long way in addressing the physical causes of weariness. However, like all things to do with physical health, seek out a medical professional before you make any changes.
Yes, read books. Preferably not books on your electronic reader but real, honest-to-goodness, flip the pages, books on paper. Why do I say that? Because the physical sensations of touching a book, turning pages, reading at your own rate, help slow you down and reorient you to learning, not consuming information. I discovered this recently when it occurred to me that I was merely a spectator in my life. Information was all around me, but I’d become a swiper, a consumer, of that information. Consequently, there was neither depth to the experience nor depth to the information I retained, not to mention the toll it took on my critical thinking ability. Reading books will help alleviate all that.
The real root of weariness
Doing one or all of the three things I’ve outlined above will help you stop that weariness and begin your walk toward more energy, joy, and peace. Ultimately, however, real weariness is so very hard to combat. No amount of sleep, nor exercise, nor diversion, nor good nutrition can fully address it. That’s because it’s a weariness that makes us bone-tired, that’s soul-sucking. A weariness that has a source beyond the physical cannot be combatted by physical means. It must be combatted with weapons beyond the physical.
Jesus Christ invites all those who are weary to come to him, because his burden is light. (Matthew 11:30) what Jesus’ is speaking about here is that with Jesus, we are freed from the shackles of following laws and regulations in order to prove to God we are good. That is certainly soul-sucking.
However, I do think that Jesus brings us more than that. He told us that although we’ll have trouble in this world, he has overcome the world. Jesus’ promise of rest goes beyond his having—through the cross and empty tomb--broken the shackles of the soul-crushing obligation of our following the law. By knowing Jesus we also experience, love, joy, peace. These are gifts of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, that come because of our relationship to him.
So in Jesus, we will find rest. But first, we must recognize our need for this rest. And that is, we must come to grips with the reality that all of us fall short in our day-to-day lives. We do not do what we know is right. We often do the opposite, in ways both big and small. We just can’t help ourselves. That is precisely the point: We can’t help ourselves, but Jesus can. He came to make things right within ourselves and, most importantly, to make things right between us and God. So when you accept that you daily fall short and that there’s nothing you can do about it in and of yourself, you’ve made the right step toward true peace. Then the next step is to ask Jesus into your heart. He will. And when that happens, you are on your way to experiencing a peace that goes beyond understanding, that defies circumstances, that anchors you when everything else is in chaos. It’s a peace that only Jesus can give.
May you find this rest in Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
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Copyright 2022. Sandra A. Eggers. Sharing is encouraged; however, please give credit where credit is due. Thank you.