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"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31. "For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me." Colossians 1:29. "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13. "Solar power is the last energy resource that isn't owned yet- nobody taxes the sun yet."

In this time of covid-19 fatigue, it is easy to confuse this malaise with just being sick and tired of being "sick and tired or just being sick." Ask me how I know? Well, lately I have just been exhausted. No particular reason. I checked off the usual boxes and found that I did not have any pressing physical ailments. So, I surmised that my feelings were mostly emotional. This is not a big deal because we all, at times, go on emotional journeys when there are some things in our lives that are somewhat stressful. This is my story, and I will tell you about it later. However, the lack of energy was really getting to me; rising up later and retiring to bed earlier only fueled my lack of energy. Doing a few little chores in between so as not to consider my day a total waste, and listening to television (mostly news) zapped the remainder of my energy.

Reflecting on my low energy reserve, I starting thinking about the phenomena of "renewable energy." To be frank, I related only to the idea or the part of the idea that energy that could be renewed over and over without being totally depleted. Actually, this is what I needed. According to my research, anything renewable can be replaced or has an endless supply. Renewable sources of energy do not run out. Further inquiry revealed that "re" means "again," things that are renewable are always fresh and new: the supply cannot be used up. This word often applies to energy. Fossil fuels like oil are not renewable resources; we will run out of oil someday. Energy sources like solar and wind power are renewable, because there is always going to be sunlight and winds. Anything renewable is going to last.

Again, I must state that my interest was not in "renewable energy" as defined above, only the renewal aspect or maybe just even the word renewable. This, I added to the definition of energy: "the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity." Aha, this is what I am talking about! Energy that can be renewed over and over without fear that it will run out. Truthfully, I was becoming concerned about this lethargy and found a place to lay blame; the pandemic. Before you think "get over it," there is some truth to this. Why? Because before the pandemic became a part of (took over) our daily lives, we were free to roam about or not, which is in itself energizing. Having the ability to make choices without the threat of your life being at risk at every turn is liberating.

The ongoing acts of social distancing, wearing a mask, wearing gloves (I often do), constant hand washing, quarantining (social isolation), virtual (reality) meetings, (and all the talk around it), etc., etc., (all of which I do without hesitation) reduces spontaneity by 100% in my book. Hear me clearly; I am not complaining, I am happy to comply with the directives previously listed. Just saying, exhaustion seems to be a natural by-product of all the efforts taken to be safe.

In the scripture noted above, Isaiah 40:31, the phrase, "to wait on the Lord," means to wait for His help; that is, to trust in Him, to put our hope or confidence in Him. It is applicable to those who are in danger or want, and who look to Him for his merciful interposition. In this particular passage, it refers to those who are suffering a long and grievous captivity (the children of Israel) in Babylon, and who had no prospect of deliverance but in Him. This also applies to all who feel they are weak, feeble, guilty and helpless, and who in view of this put their trust in God. This is not to imply that you simply remain inactive while you wait. You continue to strive as you trust. God's blessing is that your strength will be renewed, revived, becoming strong in faith and able to meet the trials of life. (Barnes Commentary). "Shall mount up with wings of eagles," implies the eagle renewed its plumage (feathers) in extreme old age. For the faithful there is no failure, and faith knows no weariness." (Ellicott's Commentary).

With daily chores completion dwindling, I look where I always do, up. I prayed, but my energy was not instantly restored. "Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1. I reasoned that I had more faith than a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). Why was my energy level still low? I had to go deeper. When you ask, believe that you have received it. I remembered hearing this. "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark11:24.

As I always tell my grandson, "put on your thinking cap." I did just that. My energy level had not budged much even after praying. So I figured that I had to take some steps. Now remember, I did pray first. However, I reached back to what I was taught at one of the women's workshops that I had attended while on a women's retreat. In no way am I disparaging the experience; it's just that you have to decipher what is practical and useful when you attend such events. I digress. The big takeaway was "ACT AS IF." Before you judge or start laughing, there is something to be said for this. In the workshop we were told to act and speak as if we were the successful person that we were planning to be five years in the future. This was fun, and it felt real productive because we dressed up and we were interviewed by the host of the retreat as though we were at the top of our game, with our list of accomplishments. In my case, I spoke as if I had already written and published my novel. This was five years before I actually achieved the goal of publishing my first novel.

Let me interject here. There was no magic. I left the conference feeling inspired, but also realizing that there was work to be done if I was going to finish writing and then publish my novel. It gave me a sense of hope, and I set out to put in motion those things that would make this endeavor come to pass. That is where I had to apply my thinking cap; yes, I believed that I could achieve what I set out to do, but I did not completely buy into that I had already done it. I think it is because the way I was raised. There always had to be a power greater than me that I needed to connect with, plug into, if you will, in order to accomplish my goals. (Philippians 4:13). Making this connection (see Mark 11:24 above), helped me to realize that I could "act as if" because of the assurance that what I asked God for would be received. (I do not need to tell you that you are not going to ask for something out of purely selfish motives that benefit no one but you, neither would or did I). Remember Who you are asking. We are put here to be a blessing to others. At the center of my praying for energy, I somehow fell short on the "believe"and speak (confess with your mouth and believe in your heart) end. I realized that and adjusted.

Now I could get up out of bed and act as though I did not want to stay in there watching my favorite shows all day. Just kidding; I was exhausted doing that anyway. I got up and went through the ritual of the chores and activities that I had half dragged myself through before. I would be dishonest if I said that I leaped for joy each day to do this. But, gradually I realized that rituals lead to accomplishments and that is what is fulfilling and energizing. I was praying for God to give me energy, and He did by showing me that if I just kept trusting, kept moving, kept doing, the energy would rise to meet me at the task. The energy was inside of me all along. It had to be stirred up by movement. Of course, forward, focused movement.

Do not underestimate the capacity to build momentum in your own life; first you need to understand that this is what you want. If you truly desire to do or to become that which you have preferenced in your heart or mind, (having met the first requisite, and that is to believe that you can), say it out loud so that you can hear your commitment, then only YOU can stand in the way. There will always be some needed action on your part. My grandmother once told me a short story and it goes something like this. "There was a man being carried through the town on a stretcher on the way to the burial ground; the man barely hanging on to life because he refused to do anything for himself. As they walked through the town, curious people gathered around, and seeing him in this emaciated condition offered food. The man heard what they were saying and asked, "is it cooked?" The response was, "no." The man said, "carry me on."

Get out of your own way. In the song "Respect Yourself" by the Staple Singers, we hear a line in the lyrics which states, "Just get out of the way, and let the gentlemen do his thing." Stop blocking, get moving. Do your thing! Some suggestions:

1. "ACT AS IF." It seems that I did not embrace this concept entirely, but I do believe that it has merit. The reason this has validity is it affirms that what you are striving for can be achieved. Believing that you have it already, changes your mindset, the way you operate. For example, when you operate from a place of abundance, you will discover that your basket is always refilled. I am speaking personally; when I give (even my last), somehow what I have given is always replenished. Not that this is what I am seeking, but God's word says that if you give in a way that is in accordance with His will, He will pour out a blessing that you will not have room enough to receive. (I am a tither). I think this is why my children think and I do mean "think" that I am wealthy. What they don't know is that I have on occasion split my last dollar with them. God restored. Back to our conversation, by acting as though you have what you have planned for, it generates hope and energy and creates the desire to achieve and leads to the development of concrete steps to enhance what you already have seen as possible. It sounds a little complicated, but it is not. I acted as though my first novel was already written. It sparked a desire in me to get busy to make that come to past. It did and I am thankful. From that sprang short stories and another novel which I have just about completed. Trust me on this one. Acting can manifest in doing.

2. MAKE TIME FOR WHAT YOU SAY YOU WANT. That's right. Set aside time to complete tasks that will bring about the accomplishment of the goal/s that you have set for your life. Procrastination is the thief of time. I am very familiar with this thief. So, you can take my word for it when I tell that to defeat this interloper is by planning and sticking to the plan. Be purposeful and do not overwhelm yourself. Let's say you want to go back to school. Don't overdo it. Take one or two courses at a time or take a course online. If you want to enter the field of writing, commit to writing at least 10-15 minutes each day or every other day. Believe me, when you begin to do this, the time will fly and you will have written longer than the time you had allowed for this task. This is true in everything. If you want to enhance your prayer life, set the time and just do it. Before you know it, it will feel effortless. Procrastination will not win if you make the commitment seamless and without taking up your whole day (well the whole day thinking about what you are avoiding). Had to add a little humor. If you really want to meet a goal, you have to take some action. The good news is that you can control how you design that action. Design it to get you moving. "Nothing to it, but to do it.!"

3. NO EXCUSES PERMITTED! Procrastination and "excuses" are closely related. However, they are a luxury you cannot afford. The excuses of tired, hungry, angry, lazy, not qualified, scared, etc., etc., are not acceptable. You may feel any of these things at any given time. You are to think of them in terms of something that you loathe (if it is an excuse to do nothing). Like my Pastor once said, "You would hate a rabid dog in a school yard full of children." Think of excuses in that way. You will be less inclined to let them rule. You are the one with the ability to make choices. Don't talk yourself out of a choice that can benefit you. Take the time to find out what is really ailing you. For me, I was a victim of covid fatigue, boredom and poor planning. I have taken the necessary measures with regard to covid fatigue (following the usual directives and being thankful that I have not had covid, and that as a nation we are dealing positively with the pandemic). Additionally, I have revised (re-implemented) my planning. Boredom is subsiding and energy is making a comeback. Start right away to "get on the good foot." NO EXCUSES.

This is easy to say, but requires effort to do. But, it is doable. Talk yourself into it and then "Just Do It." (I love that Nike commercial). Alright, do it one day at a time. After thirty days it will become a habit, and you will be so proud of what you have accomplished. I am praying for myself and for you that we can get up, step up, and stay up. This is the only way that we will get through obstacles and do what we value most; live our best/blessed life. Be about it! Be safe.

Yours, Yvette

I would like to thank you again for your support. Your responses to the "Ask Yvette" survey have been very informative. I am looking forward to the start up of this column. You still have a chance to complete this survey by going to my website to the "Ask Yvette" feature and clink onto the survey link. Or you can click onto the link below to complete the survey. It takes only a few minutes to complete. Thank you.

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