Many started 2020 with high expectations for the year; many set targets and goals. However, soon into the year, we were all confronted with the unknown and uncertain thing – a global pandemic. For some, life came to a halt and for others it kept going. One thing for certain is this pandemic has brought change to everyone’s life in some way or another.
Although the world seemed to come to a standstill, the overload of information and connectivity was more than ever. Mentally, it took a toll on many people. Statistics show that the pandemic has had negative effects on the wellbeing of people; many dealing with stress, worry and loneliness1.
We went from engaging with other believers in places of worship multiple times a week to now having virtual services; missing that sense of physical community was an adjustment. We went from seeing family, friends and loved ones whenever you wanted to then having to be in controlled numbers; the deficit in physical social integration, though we may be connected online, can take its toll. We went from working in offices and various other locations to working from home, constantly being in the same environment for days on end. Those, like myself, who continued to go out to work had the threat of bumping shoulders with someone who could be carrying the virus at any given time.
Many other changes have happened; life is by no means the same as it was this time twelve months ago. In all this, it’s easy to ignore the mental effects it has had and carry on – resulting in further mental exhaustion. As someone who places importance on soundness of mind, I believe that it is incredibly vital to take stock and answer the question “How are YOU?” honestly – first with God then with trusted people in your life.
Christ admonished us in Matthew 11:28 (CEV)
“If you are tired from carrying your heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest”.
Rest = to relax, sleep or recover strength. Wouldn’t you want to do all three with peace and ease? How many more mornings do you want to wake up already tired before the day has begun? How comforting would it be to recover – take back – the strength you once had?
From these words, we see that if you are tired – you must “come to me [Christ]”. This implies that YOU must do the moving toward Christ who is more than willing to give you the rest that you so desperately need.
This action of coming to Him requires vulnerability. Vulnerability is the act of exposing ourselves to another often with two outcomes; one that can lead to harm or, alternatively, through exposure we can identify issues and find healing.
Though when we are vulnerable with people, we risk getting hurt, when we are vulnerable with Abba Father, this vulnerability allows us to give God our weaknesses in order for Him to give us His strength. In turn, this brings about healing, restoration and growth. Through our honesty with the Father, we find the rest that has been promised to us.
Remember, Christ said “if you are tired” – this statement denotes that honesty is required from you. It is possible, as many have experienced through this pandemic, to soldier on through life “carrying your heavy burdens” – you may feel a sense of fatigue and weariness but feel that you cannot own up to it.
However, in order to be vulnerable, we must first SPEAK to Him and be open and sincere without holding back. Even in times of prayer and worship, sometimes we put up walls so high that it’s not our whole heart that is focused on Him and when we do this we miss valuable opportunities to connect with Abba Father.
Through Jesus Christ, we have been given direct access to the Father 24 hours of the day, seven days a week. We must make use of this and come to our Father knowing that He loves us unconditionally; so much so that he allowed His son to die for us.
Today, I want to encourage the weary heart. I want to encourage the soul that has been so overwhelmed and burdened throughout the past few months. Come to the Father, He wants to give you REST for your tired mind. God wants to fellowship with you, He LOVES YOU. Don’t hold back; open up to Him today – be honest, be vulnerable, have communion and fellowship with Him.
Today, I pray for every burdened heart, every weary soul and every tired mind; for everyone who will read these words. Father, I pray that as they come to you with all honesty and share the deep crevices of their thoughts with you, they will find that rest You so graciously promised us. I thank you for Your promise of rest – let there be a renewal of strength for everyone today. As we find that rest in you, revive us again and revive our fire for You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
1 Mental Health Foundation. 2020. Coronavirus: Mental Health In The Pandemic | Mental Health Foundation. [online] Available at: <https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/research/coronavirus-mental-health-pandemic>.