It’s been a while since I have visited the pit of depression. But a few years back, I dwelt there, ate there, slept there, and made it my home. I wanted desperately to get out. In fact, I was taking positive steps to get out, like counseling and exercise.
I remember a few weeks where counseling was ultra tough. We had gotten into the icky parts. The places I didn’t want to go. Thankfully, the gym was my escape. Be it yoga class or the elliptical, the physical movement helped ease my emotional pain.
It happened several times. I would get on the elliptical, turn on some worship music, the words and thoughts would hit me just right, and before you know it I was bawling. Pouring tears on the elliptical machine. I didn’t want people to see or hear my awkward breathy sniffles, but I know they did. I tried to suck them in so I wouldn’t be known as that weird girl who emotes regularly on the exercise machines. I mean who’s workout really brings them to tears, other than tears of writhing pain caused by boot camp – but that’s another blog post! I thought I was weird, it felt really weird. I figured I may as well invest in a home gym if I was doomed to life as an emotional tear filled basket case. However, within a few week as I worked through my issues and emotions, the tears on the elliptical passed and I began to feel like a human again.
I share this story with you first of all because looking back on it, it’s kind of funny to me. Second of all, because if you are in a terrible feeling place, a place where the tears don’t stop, and the emotions seem to burry you like a puppy lost under the blankets, I want you to know there is hope. It gets better. And one day you may actually look back on this time in your life and find a few things you can laugh about.
I spent about 2 years stuck in depression, but I realize some of you may have spent much longer. That stubborn cloud over your heart doesn’t want to lift. May I encourage you today not to lose heart. 2 Corninthians 4:16 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
Outwardly we look at the world, we look at our flesh, we look at all our problems, and how every single person we know has likely failed us in one way or another – and it is easy to lose heart. But we don’t have to rely on the outwardly – the flesh. We have an inwardly – a spirit – that is constantly being renewed by and with faith.
Depression, sadness, trauma and turmoil are all hard on our flesh – and let’s face it – they are hard on our soul. But we are not bound to an earthly perspective. Our faith lets us view circumstances from a greater perspective. Our spirit, despite our flesh, is able to be renewed by and in Him day by day. And every day we have a choice to focus on and seek renewal or to focus on the wasting away of the flesh and world around us.
I am not saying you can choose yourself out of depression – sometimes we desperately wish we could – and yet we can’t. What am saying is that we can make choices to seek renewal by praying, seeking His Word (even if that means sleeping on the open pages of our Bible), getting out of the house when we don’t feel like it, exercising even when we may have a good ole blubbery cry on the machine, and talking to other people even when we think no one will understand. This is how we choose renewal – day by day. Your body may waste away, but your spirit doesn’t have to.
Maybe it is time to challenge yourself. What choices can you make today to seek the Lord and the renewal that He offers….