Please help me welcome Helen Kerr, my English friend who lives in Scotland. Helen and I connected through Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love book launch team. Yes another FTL sister. There are many and I couldn’t be more grateful. This little red book has made some connections like none of us could have ever imagined. Helen lives in Scotland. Those who know me know my heart for travel and adventure. I hope to make it to Helen’s home for coffee one day but until then, I warmly welcome her heart here at EPFH. Sit down and have coffee with us as you read. (Be sure to go read more of Helen’s writings at Home-Spun Hearts.)
How We Grow When Growing Is Just Plain Hard, by Helen Kerr
Sometimes I slump. Not just for an hour or two in front of the TV, but really slump. For days, weeks at a time. The weather is bleak and relentless, the days are short and dark and the nights are long and bitten by rain and howling gales.
Stepping outside is a chore. A momentous effort that brings with it gritted teeth and a furrowed brow. The wind near pulls the car door clean off and I sit and shiver with irritation from the cold sleety rain.
Sadness lingers like a half-wanted friend and pokes holes in every lining that has even the faintest glitter of silver.
Motivation has gone. A ghost of a whisper of a memory. What does it even feel like to be motivated? To have that get-up-and-go? To enter the day with bravery and courage and sparkle? Where are those friends when you need them most?
And there you are. Stuck in the slump again. You manage the days by some weakly mustered force of will and they pass. And the weeks pass and the months pass. Tempus fugit.
Have you ever felt like this? Maybe you get year-round good weather, but you still feel the slump. The rut is deep and you’re stuck hard. No climbing equipment to get yourself out – I mean, you haven’t even got enough effort or willpower to even try.
And somewhere, deep in your veins, you’re sighing hard because you know this is not God’s plan for you. You know that He isn’t wanting listless days for you that lack passion and fervour. That are empty of all vigour and purpose. That are pointless drips of life that swimmingly blur one to the other.
So how do we grow? How do you pull yourself up? How do we find strength and motivation when they seem to be former allies who have fled to the hills?
Look at what David said in Psalm 28.
1. We call and we cry and we lift our hands (verses 1-2)
To you, Lord, I call;
you are my Rock,
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.
We do not have to sit in shaking silence with vain hope that our God can hear us. David called to the Lord, he cried for mercy. He was not silent! We can vocalise our hurt, our distress, our sadness, our pain. And we can be sure he hears us.
We can call on Him for help – but what else did David do?
He praised God.
He lifted his hands.
How does our mood change when we turn our attentions to the Lord?
When we sit, even in our most feeble state, when we are empty of strength and life, we can turn to the One who sees and knows all our pain and sadness.
2. We praise and we know and we trust (verses 6-7)
Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
When we praise God, we remember who He is and what He has done.
Our focus shifts.
Our pain might not disappear; our weariness will not always flee in an instant.
But our perspective changes.
When we have no strength, He is our strength.
When we have no recourse for the battle we are in, He is our shield.
When we empty ourselves of our woes, we fill ourselves with His truth.
And the result? David said his heart leapt for joy.
Where we can see none, it can come. Not in outward things, in the fluff and bubble of life, but inside…deep inside. In our hearts, we can have joy that comes when we are all out and God is all in.
Yeah, growing can he hard. Painful. Maybe not even always desirable.
But join me, won’t you? Join me getting out of the slump and into the joy.
Join me in praising the One who can be our strength when we have none. Our warrior when we are weak. Our shield when we are defenceless. And our joy in the hardest places.
Grace and Love
Helen is a wife, mama and high school English teacher, currently residing in the windy North Atlantic on a far-flung Scottish island called Shetland. She loves coffee, reading, baking and blogs over at Home-Spun Hearts.