I have been down in the dumps the last several days. Feeling blue. Discouraged. Perhaps even a bit without hope. And yesterday I felt like I needed to apologize to a friend for that. For not having an “up” day.
Wait a minute. Is it not okay to feel “not okay” sometimes? Do I really expect perfection from myself, that I will always be happy and go about my days encouraging others around me? Yep, pretty much.
Depression visits me now and then, but for the most part I am a happy, upbeat person. My heart’s desire is to serve my family, to make others smile, to encourage them to come closer to Jesus, and to know that there is always hope. But when depression sets in for an extended stay (I am so grateful that it is never horribly long – I know I am blessed), I feel positively miserable. Guilt wracks me. I am unkind to my husband. More guilt. I should be happy and ready to minister to others. Guiltier. What is my problem? Why am I feeling blue? I am practically a pastor’s wife now. Guilt upon guilt upon guilt. Bah humbug!
The truth is, sometimes we are simply overwhelmed. Weary from the daily battle of life in this world. Worn. Discouraged. Is that a sin? I don’t think so. I think it is part of being human. I think the danger is when we wallow, when we park for awhile and allow our focus to dwell solely on ourselves. It is when I lash out at my husband, withdraw from those who need me, and set up a tent in pity-party-land that I find myself in trouble.
So God gently reminds me – okay, sometimes He has to thump me upside the head and bring me to a place where I spew all my angry, rotten, sad, sinful faithlessness out – that I need to come to Him. When I am finally confessing to Him (oops, I need to pray more!) and ready to listen, only then can He wash me clean once again and fill me afresh with a healthy dose of Himself.
Sometimes we are simply empty, so busy pouring into others that we are running low for ourselves. Sometimes we allow the gook of this life to build up and drag us down with its “icky icky, yucky yucky” stuff. Sometimes our circumstances are genuinely discouraging and overwhelming. And sometimes it is just a bad day, or week.
No matter what, even on the blue days, I know my God is faithful and true. “…’Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.’ ” ~ Nehemiah 8:10b
“A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the hills–From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” ~ Psalm 121