A theme that God continues to bring to my mind is the importance of engaging in our everyday lives. This sounds simple and should be obvious but I think when we struggle with depression we stop engaging in everyday life.
Depression speaks to me. Sit down, stop, and pull back. It tells me to be alone where I can think, and think and think. It gets me alone where it can do it’s dirty work. It lies to me telling me that my life is over and that God is a liar. He doesn’t help, He doesn’t love, and He doesn’t have a future for me.
Depression blinds me. I can’t see God’s truth, the blessings around me, and any reason to live. It only shows me grief, sadness, and hopelessness. Life is defined according to the depression, and its darkness.
There are no quick verses, or techniques that can get us out of it. It’s something that has to be lived through. It takes a tribe of people, and a tool box full of resources and support to get us through it. It is life changing, life altering, and mind numbing.
Depression annoys our friends, and angers our family. It is seen as a tool to manipulate others. Others are prone to diagnose our depression, and have little patience when we don’t try their cure. But it’s not always that simple, is it?
Engage in Life
At my worst points in depression I still went to work, wrote this blog, attended church, read my Bible, cleaned the house, paid the bills, and got groceries. We traveled to several cities during that time. I read books, bought some clothes, and even exercised.
I trusted in God, most days. Memorized Scripture, talked to trusted advisors, listened to pod casts, prayed, loved my neighbor and sought to serve God.
Yet I did all of this in a vague zombie like state. I was never truly engaged, and the people closest to me knew it. They knew I was just going through the motions. When you go through the motions people get off your back, and you can hide your true sadness and grief.
Today, my journal entry says, ENGAGE IN LIFE. Guess what? This is working. It’s working alongside of the other 20 things I am doing to beat this thing. It is working.
It’s helping to cook a meal out of love for my family, and really engage in that experience. I am getting the serving dishes out, and planning fun meals again.
I am getting out of the house earlier on the weekend. I used to sit at home on Saturday mornings saying I was blogging and studying. No I was depressed and hurting. My safe place is at home in the recliner. I would sit as long as I could. Yesterday I was out of the house by 8:30 a.m. and met family for breakfast. It was a good day.
Today we are by the lake. The water and blue sky minister to me like they always have. I am not sitting here to get away, I am engaging in life again.
We can be sad when we engage in life. Our hearts can grieve. Our heart may be longing for it’s safe place, but if we make ourselves move forward despite our feelings there will be hope for moving away from the darkness and into the light of life.
Here is what I am going to do this week to continue engaging in life:
- Do something fun everyday. I haven’t done this for 3 years. It’s always do what you have to do so you can eventually get back to the recliner. Tomorrow: the gym.
- Think of new things my husband and I can do. He has been so patient with me. He is also ready to live life again. Today the lake, and next weekend? I have a couple days to come up with a new idea.
- Plan next project. We hope to get the house up for sale next year. I just painted one room to prepare for that. The dining room is next. So this week I can start making a plan to get that done.
- Enjoy life. I am not even sure what it means for me to enjoy life. It’s been such a long time, but I am determined to figure it out. Perhaps a new tv show after work, or finding a new activity to do? Hmmm….we shall see.
Engaging in life can be one of several tools we use to get out of depression, or to live through it. There is no one thing that will deliver us from it. Yes, Christ will, but it will most likely be the result of many things. Many prayers, a lot of Bible reading, a lot of support, and a lot of everything.
Consider this week what you can do to engage in life, each day, or help others to.
For His glory, and because of His grace,