Yes, it's Monday. But school's out. Office is closed. Work can wait for another day. This a moment to savour. Freedom beckons.
And they rise (hopefully at a time of their choosing) to face a day with choices, potential and liberty from the norm.
A day awaits to spend time with the family and loved ones, or to pursue interests, hobbies, chosen activities instead of facing the daily grind.
Or maybe just an opportunity to sleep more, rest, relax, and be still for a while.
What if that understandable 'Monday morning feeling' of being low and blue is still there? What if it never really leaves us?
Sometimes, holiday times can magnify our innate misery as we expect to feel better than we do. How can we feel so bad when this is meant to be a period of relaxation?
With less focus on the mundane, with inability to lose ourselves in the everyday toil, with expectation of enjoyment heaped upon us, we may recoil and remember all that disturbs our days and haunts our nights.
Life challenges and stretches us in numerous ways.
We can feel pulled taut as elastic.
Unwinding feels more like pinging and stinging in all directions.
Discouragement rises as we reflect on our days, achievements (or the lack of them), all that fazes and disappoints, all that we struggle with and try to swallow down.
I've had a lot of moments like that recently as hopes, plans and expectations for the Summer months have been eclipsed by the reality of hitting rock bottom in health, strength and energy.
And the August Bank Holiday is a stark reminder that Summer is almost at an end. Autumn stands hovering at the threshold and Winter will creep in without much warning.
With M.E and arthritis symptoms increasing, and pain ever present, it has been all too easy to slide into discouragement, sadness and defeat whenever I compare my inabilities with my desires.
In times like that I forget the tiny steps forward and the ways God is blessing me in other areas of my life.
Progress isn't always a measurable, quantifiable thing, especially not in the spiritual realm. So much is hidden, waiting to be revealed in God's timing.
And that's a familiar trap for many. Maybe you too? With physical and/or emotional burdens and life's challenges multiplying, we can forget the steps forward we have already taken.
Then we fall into making comparisons with others or with our own (as yet unfulfilled) hopes and dreams.
We live with a world view of accomplishments, achievements and success that only succeeds in sucking the life out of us as we struggle to fit the mould.
This a surefire way for the enemy of our souls to attempt to render us ineffective, worn out, weary and burnt out.
Here, I present a poetic depiction of those feelings in sympathy and empathy for all who may have been or currently are in this position.
As you read and reflect, please feel free to share your thoughts and leave a prayer request if you would like to.
In lifting one another in prayer we can offer great support and encouragement.
A lonely tent
'Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God' ~ Psalm 42:5
Discouragement is a place where I dwell and
know all of its distinguishing features so well.
Walls papered over with disappearing dreams,
unmet goals, dashed hopes and failed schemes.
As I sit within its suffocating frame, low
deep in my soul sit defeat, sorrow and shame.
No-one can stand here strong, tall as tree
for all is brokenness, sadness, no taste of victory.
Instead,we lie drooping with disappointment, having
nothing to raise head or spirit when bowed with discontent.
Everything dark, dim, blurred and grim
with senses heightened only to pain within.
Despair and depression hover close by, seeking
admittance to steal, kill and destroy.
And our gloom sits heavy as stone when this
place feels familiar like a second home.
A room with no view, no brightness, no light,
where we cower a while, out of reach, out of sight
of all that's good, warm and familiar, our eyes unable
to see beyond broken hopes as we drown in worry and fear.
Where is the Door?
Where is the Light?
Where is The Way?
An escape from this continual night.
Until a Hand reaches out to hold our own
saying, “Child, this place is not your permanent home.
Come with Me. Open your mind and heart to receive
My Love and the guidance My Word will impart.
And a chink appears as our armour slips and a cry
of recognition falls from our lips as we stumble
and fumble our way through the dark, looking for
The Light and The Way to walk
knowing deep down as we take God's hand
that His home is where we really belong
and can stand strong against the discontent
that pulls us down with anguished heart and furrowed frown.
Closing the door on discouragement for now, we rise
to face the day away from this lonely tent
with faith that this too will pass and this place
we visit will become history at last.
Please remember, you are not alone.
You don't have to suffer in silence.
Help is at hand for all of us.
God is only a breath, a prayer away.
And, hard as it might be to believe right now, we can rest in the knowledge that 'This too shall pass'.
Our circumstances may not improve, but we can learn how to react to them in a more positive, less self-defeating way.
"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken" ~ Psalm 62:1-2