Finding Restoration When You're Weary
What a year 2020 has been so far! I’d love to be able to say it’s been everything I’d hoped for and more, but at times it’s seemed like more of an exercise in staying sane and above water than it has a joyride or triumph.
The events of the past six months especially have put an unprecedented strain on all of us. Some of us have lost work and financial resources due to government-imposed shutdowns. Some of us have had to learn how to retool our daily lives to accommodate at-home schooling or employment. Some of us have experienced increased anxiety or depression because of hourly “news” updates on TV and social media, and all of us have had our plans disrupted.
I would venture to guess that all of us have felt weakened at times. Weakened by increased health anxiety or by the upheaval of Covid-19 restrictions, bickering, and policy changes.
All of us have felt unsettled at times. Unsettled by violent riots in our great cities and by the political manipulation of our emotions (the sort of manipulation that always seems to occur every four years like clockwork, by the way).
I know that I’ve felt absolutely exhausted at times, befuddled by how 2020 has played out so far.
Despite my best efforts to soldier forward with my life and my goals as if nothing has been different in the world, it has been nearly impossible to ignore the negative energy. At every turn there seems to be someone in government or entertainment or corporate America reminding me that: “Life is different now. It is dangerous. It is tumultuous. It is not fun. It is not meant to be enjoyed, so stay on edge and stay angry and stay defeated and scared while we tell you what to do and think next.”
At every turn there seems to be a political discussion in the background. At every turn there seems to be a Facebook spat.
The collective negative energy of 2020 has drained my spirit at times, leaving me restless, listless, upset, achy, or sleepless. And when such sensations arrive in my body and disrupt my optimism, I know for a fact that it is time to retool and refocus.
When I feel a certain tension seep into my body and mind like a pollutant, I know that the only real solution is to “clean house.”
The only real solution is restoration.
Just as healing is both physical and spiritual, so is restoration. It might involve physical acts like finding increased rest, taking breaks from “news” and social media, taking mini-vacations, becoming more engaging in exercise, spending more time outdoors, engaging in creative work, finding emotional support from others, eating cleaner, or any number of other things. But in my opinion any such acts of physical/mental restoration must be done against a backdrop of spiritual restoration. Or rather built on top of the spiritual.
And what is spiritual restoration? I think it is God’s ability to build back up our strength and joy when those things have waned. I think it is His ability to build back up our sense of self-worth, and our sense of purpose when those things have eroded It is the process of allowing His truths and promises to fortify our will and calm our nerves. It is the process of allowing His love and spirit to cleanse negativity and worry and anger out of our minds and hearts. It is the process of finding true rest when we are weary.
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Spiritual restoration is what we all need when we feel as if we’re running on fumes or defeated, and if that is how you’ve been feeling lately (or just plain stressed), I urge you today to join me in refocusing. Together let’s focus on the following Scripture verses so that we can be cleansed, renewed, strengthened, and given the energy and joy we need to move us into the upcoming autumn season with hope and gratitude.
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten. … You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied. And praise the name of the Lord your God.” Joel 2:25-26
In the above verses from the Old Testament book of Joel, God is speaking to His people, the Israelites, after they’ve experienced a famine due to swarms of locusts that have moved through the land destroying their crops. These locusts (which arrived with God’s permission, by the way) wreaked absolute havoc on the food supply, destroying both seeds saved from previous years and current crops. So, not only was the present food situation wrecked for the people, thus negating all of the hard work that people had done planting seeds in the past, but the seeds that would have been saved for upcoming harvests were threatened, too.
All of the hard work from the past wasn’t paying off, and the future seemed bleak. What was the point of it all?
How great of a metaphor is the above situation for 2020? It seems like this year the locusts have indeed swarmed everywhere throughout our land, threatening to ruin the things that we have worked so hard for up to this point. Threatening to ruin our future plans and the seeds we were going to plant this year for future “harvests” in our lives.
Some people had saved money for years to begin small businesses, only to have those small business cave in the wake of Covid-19 shutdowns. Other people had worked extremely hard on health and self-improvement resolutions, only to have their will to succeed battered by doomsday narrative in the news and by the fact that all the fun had been sucked out of the world by lockdowns and restrictions. Suddenly, certain things didn’t seem so important anymore. Why not eat junk food, smoke, drink to excess, or get on those antianxiety pills that the doctor keeps pushing? Why not, when the world is ending?
Reality turned upside down in 2020 as the locusts swarmed. Suddenly churches, schools, and libraries weren’t the welcoming refuges and bastions of freedom they had once seemed to be. Suddenly sports and entertainment provided agendas instead of upliftment or pleasant distraction. Suddenly vacations were outlawed. Suddenly anxious friends and family members began isolating themselves and treating each other as “asymptomatic carriers” to be guarded against. Suddenly it seemed pointless to plan for a good future when those plans could be decimated in a moment by …. who knows for sure? By something unseen. By someone unseen.
Some young people had worked so hard to get into the college of their choice, only to see the “college experience” become a joke because of virtual reality, masks, and cancelled sporting events. And on and on the tales of disruption go. I’m sure you have many of your own.
Again, we’ve all had our lives disrupted by the “locusts” of 2020, and perhaps we feel as if our years of hard work have been threatened or taken from us. Perhaps we feel as if it doesn’t pay to plant any seeds for the future harvests in our lives.
Maybe there have been times when you’ve thought “I can’t do this anymore. What’s the point?”
But God hasn’t forgotten about you as a person, and He hasn’t forgotten about us as a people. He will always hear us when we seek Him, and He will restore to us everything that has been taken from us this past year and more! Seek Him today and find strength in His promises. Find your restoration this month, little by little, and see how peace, focus, and strength return to you.
Five Ideas for Restoration
1. Journal about how the stressful events of 2020 have affected you. Focus on what you might have lost in the way of relaxation, hope, and fun, and think of little ways to begin getting those things back into your life in the remaining months of the year. Make a weekly plan for this.
2. Turn off the news and take a break from social media. Replace those things with books, and perhaps with more personal journaling and creative work.
3. Spend daily time focusing on your spiritual needs. Read devotions, spend time in prayer, and take notes on how spiritual ideas help you to rise above the “noise” of the world, putting things like money, politics, professional life, daily stress, and yes illness & mortality into the proper perspective.
4. Devote time to physical restoration in the form of relaxation that could include: baths/swimming, stretching/yoga, meditation, reading, napping, walks in nature, running outdoors, visiting parks, cooking, massages, creative projects, and time spent with family or friends.
5. Be patient with your restoration and see it as THE goal for the next 30 days. Remember that you aren’t the only one who’s felt depleted or stressed this year. Remember that you aren’t the only one who’s felt upended, angry, or confused. Be patient with yourself in the next 30 days and truly see them as your period of healing. Focus on cultivating your inner peace, set small goals for the month, get closer to God and to your soul’s needs and purpose, and see restoration as a most worthy goal in its own right.
Thanks for spending time with me. I look forward to checking in again soon. As always, feel free to message me, and don’t forget to take care of yourself and your dreams!
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Michael Priebe is a writer and personal development coach who has studied psychology, literature, and print journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated with honors. and over the years he has used both fiction and nonfiction formats to write about health, sports, professional life, politics, relationships, and spiritual issues. He puts out a variety of spiritually inspiring content at The Lovely Grind, and he blogs about his life at www.michaelpriebewriter.com. He invites you to find out more about his life coaching here, and he hopes you'll reach out to him on Facebook and Twitter.
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“I contacted Michael for coaching because he has the ultimate credential of having been through it all himself! I liked his warm, empathetic manner. He is easy to talk to, and I felt as if he were a family member in his warm caring toward me. Michael has a very reassuring way of communicating, and I would highly recommend him.”
Jon - British Columbia, Canada
“I came across Michael’s videos by chance while looking up information on prescription drug withdrawal. I found his YouTube videos to be very informative, honest, and consoling. I was watching one after the other and even converted the sound on the videos to MP3 so that I could listen to his advice while going for walks. That was very soothing for me, and therefore I decided to try his coaching services. Great decision.
"Michael is a great and patient listener, and during our time together I felt that he sincerely cared about my healing progress and had genuine empathy for all those going through withdrawal. He is a positive-minded individual who disseminates hope, and I appreciated the useful, personalized follow-up notes he sent after our session. Most certainly I would recommend his coaching.”
Yasmin - Cairo, Egypt
“No one else is doing what Michael is doing. It truly is a ministry! Michael is willing to make himself vulnerable to help others during their journey in the valley. He is very easy to talk to (I felt like I had known him forever), and I would most definitely recommend his coaching to others.”
Andi, North Carolina
“Michael’s coaching is truly a game-changing experience. I appreciate the level of understanding he brings … tons of knowledge on how to survive the days and get closer to recovery. When you finally get to look someone in the face and know they understand exactly what you’re going through, it can bring a different level of comfort; that is what Michael’s coaching provided me, and without a doubt I would recommend it to everyone going through this.”
“I decided to use Michael’s coaching services because he seemed very genuine and trustworthy. After speaking with him a couple of times, I realized that I am strong enough to overcome certain obstacles, but also realized that I need not rush the process [of becoming medication free]. It was comforting talking to Michael about my withdrawal issues so that I could realize that what I’m going through is common, and it was also useful that Michael took the time to give me feedback in specific areas—like making a schedule and forming realistic expectations for myself. Michael gave me more useful feedback than a lot of mental health counselors I’ve had. Michael has helped me, and I hope he continues to help others. I would definitely recommend his coaching services.”
“I learned a lot from Michael. At first I was so confused by withdrawal (wondering what I was going through and if I would be this way permanently), but Michael helped me to realize that we do heal and that things do get better. I had a lot of worries, but he helped to ease my mind and he gave me positive feedback regarding how to approach each day in this process. Michael has a caring heart, and I would 100 percent recommend his coaching to others going through this.”
Erikka, South Dakota
“It can be frustrating having to deal with [withdrawal] symptoms for months on end and getting next to no support from doctors or anyone in the medical community (people who for the most part are clueless). Simply getting a chance to speak with Michael—someone who has gone through what I have and is able to offer support—was comforting. I also really enjoyed his follow-up notes. They were insightful and helped me to consider things I hadn’t thought of. I very much enjoyed working with Michael, and I would recommend his coaching to anyone who is going through this process and looking for support.”
“Michael is relatable and non-judgemental. I liked his positivity and follow-up notes. He provided good support overall. I believe that if a person really wants to withdrawal from medication, then support like this, from someone who has personal experience, is invaluable, and for that reason I would recommend Michael’s coaching to others going through this process.”
Leanne – Ontario, Canada
"Because of Michael’s own experiences, he knows what serves and what damages. He helped me to control my intake of negative information, he made me more optimistic, and he gave me a sense of the “whole [healing] picture.” Michael is a good listener and his comments are very precise. I would definitely recommend his coaching to others going through withdrawal."
Miguel, Atlanta, GA
"I really enjoyed my coaching sessions with Michael and looked forward to each call. He is very easy to talk to and offers very good advice. Our conversations gave me hope and coping skills, and his follow-up notes and progress plan were very helpful; I reference them often to stay on track. I found it comforting talking to someone who has been through this and really understands the struggle. I now look at withdrawal as something that can be overcome, something that I can heal from. I felt very comfortable talking to Michael, and I would recommend his coaching services to others going through the withdrawal and healing process."
“I decided to try Michael’s coaching because, in his videos, he seemed so honest, relatable, upbeat, hopeful, and knowledgeable. I believe I got more out of Michael’s videos and coaching than I got from years of professional counseling. It is very comforting talking to him because it is like talking to a very knowledgeable, long-time, close friend. I have more hope for the future after talking to Michael, and that helps me to survive the times when I am feeling blue. I would recommend his coaching to those going through the withdrawal and healing process.”
“I really enjoyed the care that Michael put into every contact with me. I appreciate how he shared his own experiences, found out about my overall context, and made direct suggestions; it was so important to believe that I was not losing control of my mind and body and that I could carry on with living while going through the process. It was also helpful to set goals and a plan and check back in on these things. Michael’s coaching is very professional and authentic, and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is going through the withdrawal and healing process.”
Emma, United Kingdom
“I always refer back to what Michael coached me on in the past regarding dealing with such times during the recovery and healing process. I enjoy working with Michael because he takes his time answering each of my questions in detail. Michael has true answers and guidance. It is comforting being coached by someone who understands my symptoms, and also Michael is a very compassionate person. I would definitely recommend his services to a person in need of help during the withdrawal process.”
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CONTACT ME ABOUT COACHING
If you or someone you know is struggling to survive the pain and confusion of prescription drug withdrawal or chronic stress, I would like to offer my coaching services. Stress can suck the joy out of life, and the withdrawal process can be challenging (I know from experience). However, with the proper tools and mindset, these things can be survived and even used for greater growth. If you or someone you care about is trying to quit antidepressant or benzodiazepine medications (or simply trying to reduce stress levels), please click here to email me about coaching options and availability.