Mama said…but so did He.
He said there’d be days like this, an inevitability in this life: “In this world you will have trouble.”
…But He also said, “[T]ake heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)
He has surely overcome the world…but He wasn’t kidding about the trouble. E-v-e-r-y day.
Every day there’s a choice I have to make, sometimes repeatedly, after tripping falls into darkness; dips into despair.
Will I succumb, or surmount? Will I fall prey, or climb my way out?
Chemical depression has hung around, a cloud over my head since I was 20. It relocated briefly for a time, granting me clear-skied respite, but eventually circled right back like a bad dream.
Since I’m high functioning, many would never know; I know, because they’ve told me. But behind my smile a war wages–for my mind. For my very self–my vibrancy, my productivity, my joy. It attempts daily to suck the life out of me; to render me deflated, useless.
Because right-minded; whole, I pose a threat. To the one who loves drawing curtains of despair on God’s beloved.
The enemy’s formidable, it’s true; he uses my Achille’s heel to his sinister advantage everyday. But God’s allowed my affliction, using it mightily in my life and in the lives of others; even granting medication to balance me out. The Almighty always gets the last laugh.
But there are still days like He said there’d be; days I struggle just to do the things; ANYthing…
…Some days, I shudder to think what the Proverbs 31 woman would think of me, worn in spirit and body, wearing weakness like a skin. Some days in the face of all my failings, she’s the last one I think I resemble.
Some days in my waking moments, I admit defeat before I’ve even begun, the prospect of doing it all, all over again daunting; demoralizing. I tumble out of bed fourth-heartedly and onto the floor to face a shaming mirror, the supposed truth-teller. And as it lies, I sigh.
But He said, “My mercies ‘are new every morning.’ ” Lamentations 3:23 ESV; “Rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 NIV
Some days in my closet I scoff at the very prospect–of the strength and dignity the Wife of Noble Character wears. And I pull on the only thing I feel I can muster: sweats. I feel like the homely mama duck, dowdy in browns, as my handsome mallard preps for work, all verdant and proud.
But He said, “Cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:12, ESV; “I give you ‘the garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness’.” Isaiah 61:3, NKJV
A mind game it is, me the enemy’s pawn; I know it. So why do I play at his sinister game? God says, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10, NKJV
But some days, joy comes slow. The 31 woman can laugh at the days to come. But some days, my frown is a fixture. Instead of casting off the works of darkness, I wear heaviness like a cloak, failing to trade up for the armor of light that’s mine for the taking.
And so I’m faced with a choice, right there in the waking hours, beneath the dark cloud looming, despair pooling about my feet, threatening to rise and overtake me…
My choice is JOY. I get with God, there in my hard place, and I surmount. Jesus is the Answer; His joy, the key to abundant life.
“Protect me, God, for I take refuge in You. I said to Yahweh, ‘You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides you’… Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I will praise the Lord who counsels me—even at night my conscience instructs me. I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely. For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your faithful one to see decay. You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.”
Psalm 16: 1-2, 5-11, HCSB
In His presence is abundant joy. So despite my mindset, despite my failing feelings, I can be ok. I can push through my clouds into His presence. And as gratitude grounds me, joy propels my cemented feet forward into my day.
In His strength, I can do this. And so, my friend, can you.