I’ve struggled nearly all my life with depression–sometimes major, sometimes minor. At different times the solution has been different, varying from medication to lifestyle changes to prayer, but the problem just keeps coming back. Truth is, I think this is a chink in my character. Not a mistake, but rather a flaw I was God-given in order for some perfect purpose. I still don’t understand that purpose, but I trust that God doesn’t make mistakes.
What I also know is that this makes me vulnerable to depression. My spiritual attacks often start here with little whispers: this really sucks… this is really unfair… this is when you crawl into your bed, pull the covers over you, and wait. Wait for what? I don’t know. But I cannot tell you how appealing this will sound to me, day after day. And I cannot also not begin to describe my frustration with having to constantly fight against this pull. When will I have it conquered? When will I be free?
Never. And in heaven. Not the most constructive answers, by the way.
Jen Hatmaker just did a post I really identified with on this very issue. My reaction to it was… doldrum-laden? She made it sound so easy. Like it was just something I checked off my to-do list. And besides, even when the doldrums recede, for me, they’re never really gone. There were those whispers again: it’ll never work… don’t even try.
Truly, going back to my less-than-constructive answers, it won’t work. Not fully. This is a chink of mine. It’s not going away. I may very well fight this battle for the rest of my life. But that’s not a good reason to give up the fight. Doldrums, funks, depressions–they rob me of the best parts of my days, of the life abundant God has for me. I can choose to let them, or I can choose to fight for what I can hold onto.
Giving up is for sissies.
But I’m not strong enough. I know this. I came home, fell to my knees, and poured my frustration before God. I handed the fight over to Him. Lead me in battle, I prayed. And then I waited. Listened. I was a warrior ready for the attack, but instead of fighting on my own, I fight under the command of the Almighty God. I’m not joking: depression should be scared of me.
And I created a list. It didn’t look exactly like Jen Hatmaker’s, and I’m glad for that. Instead, it looked like the following, embarking from a battle plan mentality:
1) Declutter/Organize (gather up clutter into bags and have everyone sort, buy more storage as needed)
2) Get stuff done (set up deadlines for things and stick to them–or else they’re not important and should be junked)
3) Enjoy life! Laugh! Have fun! Throw things away! Breathe! Praise! Fix or Forget!
Yes, it did certainly end up with that many quotation marks. Apparently I was feeling better already.
I can still feel that pull, those whispers. But I’m too busy for them right now. It’s like a breath of fresh air. Yes, it does involve picking up yourself, fighting for yourself, fleeing from the things that get us down. The key for me is knowing that I will never need the strength to do so–I’ve just got to take my orders from the Commander. He’s the one with the big guns anyway, and He’s got all the strength I need. Come to think of it, just coming upon that realization makes my chink seem a little more useful.