Maybe it’s because of the sun setting earlier than we are used to; maybe it’s because of the overwhelming memories of family and friends we are no longer close to; maybe it’s because we simply lack enough serotonin in our bodies: Whatever the issue it is at least anecdotally true that the holiday season ushers some into a state of spiritual depression.
Answering why you may feel depressed is not as important as answering how to deal with it. So how can we cope and deal with these feelings that drag us and weigh us down? How can we peek out from under the blanket of “I Don’t Care” and do something meaningful or even just amusing?
Let me suggest a few things. Nothing here is original with me. I don’t have profound and wonder insights. I read books, and others have been profound. I think of 3 books especially that have helped me greatly in this subject. And so I will tell you three things. Today is the first one.
Understand God’s Sovereignty.
It is clear that “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NASB95) You need to grasp that God is in charge of all things, and whether you call God’s in-charge-ness: allowed or ordained, really does not matter much. Either way the events of your life have flowed through the hands of God first. And for some reason (Romans 8:29 tells us part of that reason) God says yes to this depression in your life.
The quicker we embrace this truth the better off we will be. Because the question we should be asking ourselves is: Lord, how do I embrace this darkness you have sent to me so that I might see accomplished in me all that you desire. (I thank Larry Crabb and his book: Finding God for this little nugget)
I suffered a deep darkness about 19-20 years ago, and in the middle of that darkness, God brought Larry Crabb’s book across my desk. I cannot tell you what all he said in that book. I have forgotten most of it. But the one thing that stuck with me all of these years is this: If God is sovereign over all things, then he has brought this darkness to you for a reason. I must embrace the darkness, and I must not shun it because then I am shunning God’s plan for me.
I have been in dark places since then, but I have never fallen quiet as hard as I did 20 years ago. Why? Because when the darkness comes:
- I don’t try to hide from it
- I don’t try to numb it
- I don’t try to make my feelings change.
- I simply embrace what God is doing in my life.
- I wait on his timing to mold my life into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29)
- I wait to see specifically what God wants to do in me.
- I seek to dwell on the cross.
- I pray, or I try to pray.
- And I hold on.
Can I encourage you to see that these feelings you long to change are part of God’s plan for you? Don’t let the feelings get the upper hand and keep you from thinking. Consider the feelings that you can’t seem to shake, like a pathway that God wants you to walk down, and then walk the darkness.