The six-month wall
Last week I read an article written by an aid worker, from Médecins Sans Frontières, about the “six-month wall”. Reflecting on fifteen years’ experience working in epidemic situations lasting more than a year, she talked about the wall that she and nearly all her colleagues hit after six months. The experience varied from person to person: for some, weariness, for others a loss of resilience and hope, and, for others anger expressed in frustration or shortness with colleagues. She didn’t explain why this should happen, she simply observed it did; and that those who kept on going were able to get through the wall and gain renewed energy for their work.
It was encouraging to read what she shared, because I had hit a wall over Covid and the limitations it has set on home, work, and church life. I was irritable (ask Caroline if you don’t believe it!) and, to be honest, I’d lost my sense of purpose and vision (and we know that makes the heart sick). Her story helped me gain a new perspective of hope. What I was feeling was simply part of the process – I wasn’t the only one and there is a way through. Her testimony called me up to keep putting one foot in front of the other. That’s what encouragement does!
Paul, writing to a young Thessalonian church, says “Jesus died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you have been doing.”. The writer to the Hebrews tells us to “encourage one another daily”. As we actively respond to these biblical exhortations by sharing our stories of how God has met with us, answered prayers or simply given us some insight into how we can live well in these times, we will help each other to grow and keep moving forward in Him.
Your story may simply be about how you have got through something, like the lady in the article. Share it with others, friends, neighbours or your life group. And may I encourage you to think about sharing it with the wider church too by sending it to the office or to me at email@example.com so we can include it in the newsletter – we can always edit what you send us if you are worried about the words! Or, if you are feeling brave, you could video yourself telling the story so we can include it in our Sunday meeting as a testimony. Your story will help us all to keep taking one step after another towards God and His purposes for us.
You may already have hit your wall, or maybe you are helping someone else journey through theirs. Wherever you are, be encouraged that this will end, and God desires to draw each of us closer to Him in the midst. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” May this be true for you over the next few weeks!