Written by: Pam Jarvis
I am a lover of God and a lover of people. This past Easter, I reflected on the traditions that were disrupted during this season. Being with other people in church or services to commemorate Good Friday and Easter has always been a joyful part of my family tradition. The Lord has been speaking to me for several weeks about His power and grace during this crisis. I sense that He is SHOUTING to all of us to get our attention. I have felt an abundance of sorrow and loss. This sorrow is not really about my own situation, although there are challenges; it’s the weight of what everyone else is going through.
The Burden of Knowing Too Much
Being a natural extrovert and having the spiritual gift of mercy, I can get overwhelmed emotionally and take on the burdens of others instead of acknowledging Christ as the Savior, Healer, and Provider. John Eldredge, in his book, “Get your Life Back,” says that our souls were never meant to carry all the ”knowing” of what goes on in the world, especially as we have access through multiple news channels and social media. The book was published a month before the CoVid 19 crisis became a reality in our nation. I believe his book is a timely resource that speaks to the nature of our world today.
Walking through the Desert
The list of concerns we can think about goes on and on: our aging parents, at-risk family members, our children, church family, business or employees, friends, health care workers, and the homeless. You might ask, as Christians, “isn’t it our responsibility to show love to those that concern us?” Of course, we are called to love and care for others in our actions, but yet some of us might take on more than is our responsibility. I have never been a worrier, as such, but I have tended to shoulder the pain and suffering of others throughout my life. I thought it was ok until my body and brain rebelled and just stopped several months ago. I literally stopped caring, stopped having any passion, was emotionally dead. I questioned if I was a Christian. I was like a ”dead man walking.” To be more precise, major depression assaulted me as I had never experienced before. Even though I asked Him why many times, I didn’t receive any answers during that long dark valley experience.
He is God, I am Not
Surprisingly, the answers came a few weeks ago amid the CoVid 19 crisis. The Lord showed me the constant adrenaline release in my body over the last few years during times of tremendous stress caught up with me. He reminded me that He is the Savior and I am not. He is God and I am not. He paid the price for my sin and my “savior complex”. He died so that I could live… free and unburdened. In fact, the Lord warned me that I was “doing” too much, not resting enough, not letting things go. I was headed for trouble. Thankfully He is faithful and gave me this revelation and I listened. During Holy Week, I was back on track. I wondered how the Lord would lead me to remember and mark Good Friday since there would not be an event in the traditional sense. I prayed and asked the Lord to do what I could not: save people, deliver people, rescue the broken-hearted, and bring peace to people under incredible stress. I prayed as I walked around City Life Church, then past Jane Justen school, temporarily turned into a daycare center for hospital workers where my friend Joye works. I walked around Broadway Baptist church, where our Shady Oak elementary school is located, and finally inside the empty rooms where our students and teachers do their work in normal times. And as I prayed, I released everyone and everything to His care.
The Economy of Heaven
The places and buildings where I walked to have no significance in and of themselves; it’s the people who inhabit the buildings that bring love, life, friendship, fellowship, family and connection. It’s the good things that happen in those buildings when we are together. The Holy Spirit witnesses in each of our spirits that we are one church, a bride whom the bridegroom adores. A pastor I knew said something long ago that has stuck with me: “people are the currency of Heaven”. In Jesus’s economy, He went all in. He paid everything He had to have us. His last words, translated from Aramaic mean “PAID IN FULL.” He is worthy to be praised, not only for what He does but for who He is. He is Worthy, the Lamb that was Slain, the Alpha and the Omega, the Prince of Peace, Our Savior, and Emmanuel, God WITH us, God IN us, and God watching OVER us. My prayer is that during this pandemic we answer His call to rest and release our concerns, worries, and anxieties to Him because He is more than able to do more than we could ever ask or think! Jesus encourages us that He is the source of refreshment and rest: “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” Matthew 28: 28-30 TPT
Some Helpful Advice To Those Who Are Weary or Stressed
- Find a place and a time to be still with God, first thing in the morning… schedule this!
- Listen for His voice and record His thoughts in a journal. Book recommendation: Get Your Life Back, Practices for a World Gone Mad, by John https://www.amazon.com/Get-Your-Life-Back-Practices/dp/1400208661
- Pause throughout the day to recognize His Lordship and receive from Him. Pause App https://www.pauseapp.com/
- Check up – God created our bodies in a magnificent way. The body can give us signals if we are stressed. Check your breathing… is it shallow? Take some deep breaths! Check your shoulders.. Are they tense? How about your stomach…do you feel like it’s in knots? Have a calming prayerful routine when you think you are carrying too much. Relax those muscles or take a break to breathe, go outside, move and/or get a cool drink of water.
- Confide your struggles with a trusted friend, church family member and ask for prayer. Isolation is your enemy. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ (that is, the law of Christian love)”.