Take a nap, eat a snack, carry on


Many people, myself included, have taken to calling our shutdown in the spring “The Great Pause.”

As we have moved through the summer, efforts have been made to reintroduce greater levels of activity into society at a variety of levels. There is no denying, however, that the world isn’t quite as busy as it was before the muddy mess of 2020. The constant state of wait-and-see has greatly limited our ability and/or willingness to return to our previous levels of activity. The pace of life, in a great many ways, has decreased.

One would assume the combination of a slower pace and decreased activity would result in people being more rested and ready to go. It is incredibly ironic then that many of us feel more exhausted and run down than we did before.

I’ve been struck recently how many articles, blog posts, memes and conversations have dealt with this reality. Many of us are feeling exhausted and stretched to the breaking point. Something must be done to ease the struggle a bit. But what can be done?

The struggles we are facing will not disappear nearly as precipitously as they appeared. We will be dealing with varying levels of uncertainty and tension for the foreseeable future. And while I don’t have any miracle cures, I do believe some thoughts shared around a campfire several years ago might be of some assistance. They are drawn from the biblical story of Elijah.

Elijah is one of the greatest prophets from the Bible. He stood firm in his resolve to do what was right in the face of a culture that was all about doing wrong. His story crescendos to a duel of sorts at a place called Mount Carmel. He and the prophets of the god Baal meet on top of the mountain. Both prepare altars, both prepare sacrifices, then they call on their deity to light it up.

Elijah ultimately wins the duel when God sends fire from heaven and consumes the sacrifice. Immediately following this “mountaintop experience,” Elijah bottoms out. Jezebel, the queen, promises to take his life, and Elijah runs for his life and hides. He’s exhausted, discouraged and depressed and he’s struggling to find the will to carry on. Elijah does two things that provide him with strength to carry on.

Take a nap … First, Elijah gets some sleep. What’s crazy is that Elijah has just had a great experience, but even the euphoria of a big win can take it out of you. Elijah finds a spot in the shade of a bush, he lies down and he gets some rest. He takes a nap. I find this to be incredibly appropriate for where we find ourselves today. We find ourselves in a season of loss, but the truth is things are getting better. We are on the upswing in a lot of ways. It’s still exhausting, though. A climb of any kind, even if it’s only internal (emotional, intellectual, spiritual) takes a great deal of energy and effort. Slow as the going may feel, our bodies, minds and souls need to rest and renew from time to time. Sometimes, we just need to sleep for a little while and reset.

Eat a snack … After getting some rest, an angel wakes Elijah up and provides him with some food and water. Elijah eats and drinks, takes another nap and then eats and drinks again. He eats a snack. Our bodies don’t run on good vibes and high times. It’s amazing what a little bit of food can do for you. It reminds me of those Snickers commercials where the person is acting a fool until their friend gives them a bite of a candy bar and they miraculously transform. The tagline for those commercials is “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” Sometimes, a good meal or a simple snack is good for the soul.

Carry on … Before sending Elijah on his way, the angel notes “the journey is too much for you.” I find this to be profoundly true. I can’t say how many times in the last several months I’ve uttered the phrase, “I’m done” or "I’m over it all." The truth is that none of us ends this life alive. Life can be extremely difficult. And at times, it is more than we can handle on our own. Just like Elijah, though, I believe the good Lord reaches out a helping hand, if we’re willing to take it, and empowers us to carry on.

Many of us are weary of the realities of life right now. We’ve walked through several frustrating, uncertain and draining months. Unfortunately, there is a long road to go ahead of us. In the midst of it all, remember to take care of yourself. Get some rest, get some food in your stomach and carry on. And know that the Lord will see us through.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected].

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