Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-3
There’s much this year that’s wearying, isn’t there? 2020 is one of those years that we will talk about with our kids and grandkids for the next several decades – but we’re still in the middle of it. What’s particularly unique about this year is that we are all experiencing versions of the same struggles. No one is exempt. The upside of this is that we are all in it together. I don’t know about you, but I find this comforting.
Throughout the last few months, I have heard most people in my life at some point share that they’ve had enough; it’s getting to them; they are fed up/worn out/weary of the hardships of this year. Because of the ongoing nature of the pandemic, of the racial tension, of the politicization, we are hitting this point more than once, perhaps. I know I have.
If you’re in this place now, what does it look like to “throw off everything that hinders”? How do we “fix our eyes on Jesus” so that we “will not grow weary and lose heart”? Here are a few ideas:
+ put away media // The balance between being informed and being overwhelmed by media these days is one very fine line. It may be healthy to resist the urge to check the news daily for a period of time. If anything major happens, ask your spouse or friend to share it with you. Otherwise, the mental space you’ll gain from a media break is worth the short-term ignorance, particularly if you’re feeling weary.
+ get outside // Could you spend one whole hour outside today? Maybe two or three? Take the kids to a nature preserve, pack a picnic, and leave your phone at home. Walk a long trail, pick flowers, lay on your back and look up at the shades of blue in the sky. Nature is healing. Seeing God’s handiwork with intention is healing.
+ confess sin // Has it been awhile since you brought your worries, your fears, your open heart to God? Since you’ve asked him to reveal the ugly attitudes, the prevalent discontent, the deep-seated selfishness? Taking a few moments to sort out our hearts before Christ and to confess the sin found there is an act of obedience and restorative to our souls.
+ look for beauty // When the world is looking ugly and bleak, look up. Look out. Look at the moon, the stars. Look at the variety of trees, at the birds, at your children, the color of their eyes. Look in a good book, look in Scripture. Look in your relationships, look in your church. Look in your food – how many colors are there? Open your eyes wider to the beauty in your everyday world.
+ put away technology // We are brilliant multitaskers, aren’t we? We can cook dinner, listen to a podcast, check Instagram, mhmm to our children, and respond to a text all in a minute’s time. This isn’t the best for a myriad of reasons, but for now, can you identify how you feel in the midst of that? Is there a twitchiness? A elevated stress level? What if you put the phone away for a few hours, for a whole day? What if you aimed to get your screen time to under an hour a day? Not only for the sake of your home, your children, and your spouse, but for you? I guarantee that with reduced technology use your mind will clear a bit; the fogginess will lift slightly, your eyes become more trained to see beauty. And it’s glorious.
+ focus your eyes on Christ // In my experience, a lack of peace, a world weariness is directly correlated with where my eyes and heart are focused. Not surprising, is it? When my days are filled with social media, with the news, with multitasking, my mind is a busy space, a restless space, flitting from thought to thought, to new ideas, to old memories, and there is little peace or rest. But once we’ve put away the news, and the technology, we use those pauses, those little captured moments to look to Christ – in nature, while on a walk, in our kids’ hearts, while washing the dishes. We read the Scriptures well placed throughout the house, we reflect on the morning’s devotions, we commune with Christ in prayer, and our souls are refreshed.
Consider him… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:3
A friend articulated recently that what is particularly hard about this year is that we don’t know when these struggles are going to end – how long do we have to “hang in there” for? It’s a long haul, but we can shake off the weariness with intention, looking collectively for the beauty, encouraging each other to fix our eyes on Christ. We’ll get through this.