Have you ever felt dark inside, where there wasn’t much light shining? Or felt like life was going to always be like this? No change, no moving forward, no movement? Or have you ever felt so hemmed in by negative thoughts and feelings you couldn’t see a way out? Have you ever felt so alone and so shut out by those around you, that you felt like if you disappeared no one notice?
I have. Some people would call it depression, some call it losing your hope, others refer to it as having no drive, but whatever you call it is a real struggle. It’s a struggle that I have fought for most of my life and still do. Some days its so real, I can’t find a smile or a twinkle of hope. Other times its there as a layer that is deep inside like a thorn or a sliver in a spot you can’t reach and no matter how hard you try to reach it there is no getting to it. It isn’t controlling you or affecting you in such a way you can’t function, but it hurts and pokes when you feel weak. And other times, those brief glorious times it is completely gone for a window of time.
It is because of this struggle I am so dependent on 3 things. One is my faith. Without my faith, without the knowledge, the comfort, the strength, the peace and the unsurpassing love of my faith in my God I would be a mess. I would be dependent on alcohol, food, drugs or any other worldly temptation that caught my eye. I depend heavily on my faith to get me through all aspects of my life and am so thankful I have Someone greater than me, Someone greater than any person I’ve ever read about or known, to turn to. And it is my faith that helps me with my struggle of depression the most.
The second thing I am dependent on is my family and friends. Many people don’t know how vital they are to me. How much they encourage, challenge and inspire me when I spend time with them. How their love, acceptance, time, and companionship keep me going. It keeps me willing to face the world instead of hide in my hole of pain. But sadly there is a down side to this part of my dependence. When they reject me, hurt me, leave me out, don’t communicate that thorn rises to my heart and soul and stabs so deeply the pain is overwhelming that I do shut down, I do pull away, I do hide. Because my trust, my heart has been attacked and often I’m too weak to try again.
And lastly (this is a new one for me) I have come to realize I’m dependent on exercise. I know, I know, this sounds like a “health” reason and clinically it is. But for me the exercise, the moving of my body, straining my muscles, sweat poring down my forehead, and neck, the working of my lungs. It does something for me. It helps me to just be, well be me. Not a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an employee, a woman but just human. A human enjoying the gift of mobility from my Lord, to just work my body until there is no longer a care of any type left in my head or heart.
Now back to my main point, specifically the title of this post. Lately, I have been teetering on the brink of my depression, it comes and goes and often when I’m stressed, when Tom is gone, and especially when I’ve been alone alot it comes in stealthily. Well, today the Lord knew I needed a boost. I’ve been alone alot after work and busy with too much to do (mom and job stuff) and to little time, which adds to my stress, plus health issues have added to it. I received 2 breaths, which have helped lift my spirits both ways.
The first one was at our church today, we installed our new senior pastor. Now, I’m not the most devout member of our church, I’m involved and care, but the fact that I’m not a member shows I have my boundaries. Pastor Todd gave an excellent sermon about fresh starts and building our community up. I also felt like he gave an almost subtle message about letting go of past grudges, hurts and dissension. I was impressed by the detail of his message and found it inspiring especially because my heart has been yearning to step back into women’s ministry again and his sermon leads me to believe I would be welcome to do this. It was a definite breath of fresh air that encouraged me.
As to the second one, that helped a deeper spot, one that has been very dark and pokes at me daily for several years. I was faced by it again today, the lack of acceptance/interest to connect, the feeling of being on the outside and the general wariness of expected yet unintentional pain. Thankfully, my negative expectations weren’t completely met, but I still encountered the pokes from that particular thorn. Anyways, I came home, worked on the laundry, cleaned a bit then settled down for some quiet time to do my study while having Indiana Jones playing in the background. In my quiet time I was gently reminded where I need to go and where my focus needs to remain. Because true satisfaction, true peace, true joy and ultimately true connection is through my Lord. I need to keep my blinders on Him and seek out Him as my first source of dependence. Especially when facing potential heartache and disappointment, when facing rejection, when facing that darkness of being alone and weak. He is my Light and my Source. I need to keep that at the forefront of my heart and mind and soul at all times.
So today, those 2 breaths of fresh air came from Him and I am thankful once again for another life-giving breath to face this life He has blessed me with.