My week started badly. I was in the wrong frame of mind on Monday morning, so negativity swept across my day like a hurricane. It’s destructive, letting yourself travel down the road of despondency. My New Year’s Resolutions – things like ‘see God’s goodness’, ‘keep hopeful’, ‘be thankful’ – seemed to be slipping away as I faced some of the realities of my situation and I felt increasingly lost and confused.
Fortunately, I have some kind family around me and by this morning the small things were no longer lost on me. Things like the flowers Andrew had brought home, a phone-call with my mum, the fact that Andrew’s parents live in walking distance, the books recently downloaded to my Kindle, the hot water in the shower and a warm bed. These small things contain a little magic, I think.
I still had some big problems to face (or at least they seemed big to me) but a book I was reading encouraged me to bring them to God in prayer and then leave them, without trying to fix it all myself. An exercise in trust – but one which brought me immense peace. As I prayed it felt like companionship, and my thoughts wondered to other people and their situations, too. It felt like there is a God with us, not just a God above us, watching us struggle from on high.
The day went along much better. Praying before I had even got out of bed helped me to start the day with far more positivity and peace, doing what I needed to do and trusting God with the rest. Halfway through the day I found my thoughts wandering to my problems again, and I was searching the internet for solutions when I realised I needed to stop. Taking responsibility is good, but not when you are simply clutching at straws and in doing so destroying your own peace of mind. I prayed and my peace returned.
I also spent some time bird watching and walking today. I almost felt guilty, like I should be doing something more ‘important’, but then I realised I was doing something infinitely important. I was taking the time to see God’s goodness. I was spending time getting to know my Father, surrounded by his creation. It felt right and peaceful, slow and eternal.
During my morning prayer time, I found myself making a list of ‘Today’s Hopes’. I was practicing hoping. In the same way that my Small Things thankfulness lists change my perspective on life, my hopefulness list did too. If you, like me, are battling despondency and uncertainty about the year ahead, why not try making some lists of hopes and thanks? It seems cheesy, but they are helping me to find a far more free, full life than I would be experiencing without them…
I suppose there are a few morals to this story but perhaps the clearest is that whatever you are going through, however rubbish your day feels, a problem shared is a problem halved, and the best person to share it with is God.
Some photos from my walk