There is something I have noticed people struggling a lot with this holiday season. Depression…not just a sad disposition, but an all consuming blahness that makes one struggle to move. To feel any kind of motivation to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone. The most troubling thing I have seen with depression is the overwhelming sense of avoidance in faith. Not faith in themselves or their abilities, but faith as in church going, Bible reading, looking for help in his word kind of faith. So, the question no one will ask is…why when my depressions is bad, do I want to avoid anything that has to do with faith?
You would think when you are at your worst, then this is the place you would turn to. Once upon a time that was so true, but the world is changing and so are the people in it. Faith gives us purpose, and a drive to motivate us to do better, feel better, work harder. To push through no matter what. This belief in faith is so false, and I believe it’s the rock in the bottom of the bucket. The reason we avoid God, verses, hymnal, ect when we are at our lowest point. There is a false belief that God and our faith in him require action on our part. This belief causes so much pressure. Pressure to not feel bad, pressure to work harder at being okay, pressure to deal with emotions that are overwhelming and all consuming.
Emotions are already high during this season and adding more pressure seems to overflow our bucket. Our bucket consists of all the things we are juggling. Rocks in our bucket with names on them like work, school, church, parenting, trauma, emotional scars, etc. A pile of rocks that we are constantly juggling to survive In this world. Then add on the rocks of the Christmas season and the events of the world and we are on overload. With that overload the last thing we want to deal with is the pressure Faith adds on. The guilt, the shame of the neglect of it is our tipping point and before we know it we are spirling downward… here comes the agitation, the constant feeling of frustration, the line of negative thoughts and the overwhelming desire to be left alone and not deal with anything…are you with me, or am I the only one that feels this way? So, how does one go from this avoidance to calling out to God for help?
First, is to recognize the misunderstanding of the pressures of your Faith in God. To acknowledge that you may have a core belief about God and faith that is not true. God is a place of refuge in times of trouble, not a master of do’s and don’ts waiting with His arms crossed for you to suck it up and do better. The world and those around us have expectations that line up with this belief, but God says otherwise.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
God says when you are labored and heavy with burdens and cares, come to Him and let Him give you rest. So how does that work? We step back from all that is going on. Take a break from the list of what needs to be done and just sit and rest. Rest until your mind is clear from the list, and your body doesn’t feel pressured to complete anything. When you transition into this frame of mind, your mind will become more clear and the Holy Spirit will be able to guide your steps in a healthier more balanced, God minded path. This path is restful without pressure of everyday life and expectations of others, but their is one ingredient you will still need.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength: Isaiah 26:3-4
Trust. Trust is the one ingredient you can bring to the table. Without trust, your mind cannot rest. Trust that the shopping will get done. Trust that the cookies will get made. Trust that if you put aside a couple traditions this year your kids will not be missing out! Trust that teaching them to stop and rest until the fog of the Holidays clear so you can focus on His peace and His path will be a better tradition that has eternal benefits. Trust that God burdens are easy and light and if you are bogged down with expectations from God, then they are your expectations and not Gods! It will all get done in His time, and by His means! Not by ours. Let go, remove that rock from the bucket and sit back and let God provide the opportunities to arise. You never know what friend or neighbor is already standing at the door with a tray of cookies that you don’t have to make!