Telling myself the truth
My smile hasn't connected with my eyes lately.
I've watched in the mirror as the dullness etched away the spark--the fight--in my eyes over the last weeks. And then it started singing its melancholy lullaby, draping itself over my shoulders and whispering darkness to my heart.
No. I hate that word. I'm scared of that word. I avoided that word.
So the blanket kept encircling. Something was familiar. But what?
It will pass. Just hormones. Just tired. I'm OK.
Tighter. I've felt this before. I don't like it. Why?
"Look to the right and see:
there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for my soul." (Psalm 142:4)
Something is wrong.
Yes. Depression. That's it. That's the weight. That's the dull. That's the disconnected smile. I've fought this before. I don't want to fight it again. But it's either let it wrap and smother, or face it. So I'll look. I'll face it. I'll fight.
It is written that the Lord is near the brokenhearted and binds up wounds (Psalm 147:3). It is written that the Lord is close to the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). It is written that when my spirit faints, the Lord knows my way (Psalm 142). I know from my past battles with depression that He is trustworthy with my feelings...with me. That even in the depths, He is good. He is sovereign.
I also know that naming the problem is the first step to facing it.
Isaiah 50:8 says this:
"He who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who is my adversary?
Let him come near to me."
I'm ready to take it on. Face to face. Replace darkness with truth.
So here I am. And the truth is, I feel depressed.
Looking at my recent past--the grief and transitions faced--I find the root. And with it, shame and blame.
Listening Sunday to a powerful sermon by Jack Napier, based on Genesis 3:7-24, was a necessary catalyst toward telling myself the truth, as I jotted down these questions in my sermon notes: "Is shame why I am shutting down? Is shame why I am hiding from people?"
I'm telling myself the truth now. So yes. I've blamed myself for things I can't change. I've felt ashamed to be associated with things I can't change. I've blamed myself for not doing more. I've felt ashamed of various outcomes. And I've tried to hide from those lows.
Just as Adam and Eve tried to piece together clothes to hide their naked shame, depression weaved itself around mine. But as God called out in the garden, "Where are you?", so He sought me.
"Where are you, Malinda?"
And I'm telling the truth now. "I'm here in the pit, Lord! I didn't want to admit it before, but yes, here I am in the deep, dark pit. My spirit faints within me! Depression is wrapped around me!"
The Seeker knows my way.
"I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, 'You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.'
Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me!
BRING ME OUT OF PRISON, that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me."
Yes, Lord. Please Lord.
"Answer me quickly, O LORD!
My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul." (Psalm 143:7-8)
I feel depressed.
But it's a feeling, not a definition.
Depression doesn't define me.
And I'm telling myself the truth.
I'm ready for battle.
"Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me." (Psalm 144:1-2)
Are you in the clutches of depression right now, or suspect you are? Don't give up. Let's face the truth together. Jesus paid the price to clothe us. He is a perfect Savior. He justifies us. Without Jesus, we live and die in shame. With Jesus, we are covered in righteousness. To Him be honor and glory forever, Amen.
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