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The last few weeks have been very draining. Anticipating Hurricane Harvey was an emotional drain. We didn't know how bad the storm was going to be, but we knew that it was going to be bad. The aftermath of the storm left houses destroyed, people dead, material goods lost, and emotions drained. AS we cleaned up houses, collected goods, rescued stranded residents of flooded houses, and distributed gifts, we saw people who lost everything. This is emotional draining, leaves our nerves frayed. Watching person after person, family members and friends, and even our own selves suffering, sends us on a roller coaster of emotions that can end in anger, frustration, and paranoia. When our emotions are at their end, we snap at each other, judge each other at the spur of a moment, and we take everything as a personal attack. It's a good thing right now to admit to people that our emotions are down, they've taped out, and repent for our lovely sinful flesh. I don't know about y'all, but my emotions are done, stick a fork in me, my nerves are frayed and I'm on the edge with everyone. I have emotional fatigue and I need to confess this, admit that I've been giving and giving and giving and I don't have much more to give. Please forgive me for this, that I may be restored in the words of holy absolution.
How do we act with each other when we have emotional fatigue, meaning when our emotions have run out and we are drained. Basically, this means that we have cared about each other so much, especially since we are not used to this magnitude of care, and and because of this level of care we are drained. We are worn out worrying about ourselves, each other, and everyone else in between. When you have emotional fatigue, you are physically exhausted and you feel overextended, like you can't get anything done because there is just too much. When we have this fatigue we begin to lash out at everyone around us, we take everything as a judgment, and our joy in both God and our neighbor is put out. Emotional fatigue is a real thing that we all get, especially in times such as these. When you get to this point, you need a break, you need to take a deep breath and relax. Distance yourself for a day and let things be, for God will take care of things even in your absence. Your faithfulness to everyone around you does not determine their salvation and sanity, but rather Jesus' faithfulness. When you are drained, you can't give anymore, but rather you need to receive and be cared for instead.
When you are emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally fatigued, you are drained and are no good to anyone, even yourself. You need to be fed. You need to be taken care of and tended to. You need to be loved. You need to be served. We need to hear how our Lord loves us, serves us, and is never drained when it comes to helping us. As Thessalonians says, "But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one" (2nd Thessalonians 3:3). We are not always faithful, but rather we get drained and fatigued. Jesus never fatigues when it comes to His love for us, but instead drained all of His love for us on the cross in order that we may live with Him forever. We are His and He is ours. Jesus comes to us in our drained state and fills us up with love, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness. He doesn't come and judge us for our messed up emotions, nor does He condemn us for getting drained and calling it quits. Jesus knows our weaknesses because He experienced them Himself and He gives us the remedy for our failure in His death and resurrection. Jesus is faithful to you. He never tires of forgiving you and loving you. When you are drained, at your wits end, don't despair, but look to Jesus who is the author and perfecter of your faith and the one who serves you with love and mercy. Jesus says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). In Jesus, in His promises, in His absolution, you will find rest for your soul and your drained emotions. Church is not a place where people compete to see whose emotions last the longest, but where people who are drained get served, loved, and nourished in the forgiveness of their sins because they don't have their act together. Church is the place for you who are frayed, stressed, and down right drained with everything right now. Church is where Jesus comes to you to forgive you and love you unconditionally, no matter how messed up you are. So, my fellow fatigued brothers and sisters, take heart, for Jesus is near to bring you joy and cheer that can't be taken away. Jesus loves you, He has washed away your sins, that your Father in heaven may continue to see you as His beloved child forever.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.