January 20, 2012

Lead Me to the Rock That is Higher Than I

It's January and right on cue the winter blues have found me. My doctor says I am Vitamin D deficient and gave me a score of 15%. I am not sure what 15% means but I got the impression it wasn't very good. Despite the guidance to take this vitamin twice a day, every day, I have taken two total since December. I know it might help and I am aware of things like osteoporosis but I am still lacking in self-discipline--the type of thing you need to make any type of change in your life. 

This behavior has been in many areas in my life up until very recently. Smaller details became bigger ones. Would I do laundry today or this weekend? How far could I push going to the grocery store before the whole house was up in arms because the refrigerator and cabinets were empty? Would I ever write again? Most importantly, how much would my spirit suffer? My relationship with my Creator?

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2)

During these seasons I find I suffer most from a case of what is wrong with me? Am I bearing any fruit? 

As a homeschooling, college-going mother, I find it so very easy to become withdrawn during these times. Coffee with friends becomes more sparse and spread out. Appointments and events are met with panic and last-minute cancellations. Much like the Vitamin D--I know they are good for me--but oh, that self-discipline! Or lack thereof.  

There are a few benefits to these periods of time--YES, I said benefits! Being the connoisseur of winter depression that I am I can tell you how the story can change for the greater good. You may be thinking wow--there is something fundamentally wrong with her. But hear me out...

There are two types of classes I have detested in my college studies:

1) Spiritual Formation
2) Philosophy

Yes, I realize that in going for dual degrees in Theology and Christian Education both of those classes are necessary and it's almost laughable that I hate them so much. Philosophy is something I hate because I do not think in color I suppose--I am practical, logical, a realist, and if it's right it's right, and if it's wrong it's wrong. 

Relativism blows my mind. 

Philosophy set aside we'll talk about Spiritual Formation. I had never heard this topic until I started attending a Baptist college. In Googling I found the best definition here.

Sounds simple and straight-forward, doesn't it? It's.so.not. Imagine suffering depression because of the winter blues or because you are prone to it--it's something that in most cases a person can't control. Now imagine intentionally seeking it out. That is how Spiritual Formation works for me. 

Wait, she said benefits..

What Spiritual Formation can do:

1) Make you question your beliefs at their bare-bone core
2) Expose the weaknesses in your life
3) Make you question whether or not God is listening in the first place
4) Make you seek Him intentionally when things start to feel unstable

What depression can do:
1) Make you question your beliefs at their bare-bone core
2) Expose the weaknesses in your life
3) Make you question whether or not God is listening in the first place
4) Make you seek Him intentionally when things start to feel unstable

Now to the good stuff. I remember when I was younger my father saying, "you have to hit rock bottom to look up and see Jesus". This made absolutely no sense to me. I could see Jesus in my life without a tragedy. I could feel His work in my heart when life was going great--when my heart was well.. I never understood that phrase until my heart was weak.

Seasonal depression, though long and hard during it's peak, provides opportunity. In the midst of feeling stagnant and unresponsive to everything and everyone around you there is opportunity for raw, emotional prayer. I cannot count the nights I have begged God to make me a better wife, mother, and friend. I cannot count the times I have prayed because fear was getting the better of me. I prayed because I felt overwhelmed and undervalued. There were times I did not pray because the words weren't always there. But He knows my heart and when I am weak He is still strong.

I promised the benefits of depression. When you have climbed the hill:

1) You can be/are spiritually reborn
2) You have a strong testimony to share. Use this testimony. There are too many women who stay quiet for fear of judgment and far too many who feel they are alone. Share your story  with others. Through your experiences you can lift up a sister in Christ. 
3) You can recognize God was there through it all--He never left!

When your spirit is reborn make your relationship with Christ intentional. Try to stay on the path. If you trip, start praying again for strength. He will lead you. He will carry you.

But what about the rest of the family?

They are so important. They need you to be healthy. The truth is that there is no overnight fix... the journey can be so long! Set some time aside to figure out what is doable in your daily life. Do not decide that you will clean the entire house tomorrow because "Rome wasn't built in a day"! This type of impulsiveness can have such a negative impact and lead you squarely back where you started.

A few ways to get back on the horse--you can do as many or as little as you have in you for that day--even if it is only one from the list:
  • Throw food in a crock-pot to prepare for dinner. This provides the satisfaction of not procrastinating and feeling guilty later in the day when you don't feel like cooking. It is two-fold though because you have shown your family love through your actions.
  • Vacuum one room. Choose an area that has high kid traffic. Through picking up legos, cheerios, plastic bits from some toy you can't identify, etc. there is a good chance your tidying up can lead to one fully cleaned room.
  • Get out of the house. It doesn't matter where you go. A walk around the block is a great depression buster. Seriously. 
The most important action you can take is continuing your walk with God--even when you cannot find words. Even when the Bible sits dusty on your shelf. I know it sounds cliche but there is truly a reason for every season. Through the trials you can bless others in ways you never knew possible. Your life can be transformed in ways that lead you closer to Him. And this can happen every single time you hit rock bottom.

I do not know if I will ever commit to Vitamin D every day. I know that sounds both reckless and so simple. But I do know there is light to be found above the darkness that eventually I will find over and over again. More importantly I will be able to reignite my faith when God takes my brokenness and makes me whole again.

Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. (Exodus 33:2)


BeadsbyLex said...

Hi Angela,

I appreciate your post. My best friend is currently dealing with depression and I think she will find this incredibly encouraging. I know that I did. There is a stigma attached to being depressed, especially as a Christian--my friend can't even share her struggle with her mother, with whom she is incredibly close. It breaks my heart.

Thanks for sharing your struggle. It is hard. To push ourselves when there isn't one ounce of willingness left in us. Or to feel like there isn't anything left to live for. But there is!

Feel better! All the things you are doing can only turn out good in the end!


Journey on! by Kelleye said...

Love this Post! I stopped to read it off the feed when I saw Vit. D in the context. I was going to give the heads up about incredible sleepiness part of it- having been prescribed 5000mg daily myself and wow what a difference it finally made after a month.. But I got too interested in your depth of Spiritual formation and Depression comparison and forgot all about the vit D. LOL Thanks for the post!