I struggled with bad thoughts for months. A tired body and spirit mixed with an attitude that sizzled with buried anger pointed to trouble. Burnout lingered around my days descending fast. The dreary, bitter winter weather added to my morose mood.
My family slumbered as I traveled the icy roads home after covering a late-running city council meeting. My mind wrestled with thoughts of the task of writing and submitting this story to my editor before I could sleep and how nobody really cared about me. To say I inhabited a bad place just skimmed the deeper issue.
In interactions with others, I hid the inner turmoil, so no one at the meeting suspected my real emotions. At an earlier doctor appointment when asked if I ever felt a deep sadness or other negative emotions, I lied and said no. As far as I could tell, nobody knew of my struggle.
So as I traveled home from the meeting lost in thought, I left the city lights behind. In the dark my headlights showed the sparkle of the wet roads. When I hit a slick patch and the car swung 180 degrees so I now faced the way I had come, all the thoughts fled my mind. I sat there alone in the middle of the road marveling how I had stayed out of the ditch. I decided to go home a different route because the route I intended led along a river race. If I lost control there and ended up in the water, nobody would miss me until morning when the editor wondered where my story was and my husband got up to go to work.
God used that 180 degree flip in the road to get my attention and to start me in a different direction mentally as well as physically. Loud and clear, He said, “See you really do want to live.”
Yes, I really did want to live even though I thought no one cared if I lived or died. Life felt mundane, and I felt so alone and unappreciated.
Maybe you have been in that dark spot. Some people suffer depression; others are in despair. Depression is a condition of feeling sad or despondent. It is also a disorder requiring medical or psychological intervention. Despair is to lose all hope or to be overcome with a sense of futility or defeat (Free Dictionary by Farlex). I believe I suffered the latter.
Hope wavered near empty. Joy disappeared. I don’t know how long it took to climb out of that pit; but one day, I tasted freedom. During this season when many mourn losses, or loneliness intensifies in a season which is supposed to be merry but sometimes isn’t, I want to encourage those who are sad. Hang in there. Seek someone to talk with such as a confidante, a pastor, a doctor. (If you are clinically depressed, please, please seek medical counsel.)
Remember life comes in seasons. Persevere. Look ahead. Don’t give up. Sunnier days shine after the rain and gloom. Despite your melancholy feelings, people love you. It may get worse before it gets better, but better times will come. Most of all, the super God of the universe loves you and has great plans for you. When you seek or pursue God, He blesses you even if you stumble now and then.
Hebrews 10:35-36 says, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
Focus on the positive. Find something to be thankful for every day. Get your eyes off yourself and serve others.
Isaiah 61:1-3 refers to Jesus and how He came to comfort and to give us oil of gladness instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. This is a great reminder for us all because sometimes we forget.
Remember, my beautiful friend, you are loved and you matter.
Photo by Ozark Drones on Unsplash.