Friday, May 21, 2010

Finding the Heart in My Depression

So, I’ve been a little depressed lately. I get this way sometimes. It’s frustrating because there is no reason to be in a bad mood. Life is unchanged and all is good. But no matter how hard I try to talk myself out of it, the darkness still creeps in and sucks the life right out of my happiness. Before I know it, I’m surrounded. I can’t see my way around. The darkness is now my world. When I get this way, I don’t want to be around people. I want to hide in my dark world and let it conquer me for a little while. I know I need to make an effort to let in some light, but I lack the will to do so. All of my effort to live goes into my kids- trying to hide the darkness inside of me from them.
I especially despise the way the darkness conquers me spiritually. I lack the will to pray. I lack the will to be inspired. I lack the will to be happy in God’s presence- to be awed by his awesomeness. I let the darkness smother the fire that usually burns with great fury for my Lord. I surrender to the world and to my humanity. I do not rise to the challenge anymore. And out of my lack of fire, cold hard guilt is born. I hold onto the guilt and let its coldness seep into my world of darkness. Lately, I have noticed that with each new plunge into my dark world, I feel more conquered spiritually. It seems that with every step I take towards the Lord in my moments of happiness, that many more moments are stolen from me in these battles with the darkness. With each new round of depression, I grow guiltier, more sullen and angrier with the life that is taken from me. The turning point to the war being waged in my soul is drawing near. I almost feel as if I may be split in two.

I know that the Lord has not abandoned me in these moments, but rather I have taken a step or two away from the Lord. I have let the darkness cloud the path where I normally walk. That blinding darkness has stolen the prize I normally see at the end of the road and banished the light that illuminates my path to claim it. But now that I have taken these steps away from the light, how do I find my way back? How do I find the light when all I can see is darkness? When depression attacks, my rational is gone. I know with my intellect what makes sense, but my emotions do not reflect any kind of rational thought. I find it very frustrating to be in a place where my emotions have no reason to react the way they do. But I am blessed with a very logical mind. And even though my emotions want to live in the darkness, my mind tells me that there is light- if I ask. All I have to do is call upon it. This choice is my saving grace- as long as I can muster the will to ask.

This time, my journey out of the darkness began with my run at the gym. For the first time since the darkness trapped me, the will to pray arose. Since I wasn’t feeling well, I prayed that the Lord would help me get through my 3 mile run. I ran 7 miles in 75 minutes burning 770 calories. The sevens were his message to me that he is here and cares about what matters to me. My run wasn’t helping anyone but myself and he gave me the ability to go way beyond my expectations.

Soon after, my dear friend invited me to a charismatic prayer meeting which was the last place my guilty, cold, dark world wanted to be. I had been before and I was taken aback by their courage and faith in their prayer. They were very open to the Holy Spirit and proclaimed their experiences as they happened without hesitation or reflection- without all the questioning that usually goes on in my mind when the Lord speaks to my heart. Their courage was amazing to me- something I did not think was in my future to experience. So, I wasn't sure if I should go back. I put it on the shelf of future things I may consider being a part of. However, out of my dark world, I heard the Lord calling me to go. He spoke to me in songs on the radio and in the voice of my child. He made it clear where I was supposed to be on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.. So, reluctantly, I went. During the songs of praise, I had scenes pop into my head. And during their sharing, I knew that I was supposed to share what I saw. The Lord did speak to me like he speaks to them. I am not made to sit and admire, but to participate. My light was turned back on and I could finally see my way out of the darkness. I pray that my courage to walk towards the light will soon follow.

I don’t know if this will be my last battle, or if the war has just begun. I don’t know if the darkness will steal anymore of my light or of my life. I don’t know if I will always come out okay at the end. But I do know that Jesus will never leave my side. That he will always be near me. I may not always see him with the darkness seeps in. I may not always feel his presence when I allow the coldness to envelop me. But I will always know that he will light my candle if I can muster enough will to ask. He is the master of miracles, and in these moments, I feel I am his greatest task. May my experiences of darkness ultimately bring Him glory for this is the purpose for which I am existing.