I didn’t want to get up this morning. I actually wanted to hang a “do not disturb” sign on the door and stay in bed all day. I just wanted to be left alone to do nothing, talk to no one, and not deal with several realities that are going on right now. But I have learned my life doesn’t function really well when I choose to not participate. And would I even feel better or different if I stayed in bed all day? Probably not. In fact I’m pretty certain I would just feel worse.
But I’m blessed! I have a great life. A wonderful husband. Kids who are (at this moment) doing okay. Adorable grandkids. I have a job I love. Friends who care. A supportive Bible study group. Great parents. A beautiful home. A loving church family. I could go on and on. And yet, here I am today, unable to enjoy these amazing blessings. Why?
Death aches the heart. Depression steals joy. Anxiety is a liar.
This morning I asked, “Can I just stay in bed today, Lord? I feel at times the world just needs to stop and pause for my pain and the pain of others.” But it hasn’t stopped yet for any of us. It keeps spinning. Life goes on and right now I don’t want to “go on” with it.
I did get up this morning. I showered, got dressed, drank coffee and made myself go to work. Through the morning routine, I prayed. Not deep thoughtful prayers, but prayers of a tired weary soul who wants to give up. Who, some days, (dare I say) wants to lay down and die.
I feel selfish having such a pity party. I feel sad for wanting to give up. I feel guilty for not being joyful. I don’t want to feel this way. This is not something I have chosen nor something I can just snap out of. This is depression and just because I love Jesus doesn’t mean I don’t get depressed.
I feel robbed and cheated by depression and anxiety. Robbed of who I am. Robbed of who I want to be. Robbed of peace. Robbed of joy. This is where I am and what I wrestle with. And I share because you may wrestle with it too. If you do, then you know it’s a dark, heavy and lonely place to be. And you may also know the guilt and shame that comes with being in this dark place. I think that’s what keeps so many of us quiet and to ourselves. We feel ashamed for feeling the way we do.
What does a child of God do when they find themselves in this place? Here’s what I do. I run to Jesus, but it actually feels more like a death crawl to Jesus. I hide myself in Him, for He is a safe friend. I read His Word and remind myself of His promises. I press on, doing the next right thing. I get help when I need it (so important!) I reach out to a couple trusted friends who understand and encourage me. And most of all, I remind myself that although it feels hopeless, it’s really not. My feelings are worth examining, but they are not always reliable. You know what is reliable? God and His promises. He has not forsaken me and He won’t ever. He sees me and He understands. When I get beat down, He helps me up. He bends low to listen and puts my tears in a bottle. My hope is not in me and my mixed up self. My hope is in the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Isaiah 43:2-3 (KJV)
Some get to know God through love and peace. Some get to know God through storms and trials. Some get to know God through miracles. Some get to know God through loneliness. Some get to know God through the Word. Some get to know God through great loss. Some get to know God through their parents. Some get to know God through their children. Some get to know God in prison. Some get to know God through desperation. Some get to know God through serenity. Some get to know God through a preacher. Some get to know God through depression. Some get to know God through anxiety. Some get to know God through friends. Some get to know God through disease. Some get to know God through death.
I’m getting to know my God more and more each day. His grace really is sufficient. I’m holding on to Him, trusting that in His time and way, He makes all things beautiful.