Genetically speaking, anxiety and depression and a significant handful of other fun mental issues have a real possibility of showing up in my life.
I grew up watching people I loved suffer with hurts that were deep inside.
Watching was the only thing I could do.
It was on my list of “well, when I grow up, I won’t ever do that!”
The list also included not spanking my kids (spoons don’t count, do they?) not locking them outside (fresh air and sunshine: mandatory, people) and going to all of their school events (but I don’t have to like it).
So when my radar goes off on the fact that I’m suddenly “so tired” and my exercise routine has fallen off, and eating isn’t worth the effort required to walk into the kitchen and stare into the fridge, well, it’s time for my reboot.
Many times, it’s issues outside of myself that trigger a spiral, and I’ve built a great deal of stamina up, keeping life’s stress where it belongs: in the rubbish heap.
But if you see me wearing bright colors and reading funny greeting cards in Target and rearranging my tea cupboard, you are watching me take my medicine.
Please understand: clinically diagnosed depression along with its counterparts should be treated always and immediately. Like any medical issue, medication, physicians, holistic practices, and girlfriends should all be involved.
I am blessed that so far in my life, I have been able to keep depression at bay, but nobody is immune from Pity Parties.
So my blog keeps me well practiced, spinning straw into gold, as I try to remember that life’s worse scenarios not only have silver linings, but, seasoned by a little time, are perfect fodder for turning upside down into comedy.
If you have to choose between laughing and crying, which would you rather?
Because life goes on either way. And I don’t want to miss it.
One of my favorite reboots is a man named Elijah. Every time this prophet in Israel (864 BCE) had an idea, God backed it up.
If Elijah thought it shouldn’t rain for three and a half years, it didn’t.
If Elijah asked fire from heaven to fall and scorch up the top of Mount Carmel, it did.
If Elijah wanted the Jordan River to open wide so he could cross on dry ground, bingo.
The man had a job to do, and he preferred the dramatic, the sarcastic, the maverick and the solitary.
Which worked out fine until an angry queen issued an order for his immediate – and as painful as possible, please – death.
The man went from manic to depressed overnight. He ran out into the wilderness to end it all. And there, he met God.
Sure, I’m skipping all the delicious details for now, because the thing I want to point out is, since God is everywhere…you can find Him anywhere.
Even at the end of your rope.
Here’s a guy who’s just sick to death of everyone not listening to him. He’s tried everything he can think of doing, and instead of making progress, things are going completely south.
Sounds like a typical Thursday.
When I presented my class on 1 Kings 19, I took everyone verse by verse to show how God helps Elijah through his pain and depression and how we can use this model to help each other through it, too.
Being present, compassionate, and patient are key.
And the answer to all things lies in God’s Still Small Voice.
The voice that opened Creation is also the voice that tickles in your ear when you’re very quiet and listening. It alerts you to His presence and insists that you listen for something much, much bigger than your current circumstances.
(Even Ahab proved that a wife who whispered in his ear was more persuasive than fire from heaven. Crazy, but true.)
God reminds Elijah that he is needed yet, because life goes on either way, and you don’t want to miss it.
“We have a future,” He says, “You are My treasure. The lights are going out on the Pity Party and it’s time to try again. And just because you feel all alone, doesn’t mean you are. I have surrounded you with thousands, Elijah, you just can’t see them from where you are standing.”
And so I have replaced my Pity Parties with Tea Parties.
The pretty tea things remind me that I am also a useful treasure on His shelf of “favorite stuff”.
I am gentle and kind and patient with myself and surrounded with kindred spirits.
The Still Small Voice takes over for a while and hugs my hurts until they dissipate.
And like Elijah finally leaving the cave, the light returns to my heart.
And I can go on.