What a year 2021 was! It was beautiful, busy, super tough at times, emotional and an incredible adventure all in the same breath. We have seen and have experienced a lot in the past two years and I wonder if you ever feel like you need a second to catch your breath? Life can sometimes feel relentless in throwing more and more things onto your plate whilst you’re still dealing and processing the things that are already there (I can relate).
Firstly, I’d love to tell you that if you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed, heavy with the weight of everything or just struggling in the uncertainty – you are not alone. Recognising the grace, kindness and faithfulness of Jesus doesn’t mean you can’t also fully feel the emotions of the things going on around you at a certain time. Joy and sorrow are not mutually exclusive, friends. Allow yourself the time and space to feel everything wholly, I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. There’s real beauty to be found in both places. God will always meet with you. He is your creator and knows exactly what you need before you even do, so allow Him to come close and journey with you in the secret place. Your secret place is the intimate space you go to spend time with God. That can be physical or emotional but it’s the place where you really meet with Him in whatever way you know. For me I love being I love being in nature, particularly by the sea or playing my guitar. I find peace and quiet for my soul there and it allows me space to sit and wait for the gentle whisper from my creator. The idea of the ‘secret place’ comes up in Psalm 91 where it says “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”.
I love the image that this paints for us, that we come under the shadow of God. To be in someone’s shadow you have to physically be very close and the incredible thing is that we are invited right into it. The literal creator of galaxies, the ocean, the sun and moon and every person you’ll ever meet is desperate to be in close relationship with you. All we have to do is to say ‘yes’. There has never been and never will be a point where God isn’t desperate to know you deeper, even in all your ‘brokenness’. Psalm 147:3 says ‘He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’.
If you are feeling a little (or a lot) overwhelmed right now let’s talk practically about what you can do to help yourself and love yourself a little bit extra. From my experience the best thing you can do is talk. Talk to people who you really love and who love you really well in return, talk to God, talk to yourself via voice recording, whatever it is and whatever way works for you, I think it is so important to have an out loud way of getting those thoughts out of your head and bringing them into the light. Telling your friends or family also invites someone else into the process with you. It’s a whole lot less lonely doing the journey with someone you love. It can sometimes feel hard to express all the different thoughts but trust me it is so worth it.
My next suggestion is to just be gentle with yourself; run a bath, have an extra hour of sleep, call one of your favourite people, turn your phone off and read a great book. However it looks for you just enjoy the simple things that bring you joy and rest. My third and probably final piece of advice for this blog post is gratitude. I find it so helpful to just become so aware of the little things (and the big) but really to make it a conscious decision to be thankful. Tell your friends you love them and you’re grateful for the way they share their food with you or tell your mum you’re thankful that she laughs at your jokes. I find it makes such a huge difference in shifting my mindset, not ignoring or pushing down my feelings but being active in choosing joy and gratitude and shifting my eyes back towards Jesus.
It’s a messy, weird old time but there is always beauty to be found in the ordinary day to day. I’m praying you find rest and refreshment for your soul. Reach out to your loved ones and celebrate the sweet and precious moments together.