He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3 ESV)
The year 2020 was difficult. The coronavirus pandemic put the world on pause with rising death counts and infection rates. Schools and business had shut down, travel was restricted, and many families had to start new lives, moving to where jobs are available and housing a little more affordable. Essential workers and volunteers placed themselves at risk to keep their communities afloat and their families cared for. There is chatter in the news that mask mandates will be relaxed and more businesses will be able to open to near full capacity. As social distancing becomes less of a practice and more of a memory, I have a feeling that many people, young and old, will need time to adjust to large group gatherings and interactions again.
I personally did not feel the stress from last year, mainly because I was too focused on my work and relied on the Lord to carry me through one day at a time. Just last week, a 2-year burden was lifted from me and my team. We immediately felt relieved, but then I found myself asking, “Now what?” The reason why is because we poured so much energy into strategic planning and countless meetings to resolve conflicting issues. Slowing down from fast-paced routines actually messes with my mind because I feel less efficient. What I considered to be productive activity is now no longer necessary, and I must shift down to a lower gear.
While I am grateful for the relief, I am now asking God to help me enjoy the slowdown and transition towards new priorities. I want my mind, body, and soul to be restored because they have been pushed to higher thresholds of stress last year that I have never experienced. So I am intentionally building in more rest periods into my week and making sure that I maintain a posture of receiving. I once had a counselor ask me, “You are taking care of everyone, but who is taking care of you?”
I am learning to receive and accept the graces of God in the form of family, friends, and coworkers. I find myself leaning on them today more than ever because just being around them refreshes my spirit. Receiving love and encouragement from them is much more special to me these days. Maybe I am just becoming a sensitive sap. Maybe I am just mentally and physically tired. And just maybe, God made me more aware of what’s happening around me by showing how his hand is involved in every one of those moments. Wherever he leads me, he will be sure to restore whatever good this world has beaten out of my soul.