Kathryn shares some encouragement with us around what to do when life is feeling too big for us.
How do you feel when you come back from a weekend of training and equipping? Do you return exhilarated by the plans you’ve made and all the things you’re now going to do?
I recently returned from such an event and I did not come back filled with hope, passion and ambition for the next year here in Dundee.
Now, let’s be clear – the weekend I was at was incredible. Filled with amazing people and times of connecting with like-minded leaders in 24-7 Prayer from all across Europe, which was poignant on such a significant day as this past Friday was. We had teaching from wise leaders who have gone before us. We ate great food and spent time sharing our stories around the table. We sat with our teams, both reflecting on the past and dreaming for the future.
But when I got home it wasn’t the usual exhaustion I have when I go to such events. Spending a night curled in bed watching Taylor Swift’s new documentary on Netflix wasn’t going to fix the kind of weary I recognised in myself.
If I’m being honest, it wasn’t physical exhaustion at all – but rather a hopelessness. Hopelessness at the scale of what God has placed on my heart. Hopelessness that everything is too big, too far gone, too dark for light to break into. Asking God questions of “what difference can I make?”
By chance I was working from home the day after I returned from this training weekend and so I went for a walk up Dundee Law on my lunch break to clear my head, take in the panoramic view of the city and talk to God.
I stood at the top and, though it was bright and dry for once, it was blowing a gale. So much so that I was forced to stop, plant my feet and lean against the wall of the viewpoint.
So how do we stand when we feel like we are being knocked down?
As I leaned on the wall, gazing out over the city and the Firth of Tay, between gusts of the piercing cold wind, I realised that I have to lean on God. When I’m not leaning into him, remembering that he’s bigger than me, my worries, and my doubts, it’s no wonder I’m left feeling depleted and hopeless.
Leaning against the wall meant I had a support. I was better equipped to withstand the wind. Yes some gusts hit me harder than others, as too shall the challenges of life, but I swayed and was resilient to the punches. I wasn’t knocked down.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2
As I stood, I noticed where the sun hit the city, lingering on the hills of Fife, and the way the river glistened as it crossed under the Tay Bridge. Choosing to see the beauty.
We need to share our stories, the stories of what God is doing. We need to share the beautiful – and we equally need to share the difficult times. It helps to build our faith, it helps when life gets tough.
So what are you going to do the next time life blows a hooley?
Lean in to God, rest on him.
Share your story and seek the stories of others.
Then we may all stand a little taller and be a little stronger for whatever comes our way next.
Kathryn Ritchie is part of the 24-7 Prayer Scotland Team where she helps to bring clarity and definition. She is also part of the Dundee Prayer Space community where she lives – and where we will be holding our annual 24-7 Prayer Scotland Gathering on the 22 February! Kathryn is passionate about Scotland and a good cup of tea!