Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Ponderings on Fatigue and the Changing World

I haven't said much about it but earlier this year, my fatigue level and some other symptoms that come with two auto immune diseases began to increase.  It is something that happens with a chronic health condition, one can go a couple of years and everything stays the same and then almost overnight, there are more challenges.

I'm okay but it has helped to remember Elisabeth Elliot writing about "Do the next thing".  The phrase is from an old Saxon legend but it inspired a poem by that name which Elisabeth loved.  I expect many of you have read it:

Do it immediately, do it with prayer, do it reliantly, casting all care. Do it with reverence, tracing His hand who placed it before thee with earnest command. Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing, leave all resultings, do the next thing.”

While the English is a tad old fashioned, it still speaks to the heart of a person who must rely on doing just the next thing.  In Elisabeth's book when she shares the phrase and poem, her husband, missionary Jim Eliot, has just been martyred.  When she asks God for wisdom, she remembers this phrase and receives wisdom on what to do next.  She took their baby and resumed the work they had been doing.

My situation is not so dramatic but it does require prayer and listening to God.  Fatigue was the first symptom that sent me to the doctor over twenty years ago.  It wasn't all that life changing at the time.  I had enjoyed power walking two and even three miles a day and I noticed it was becoming difficult to even walk a mile.

Over the years, I have experienced a slow increase in symptoms until now, I must stop and rest quite a lot.  I can still fix dinner but we also keep a few frozen meals and even a couple frozen pizzas in the deep freeze for those evenings I am too tired to cook.  Fortunately, we have been having a lot of salads for dinner and I think I could make them in my sleep.

I do laundry a little at a time, clean the house and wash dishes a little at a time, and do extra work on days I'm feeling better.  Thankfully, my husband has made our bed and cleaned the bathrooms since we were married.  I do not let him near the washer and dryer or I cringe to think what the laundry would look like.  You would think an engineer would know not to throw reds in with the whites.  

About a month or so ago, perhaps even six or seven weeks, I decided to make some changes in the Study to better utilize the space.  I hadn't done anything extra to it since it became my empty nest project.  I didn't want to change any of the large pieces of furniture but the smaller items were considered for other rooms and I wanted to make certain all the shelves and drawers were best utilized.

I started by removing the furniture I wasn't going to use anymore to other rooms and then brought everything in that I wanted to replace it.  It took three weeks of stuff sitting all over the Study to finish what was started... all a little at a time.  But it is now in the tweaking stage, which does not require tripping over anything on the way to my desk.

That is pretty good for what once looked like an impossible task.  So far, a box along with four grocery bags full of stuff have gone to Goodwill.  I worked on it when I had the energy and it was always a "do the next thing" way of working through the process.

I have never been a depressed person, frustrated but not depressed.  Tired but not depressed.  Stomping my foot and asking God just what He thinks He is doing to me at times... but even then, not depressed.  But I have struggled with it this year.

The current events in the world in general but our own country in particular have just worn me out emotionally and it is really hard when physically one has to move slowly.  I can no longer do those things I once did when frustration at politicians was building.  No joining, or handing out flyers, or meeting with like minded people to discuss options.  It just isn't possible, anymore.

I learn so much from watching videos of people who are prepping but I had to stop gardening a few years ago because of increased fatigue.  It became too difficult to walk out to the garden to even water it. It even became impossible to keep up with the container garden on the deck because of the terrible heat and humidity we have experienced off and on the past few months.

However, I have learned that there are still things I can do regularly and a little at a time.  It is still surprising what can be accomplished in ten minutes or so of work here and there.  Quite often little things can be crossed off the To Do list that have big consequences.

I have learned to pray about the political situations more than ever before.  It is far more enjoyable to pass out flyers or work with other women to influence voting but I have this feeling that prayer actually does a whole lot more than passing out flyers... and gosh does this world need prayer!

I can no longer garden, do any kind of canning, etc. but I can be diligent about paying attention to what we have in the pantry.  This is especially important when more shortages are expected, higher prices, and... the cost of gasoline has gone up a couple dollars a gallon since the policies were changed in Washington.

I'm not sure but is it possible that physical fatigue can be made worse by emotional fatigue?  Just watching what is going on around us and feeling helpless? Obviously, we know that we have God on our side and we know how this all ends with His Kingdom being set up on the earth but still... the changes have come so fast.  Even to those of us who saw them coming.

I watched an interview with Al Mohler last week and he said that Christians are not optimistic and neither are they pessimistic... they are hope filled.  The blessed hope of knowing God is working all things out for His good and the future belongs to Him.  However, he also stated that the coming years will need Christians to stand firm in their beliefs as the culture becomes even more set against Christian values.

This is a reminder to cover our loved ones and friends in prayer.  Not only our children and grandchildren but those people who are called into any kind of ministry.  They all... we all... need prayer. 

I hope today's ponderings have not been too much of a downer.  It's just where I am right now.  Doing what God asks, a little at a time.  Thinking ahead and praying.  Lots of praying.  Creating Beauty in the midst of it all and reading good books.  Hopefully, I can write a Book Talk post very soon!

Image:  It won't be long until I can bring out the Mrs. Beaver tea cozy. We are so looking forward to cooler weather!


Anonymous said...

Please take good care of yourself Brenda. I look forward each weekend to your Saturday and Sunday posts. Yes, these are difficult days for us all, and I imagine even more so for one with medical issues, but I look forward to happier days ahead. Rest all you need and know that there are many of us who care, and pray for you and your family. Take care, Donna xo

Anonymous said...

Your post really spoke to me. I think we all are weary and tired, and it's hard for me not to be anxious. We need to be praying for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ everywhere for protection from the enemy and to stand strong no matter what. I'm finding that I'm reminding myself more often to "fear not," because of events in our country and the world. Also, reminding myself to not fear what man can do. If persecution comes, I don't ever want to deny Christ because of fear of when man can do to me. Thank you for your thoughtful posts. I always enjoy reading them.


Conni said...

Not a downer at all, Brenda....just more of what I’ve come to anticipate in your posts: transparency, encouragement, logical musings about LIFE. Yes, the world is changing much more rapidly than we imagined but, being of a more advanced age (74), I feel blessed to be able to withdraw a bit and, like you, ponder and very much to pray for! Thank you for sharing your valuable thoughts - may you be encouraged in the Lord this week!

Ann said...

Oh I could not agree with you more. And yes, I do think that physical pain/fatigue can be incrased when we are under emotional stress. It works that way in my body. I find myself praying more and more each day -- there are so very many problems that need attention that I often find it overwhelming. I cannot possibly cover everything every day so I've written down a good number of prayer needs for family, friends, our country and the world in general and keep them in a little book to pray over the book when I just can't find any more words to use.
I am certainly glad that God is God and does not expect us to shoulder all that He is handling for us. Trust and patience will get us through until the Kingdom comes and our King returns.

Suzan said...

Much love sweet lady. I suffer from a number of things including depression. It I so so very difficult to cope at times and you are doing so well.

Margie from Toronto said...

I too have two auto-immune diseases and like you - it can be frustrating. I have had to learn to pace myself, take short cuts when needed and even to let things go when necessary. One thing that helps is having a well stocked pantry, along with some HM and store bought ready meals for those days when I just don't feel up to cooking. Not having to worry about shopping when I don't feel well makes such a difference and keeping a tidy and organized apt. also helps.

I also stay thankful for all that i can do - including working 25 hrs per week - about half those hours from home now - which also helps - walking (even if it's just for 10 or 15 minutes at a time) and enjoying things that help my stress levels, like reading & listening to classical music. Whatever works for each of us is what we should do to keep going.

ellen said...

I understand your fatigue. Both my husband and I struggle with it. I told him between the two of us we make one pretty great person! Yes, I'm sure emotional fatigue causes physical fatigue. We don't watch any news anymore. It's all designed to divide us and controll us. I think we are in war. An information war or a spiritual war, but some kind of war. And we have battle fatigue. It's been going on for a very long time without us realizing it until now when we can no longer ignore it. So we need to protect ourselves with prayer. We know how it is going to end. God wins. But prayer is vitally important and powerful. I'll pray for you. God bless.

Deanna Rabe said...

I do think emotional fatigue can contribute to physical fatigue! I'm sorry you've been struggling with this.

I love that you shared this famous saying of Elisabeth Elliot's. I think of it often. Our lives change, so what we can do changes but we can still do the next thing that we CAN do! You are doing that, bit by bit as you say!

Anonymous said...

Recently jennie allen had a post on Instagram which said the following: "We aren't meant to carry the problems of the whole world all day every day, but we are the first generation to know them caring for everything we end up helping nothing...neighbors' sufferings are falling to the wayside for global crisis and we end up paralyzed..."

She goes into further description of how to avoid "compassion fatigue", which is what I hear you say you are experiencing - in addition to the physical fatigue that is a natural part of aging or coping with illness. I can certainly relate to both types of fatigue. Comparing the way our grandparents received news of politics, catastrophic events or world wars to the steady flow and quantity of information we are exposed to now - it's no wonder we are emotionally exhausted! I love the idea of "taking the next step", because it makes life seem so much more manageable. This is in no way saying that we become insensitive to others' sufferings or ignorant of our world. God will lead His children to ways in which they can serve others through small acts of obedience that will add up to a huge impact for the kingdom, but we must begin in our own "village" with small steps. We have to keep our eyes fixed on HIM instead of the gathering storm clouds, and we must do our best to shut out the constant barrage of information for our mental and spiritual health!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Brenda,

The shot causes things like you're experiencing. While I cannot question your decision to take it, if you look into the so called conspiracy theories, the effects of the shot do just what you are experiencing. There are spikes in contents of this shot that "hook" onto the platelets of your blood cells and cause it to clump together causing blockages. Take it to the Lord. He has promised to heal. I lift you up in prayer. No I'm not a doctor. But I read and it seems pretty simple to understand what happens. Look up Dr.Peter McCullough.
Blessings, Lydia

Sherry said...

very cool mornings where i live have helped a bit to uplift my heart, along with much time with the One who loves me most. my husband has been taking me on forced marches up and down hills - not so much forced but 'encouraged.' ;) i find it helps. tremendously. though i'd much rather not even move some days.

the commenter above (ellen) said it well about being in some type of war be it information or spiritual - and that it can be likened to a form of battle fatigue. i'm in agreement.

yesterday at the north of us market there was a good buy on sugar free apple cider packs and hot cocoa packs - - i passed on the purchase and wish i hadn't now. thirty miles to that market won't do (gas wise at $4.99 a gallon) so i'll wait for sunday again and hope the sale is still going. it'd be nice to squirrel away a bit of that yummy stuff.

Tracy said...

I agree with Ellen that emotional fatigue causes physical fatigue and I think many of us have felt it over the last 18 months or so, even those without any medical conditions to contend with.

Debby said...

Not a downer at all - an excellent post that I sure needed to hear. I found it encouraging but real. Times are hard and they are nothing to where they will be even a year from now. IT is going at such a fast pace that I can hardly believe it. PRAYER is key.

Rebecca said...

Not a downer...
Pretty much where I've "landed" myself.
I like that Moehler quote and the poem (EE's).
Stay strong!

PJ Geek said...

You speak. A truth that resonates, I have had several minor medical problems this year, 2 e.r. visits, higher blood sugars Than I am used to, med changes, feeling discouraged, I pray more. I took a 2 day weekend break from all news, blogs, Facebook. I felt so light. But then, it is hard to maintain because you worry something else is happening, some new threat that may come directly to home than being across the world. I am so upset and in disbelief in our current govt “ leaders”. I work for a hospital that begs us to volunteer our precious time off to handle the Covid surge. Blessings you tookt the vaccine. So many are ill and is my job every day. It is real. I want to walk the naysayers through the Covid wards and Icu and say ‘“ wake up”. Better the shot than the potentials of Covid. I didn’t mean to rant. I have started ordering groceries on line at Walmart. I drive to pick it up and a nice, healthy young person loads my car. I am stocking up. I have hope. Keep on, Brenda

Georgia said...

Hi Brenda, I am fairly new to your blog and so glad I discovered it. I honestly don't remember, but I do know that I feel that God led me to you. I have enjoyed reading your blog posts so much, and like you with age and health I have had to slow down I really appreciated all that you said. I enjoy so much living the pantry lifestyle. You have made me acutely aware of things I need to do that I have not done. Often I don't know just how to pray, and I have to let God's spirit direct me there to. Yes all of the goings on in the world is upsetting, it wears us out, it beats us down, physically, mentally and spiritually. What I see today, reminds me of pre WWII. I know with my heart God is watching over His children and will direct our paths. Keep praying my friend...I have found Psalm 91 to be a great comfort. May God Bless you and give you the strength and energy to keep writing. Again Thank you so much...Sincerely, Georgia Wireman