Let me be real with you all.
Some days are just plain foul.
Some days are just going to send you into a tailspin and leave you crying, “do over!!!” to no one in particular, and often to the Father.
No matter what kind of forward stride you think you’ve made with your depression, some days it tries to remind you that it can take you backwards in a heartbeat.
Last week I got real with you all in a FB live and this blog post here, talking about how the Lord doesn’t waste the struggle, but will use it, and I also joined hundreds of thousands of Canadians talking about depression and our stories for #BellLetsTalk Day…
And the worst part is that I could do it all again this week… because although the special media emphasis has past, the depression will continue to wreak havoc.
So story time.
I’m in the kitchen last night starting supper.
This is no small thing. My chronic D had been messing with me all week, corrupting anything I tried to put my mind to, disrupting routine, disabling all the plans.
I was using all my tricks to slow down, to give myself grace, to not take it out on those around me, an exhausting feat since this week was demos and renos and one of my offspring camping out in the main part of the house until she could move back into the space being worked on, and everything underfoot, and… and… and… “breathe Christine!”
And the foggy, distracted, anxious, agitated disconnectedness (real word?) of my dysthymic brain was making the simplest of tasks into minefields of mood-shattering proportions.
Nothing was working.
And now I found myself in the kitchen. If you know my story, you know the kitchen has represented highly-charged moments of anxiety and expectation and failure in the past.
But that’s not an issue anymore. Right?
There I am, fully engaged in just putting ground beef in a pan with onion. Sloppy Joes for dinner. Easy peasy. Simple. Requires very. little. effort.
Very-little-effort is my jam, people. I can do this.
And I’m actually talking in my head to the chronic D. “Just settle down. It’s just supper. No need to hijack this task. BACK DOWN now.”
Or maybe all that was out loud.
And so with what little energy I already could muster, I had tidied a spot in the chaos to work and started browning the meat in my shiny new pan.
The new pan with the tippy lid.
The new pan with the tippy lid that I’m learning can’t be bumped.
The new pan with the tippy lid that I bumped in a moment of distraction and sent a meat-sauce-covered ladle flying across the kitchen spraying everything in it’s wake.
Sauce. Onion. Raw meat.
The current dysthymic-me gave a cry but took a breath. Not the end of the world, girl. Grab that kitchen cloth and paper towel and work fast. Be thankful for kitchen mats which caught most of the chunks and can be shook outside in the snow.
And don’t let the meat burn in the pan with the tippy lid.
All of this was enough to send me over the edge in the past. I would have melted down mentally and emotionally.
Okay. Let me be real.
I would have also hauled off, kicked something, done an ugly cry, slammed a door or two or thrown said pan with the tippy lid before retreating to a dark bed for the whole night.
Have I mentioned a side-symptom of depression is uncontrollable flares of deep anger?
Have I mentioned the tippy lid?
Here’s where it gets super real.
I had just gotten everything clean finally, when I went to pick up the lid to stir the simmering contents, and it slipped.
And gosh but that meaty-sauce-covered ladle has such a graceful arc as it cuts through the air…
Yep. You read right. It happened again.
And this time, I lost it.
I hollered and had a fit. I stomped all the big mats outside with ugly words. I shrilled something about taking up drinking. I slammed the lid across the counter and heard something crack.
It was my sanity. That dumb tippy lid was fine.
And in that moment, no one have blamed me if I had reverted to the old me. But God. He’s been growing and shaping something over the years. And this year, my theme word is commit.
And I huffed a breath and I heard in my heart, “commit this now.”
I had already prayed a thousand times.
Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration.
So I lifted a whiney heart-cry. “Lord, where are You right now? You know I can’t do this today. I’ve been asking You to make sure this doesn’t happen! I’ve been telling You all about this the whole time! You want it? You can have it.”
And okay, so that’s not what what He meant by commit this now…
But why couldn’t He have made Himself real to me before it all went to… well… you know.
But then it hit me.I had been talking to my depression, more than I had been talking to my God. Click To Tweet
I immediately stopped what I was doing. My brain ground to a halt. And I quietly asked Him what to do.
Would you like to know what His words were whispered to my weary heart?
“Let Me be real.”
“I was here for you before the world began. I was here for you before depression even existed. I’m bigger than all your struggles and battles combined. I’m the real rescue you need. I’m the real Life Preserver that carries you to safe waters. I’m where your brain can find healing enough for this moment and every one to come.
So let Me be real right now. Your real “very-present help” in times of trouble. Your shield and your refuge in your weariness. Your very real Perfect Peace if you’ll just stay your mind on Me.”
I had just been reading in Isaiah earlier in the week. I had just been studying chapter 26. And I loved verse 3 so much. Such a soothing promise. And so for Him to speak it to my heart now was a complete balm to my dysthymic soul.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” NLT
I’d had eyes on my depression all week instead of on Him. I’d talked to my depression all week instead of directly to Him. and even more important?
I had lived in my depression all week.
Instead of in Him.
And more than just a soothing promise, this verse is the precursor to why we can trust in a promise like this… if you keep reading it’s because He has made Himself our everlasting ROCK. (verse 4)
This isn’t just some whimsical, flouncy, wish-washy peace, with gooey warm flimsy feelings.This is a living breathing Peace on which you stand! Click To Tweet
I wish I could say this little episode turned me into a angel. People, it took me some time. I came back from the brink slowly. Deliberately. But I did it as He replaced the manic moods with more of Him.
And the peace swamped the chronic D long enough to take back my day. Keeping to His light, staying out of bed and shadowy despair.
Where do you need to stay your mind so you can stand on the Rock of All Peace, today?
Standing in a saucy kitchen?
In the middle of a chronic illness?
In the raging storm of an uncertain future?
On the shaky ground of unemployment?
In the moment of grief over a loved one?
In the pocket of wobbly politics and angry opinion?
There is the Peace Speaker, waiting. That’s your best option. Fix your mind on Him daily, dwell in His refuge from all the ugly and hard, and make room for His peace to be the only ground you find footing on.
He’s whispering to all hearts hungry for something more, asking:
“Will you let Me be real?”
Linking up this week with some fabulous ladies!
Will you click on each hashtag and join us?
Crystal Twaddell at #FreshMarketFriday
Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory
Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragementThursday
Deb Wolf at #FaithNFriends
Brenda Bradford Ottinger at #ChasingCommunity