The new year often kicks of with most feeling refreshed after some time away with loved ones, reset for the year to come, energized by the thoughts of how this year might be different from the last, or if like me- excited for the bucket list of things that is in the plans for the year ahead.
Yet with the way things have been since that which must not be named invaded all our lives, I cannot help but still at times feel a bit weary. Sometimes even a little defeated.
The year that started on such a high, possibly tainted with the idea that this year may not be so different to what the lasttwo have been. So quickly you can go from feeling refreshed to feeling deflated from the realization that not much has changed, you can go from making plans to feeling skeptical that once again things might not go to plan.
Perhaps the thought of planning just to hear things get canceled becomes too much of a burden. As we head deeper into the year and the effects of joyful January and the thought of new beginnings begins to wear off, it can be hard to sustain the joy and the excitement that the new year brings.
It's as though the new year goggles fall off and we once again step back into the norm of the day to day. The excitement fades and once again we feel tired from what has been.
Yet, this week in the most timely fashion I was again reminded of God’s command in Matthew chapter 11 to ‘Come all those who are weary and burdened.’ It got me thinking that even today that command rings true. Come to the Lord and he will give you rest, He will sustain you and fill your cup.
But often in a society that is drenched in hustle culture, the idea of turning and running to God or simply spending time in His presence can seem really hard at a time where many things are fighting for our attention and time. Perhaps it is in fact the nature of hustle culture that is making us feel like we are in this endless cycle of exhaustion.
Day to day
So many of us today are tired from our need to constantly ‘hustle’ and burdened by the state of political and social current affairs that we can get lost in that and forget that there is joy to be found in the day to day.
The excitement goggles of the new year and not designed to just be goggles that fall off after a few months but should in fact be so deeply embedded in our worlds because our joy comes from the Lord.
It’s not the newness of the new year, but the newness of everyday that we can find joy in when we have taken the time to rest in the Lord, breathe and be grateful for each day has it has come.
I’ve often found that it's easier for my joy to be stolen when I have let myself get taken out by my exhaustion or overwhelmed by my burdens instead of turning to the Lord, remembering that both my joy and my rest come from Him and it is renewed daily.
So let this new year not be the one where you're excited only for the month of January, but be excited daily by taking the time to rest and turn to the Lord.
Here’re a few things to help you along the way:
Identify when you are tired and burdened- often you can see this in the way that you treat others. Do you feel like you’re being short, getting agitated more easily than normal? Do you have people around you that can identify when you are struggling?
Now that you know that you are tired and burdened, stop, breathe and pray. Turn to the Lord, let him carry your burdens and renew your energy. It can be as little as taking a walk in nature to longer events such as going away for a weekend.
Evaluate- What in your life is taking a lot of tine, mental capacity and causing stress? Limit the amount of noise that is going on, turn of the notifications, get off social media and set some boundaries with your technology.
Discuss with those around you how you might better ensure that you are using your time and energy in a way that does not take away from time that you need for your spiritual and mental health.
Rinse and repeat. Check in every week with yourself on how you are doing. Have you had time to rest in the Lord? Have you been able to find joy everyday? If not perhaps its time to start the process all over again and reset yourself for the week to come.
Araina Kazia Pereira from Wellington, New Zealand is a published writer having written for various outlets and most recently joining as a Press Service International young writer. She enjoys asking the big questions and writing about the challenging questions that she has wrestled with in her own journey, as well as her learnings along the way. You can contact her at email@example.com.