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Our podcast the weeks of June 20th and 27th offers a conversation with several members of our team about how everybody’s doing these days, especially with regard to our reserve tanks. I’ve been polling a number of mature people lately—inside the Wild at Heart world and beyond––and the nearly unanimous response is that folks are running on very low reserves. 

Of course you are. We are now in the “cascade effect” of the past two years.

It’s like a car accident—there’s the crash, then the adrenaline response to handle the immediate aftermath. Later (sometimes much later), you realize your neck is killing you or your back just isn’t right. The immediate blow, then the aftereffects. 

We are now experiencing the cascade effects of exhaustion, mental fragmentation, irritability, and something I want to call “apathy creep”—though I need to explain what I mean.

Life is asking 100 percent of us. Most of us have way less than 100 percent to give these days. (Right?) So we make it through another day, another week, but when we get home we don’t have the energy to rally for anything else. We start to let go of things like the gym, saying yes to a BBQ, even making dinner. Allen on our team used to love going to the gym; it was life-giving. He hasn’t been in a long time. Jamie loves to make nutritious meals for her family, but she admitted they are getting takeout way more often these days. Like that.

It’s not necessarily apathy creep in a pure sense. We still care about things, we just don't have the energy to care about things enough to see them through. Getting out of commitments feels like relief right now.

I’ve been doing loads of interviews on major podcasts because I released a book in June on all this—and how to recover. It’s called Resilient; Restoring Your Weary Soul in These Turbulent Times. Every single time, as I begin to name the reality of the cascade, weariness, low reserves, and all the signs that go with it, my hosts and their guests start nodding in agreement. “Wow—I hadn't put words to it, but that’s exactly how I feel.”

One major host admitted he can’t find the energy to be creative right now. Another confessed he’s trying to get out of social engagements; he just doesn’t have the energy.

What I think is even more telling is the early reaction to Resilient and the 30 Days to Resilient feature we just added to the Pause app (a morning and evening meditation that is simply gorgeous). One woman shared with us, in tears, “I knew something was wrong, I just couldn't name it. But this is it, and I’m so grateful for the care you are offering.” Another said, “Thank you for this. It’s a balm to my weary, weary soul.”

So folks are now putting words to the cascade effects of the last few years and their very low tanks. They are aware of the apathy creep.  

But what finally came clear to me was what the enemy is up to in all this. 

I thought his main goal was to wear us down, lure us into pursuit of relief that doesn’t have anything to do with God, really, then hammer us with disappointment when we get back from vacation and realize nothing’s changed. (I still believe this is true.)

But what I now see is that the apathy creep is what he is after, especially as it works its way to the epicenter. We begin by not going out as much; it moves closer to home as we start getting takeout, skipping our daily walk, not reading much anymore. Slowly, the creep moves into things essential for our well-being. But the epicenter of the creep—the things the enemy is licking his chops over—is that feeling that we’re too tired to pray or do any of the other things that maintain our life in God.

Because even as we rolled out Resilient and 30 Days, my friends were sort of half-hearted about it. “Maybe later.” Even team members. Doing any sort of spiritual care feels like “work.” When prayer feels like work we don’t have energy for, the creep has reached the epicenter.  

And this is the plan to take us out: Move that creep (which is real) closer and closer to the epicenter, where we begin to let go of our lifeline to God. We just want to veg with a beer on the deck. Leave me alone. Don’t ask me to do anything else right now.

And so I’m having T-shirts made for my team: “Protect the Epicenter!”

Protect the Epicenter, friends! Do not let this creep erode the things you do to maintain—and deepen—your union with Jesus! If you lose God, you will be truly lost.

Jamie admitted she finally started doing 30 Days on the Pause app, and in her words, “It was so easy, so life-giving.” Exactly. The enemy wants you to make you feel like soul care and spiritual practices are too much, because he knows that from the epicenter of our life with God we will find the strength and replenishment to come back.

The cascade effects are real. The creep is real. But, friends—you must protect the epicenter! Recover your practices to draw deeply on God’s strength in this hour! 

Get the audiobook for Resilient and just let me read to you. 30 Days to Resilient is in the One Minute Pause app (free in the App Store) and will gently, lovingly bring solace. Big time.

Download the Wild at Heart Summer 2022 Newsletter here
 

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About John

John Eldredge is an author (you probably figured that out), a counselor, and a teacher. He is also president of Wild at Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own hearts in God's love, and learn to live in God's Kingdom. John met his wife, Stasi, in high school.... READ MORE

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