Depression Sinks In

I’ve written on depression before, and this time is no different. It’s a part of my life I have to deal with.

It starts with just a few negative thoughts. I realize I’m beginning a depression, and I use the ‘tools of the program’ to help. And they do. But the depression gets bigger and deeper and I lose my grip. I’m in a hole and it feels futile to try to get out. At some point I give in and accept my feelings and have to wait for it to pass.

Thankfully, over the years I’ve learned that it does pass. But it takes a while.

I will say that I thought that moving on with my life

In the meantime my thinking is negative and my chest hurt with the pain of it all. I wonder if I live in denial the times I’m not depressed. Maybe this is reality. But I fight that inclination.

Depression isn’t just mental or spiritual, it’s physical too. I don’t go to  the doctor because first, I’m afraid there is no help. Second, I know it will pass. I am not sure a pill can help with this.

I’ve read a lot about people who have had this condition. I’m fortunate that I have the ‘rapid-cycling’ kind of bipolar which means this depression doesn’t go on for months at a time.

I do wonder if it’s fair to bring a person into this. The old tapes play in my head about how it’s all my fault and how the other person tried ‘everything’ to get me out of it. But there’s no getting out of it. There is acceptance.

When I’m low like that,, I don’t have any ideas of anything simple to do like take a walk, clean the bathroom, read a book. Those things seem like trying to lift a thousand pound dumbbell.

The blessing is that  don’t have the inclination to take a drink or a drug. I know those are temporary lifts that don’t lead to a permanent better mood, only a crash following their use to an even lower place. And I do go to meetings.

My mood is better and I have more ideas, so I’m entering into a more jovial phase and I hope to capitalize on it by writing more.

Depression Sinks In

There is a Story of Redemption for All of Us

The more I see people in suffering, the more I’m reminded that we have a God who is a storyteller. He has a story for each of us. I’ve said this again and again, but it’s comforting for me to remind myself of this because then I remember that in the end there is always the greatest story of grace ever told.

While in the middle of these horrible little stories, there is always fear. Fear is when we have doubt that God is going to redeem us. But the bible promises us over and over that he is our Redeemer. Why don’t we believe Him?

Perhaps it’s because the stories are real and they sometimes go the way we are afraid they will go. So the worst happens, we think. But that’s not really true because after the worst happens there is always redemption. Always. God is so creative, we can’t even conceive the ending He has in store.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

That verse is true. So cheer up church. Don’t be sad. And don’t be afraid.

There is a Story of Redemption for All of Us

Saul

I’m really relating to Saul this time through Samuel. He is a character nobody wants to emulate, and I’ve always been hard on him, but this time around I feel a little sorry for him.

The text I’m reading is in 1 Samuel 28. Samuel died and Saul banned all spiritualists and mediums throughout the land. I don’t know why he did this, but my suspicion is that he knew they were wrong, but he was tempted to use them. So he tried to make it impossible.

As an addict, I have thrown away everything I thought was bad at one point or another. I have dumped alcohol down the drain. I have put cigarettes into the garbage disposal. I have given up my credit cards. For whatever purpose……and then that moment of temptation came and I was most ingenious in finding a way to get SOMETHING to satisfy that bad feeling in me.

Saul went to the trouble of totally disguising himself and going to this medium to find the answer he was looking for. He didn’t have to ban mediums in the first place, but he did, and now, in a rather silly fashion he went disguised in the night to ask questions of someone he really knew was not the right person to ask. He was desperate for an answer, and in the end, if you read the text, Samuel did speak to Saul and he told Saul that he should turn to the Lord and not mediums.

The truth is just the truth. I can obsess about something I want to put into my body to make me feel better, and I can put that thing inside me, but it will never be the answer I need. The answer I need is the Lord. A close, personal relationship with the Lord.

I really think people who don’t have cravings and obsessions are fortunate. I have freedom from most of the addictions I have experienced, but I was built with a desire to constantly feel better or different, and the answer to that was to fill those cravings with healthy replacements. Those would be AA meetings, scripture, prayer, exercise, calling a friend and so on. There are many excellent habits that allow me to live life without digging in the trash for something that’s not going to satisfy.

Saul

Flip!

There was  an old movie that is shown a lot on Saturday afternoons called ‘The Cutting Edge.’ (1992) The story centered on 2 ice skaters who hated each other so much, they loved each other. During one scene of the movie, the female began to talk about how things could seems one way and ‘Flip!’ they were another way. ‘Flip!’ she said, throwing herself at him. She was unfortunately drunk at the time and he declined due to the fact that he really loved her. But the term ‘Flip!’ stuck with me. Here is an optical illusion to demonstrate what I’m talking about. It’s easy to see the two separate images: 2 ways The reason I’m demonstrating this, is that life can be that way and I think we do ourselves a huge disservice if we aren’t flexible about things not being the way they seem.

In the book of Samuel, Saul the king spent a lot of time trying to chase David down as an enemy and kill him. He got close to David, went into a cave to relieve himself and David was in the cave. David cut off a piece of his garment, unbeknownst to Saul. He then took it to prove that he was not Saul’s enemy. Upon seeing this Saul was undone. FLIP! This is what Saul said: Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. 17 And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. 18 Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the LORD put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. 19 Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the LORD reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today. 20 And now I realize that you are surely going to be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule. 21 Now swear to me by the LORD that when that happens you will not kill my family and destroy my line of descendants!”

WOW! What  a turn of events and all it took was the hem of a garment. See how life can change? I’ve spent a lot of time being mad at the things my former husband did, but sometimes I have a moment of clarity where I realize that he’s deeply flawed, but not evil. I’ve been able to forgive him by the grace of God, and I’m happy and glad to not have to live the rest of my life in that relationship. I haven’t written a lot about this, but I feel like I’m getting to a place of freedom from forgiveness and bitterness and I don’t require any explanations. What caused my ‘Flip!’? Honestly, falling in love again. I’d like to be the kind of person who could forgive whether circumstances are good or poor, but apparently I’m not yet. I’m in love. I’m happy and hopeful, and happier than I ever have been. So, it’s easy to forgive. I think God will give me lots of opportunity to forgive in the future and perhaps I’ll be more quick about it. It’s certainly freeing.

FLIP!

Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Sa 24:16–21). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. \

Flip!

Being a King

I would say most people would want to be a king. They are the head of everything. They say what is to be done, and what isn’t. Let’s face it….some kings did some crazy ass things (pardon the french). They sought higher and higher honors and ways of being worshiped.

They were constantly in fear of their lives and they worked hard to protect their positions.

In short, it seems to me that the life of a king was full of fear. Fear of losing what they had, and coveting more.

In a way, I’m like that. I fear losing friends, my status (such as it is), my home. I don’t do crazy things like throw spears at those who threaten me the way Saul did, but I have air-conditioning. (Think Jack Nickelson in ‘A Few Good Men’ ‘This fucking heat is making me positively crazy).

Perhaps I wouldn’t like to be a king. The King I have is more than enough for me. Loving, kind, forgiving, giving, and gentle. And he tells me I’m a princess. I don’t have a crown yet, but someday I will, and so will all the people I love (I hope). I won’t have to be afraid of losing that crown or keeping power. I’ll love and serve in the heavenly kingdom doing God’s work, the work he purposed for me to do since before I was conceived.

I hope heaven has a/c.

Being a King

Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

I misunderstood this very often-quoted verse for a very long time. I don’t think I’m the only one to misunderstand.

First, verse 5 is referring to not just a heart understanding but a refrain from intellectual pride or a secular search for God. (1) God wants us to have faith in Him from a place of love and trust. Throughout scripture there are examples of people who were praised for having faith without ‘seeing.’

In all your ways, to acknowledge Him, is to have a personal and ongoing dialogue with the Lord. Prayer and meditation are entirely necessary in order to acknowledge Him. You cannot know His will if you don’t have any conversation with the Lord.

Last year when ‘Prayer’ was my word of the year, I focused on how to pray. There are an unlimited number of ways to pray and honor the Lord. God’s people are nothing if they are not creative, and there are many, many ways to pray. Perhaps I’ll do some posts on it at a future date.

Finally, the part of these verses that really got me off track:  ‘He will make your paths straight.’ It has also been translated ‘He will show you which path to take’ (Living Bible).

That phrase does not mean God makes it easy for us or that things will always go well. It really means that He will make your path more smooth. I think that when I have suffered, the Lord was there smoothing the path for me, but I still had the pain and the problems I had to go through. He was with me. That’s the point.

Worshiping God is the foremost way to communicate with Him. As Tim Keller says ‘The ultimate reason for our misery, however, is that we do not love God supremely.’ (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God).

When I have been in the most pain, invariably my relationship with the Lord has slipped. It is a lack of faith and trust that He wants what’s best for me. When I accept his yoke, things are smoother. My problems aren’t eliminated, but I know what I need to do. That’s the ‘trust in the Lord’ component. My faith grows all the time, and problems seem smaller.

Sometimes you have to go against your feelings and intuition. ‘Leaning not on your own understanding.’ The more I practice this in my life, the better i get at it. But don’t offer me scorn if I falter.

1. Garrett, D. A. (1993). Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of songs (Vol. 14, pp. 80–81). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Trust in the Lord