Yeah, it's been a while. I got busy, trying to get ready to go to London for Thanksgiving, then I stayed busy when I got back...and now I'm busy, getting ready for my next trip - to see Rachel in Indy! I'm excited because it's been reunion-central for me. First, I went to see Katie & Josh in Dallas; 2 weeks later, I saw Missa & Joel in London (and Missa's great parents, too); and now I'm off to see Rachel!!! Now I just need to go to Ohio and see my dad & sister, and I'll be pretty much set. At least for now. :o)
Before I procrastinate any more, here's the blog I've been writing in my head all week:
Anyone who's close to me probably already knows that I struggle with depression, and that there are lots of times that I don't win that struggle. I look back over the past couple years, and there is so much I would have done differently if I hadn't been sunk so deeply into my depression. When I finally realized that I wasn't a "loner" at heart and that I didn't have to use the excuse that "this is how I am", I surprised myself by finding Bethany again. Who would've guessed it would take me so long - I mean, my mom's a psychiatric nurse practitioner, for goodness' sake!
Anyway...this past year or so, I've bounced in and out of depression several times. Each time is a little shorter on the down-side; I figure out faster and faster that I AM depressed and that something needs to change. The things I think are behind my depression: my headaches (chronic pain does not make anyone happy); chemical stuff (I don't know much, but I do know that medicine has its place); life (the ups and downs of life create the ups and downs of my mood).
Stop there for a second. I think adrenaline--or lack of, really--is behind a lot of my depression. I get depressed after big things happen: after I started my wonderful new job, when I graduated last December, during/after that incredibly stressful job with NYLF last summer. And I could feel it coming on again after my trip to London. It didn't help that my jaunt to the Continent ended with such a bang as I made mad dashed through the London and Newark airports to catch planes. (I missed my direct flight from London to Houston on that Sunday, and I spent the rest of the day frantically trying to get home. Doesn't that sound like a Bethany moment?)
BUT adrenaline isn't all. My relationship with God is an enormous part of whether or not I'm depressed. And I have to confess that my relationship with God is pretty up-and-down, just like my mood. It's so easy to get out of the habit of having a "quiet time", and it always coincides with my descent into depression. But, like I said earlier, I'm getting faster and faster at catching myself. Praise the Lord, after a VERY brief detour downwards, I am on the right track again!
On Sunday, I made it all the way to the church parking lot, but I sat there, thinking that I really didn't want to go in. And if I felt so strongly that I shouldn't go, why force myself? So I came back home, curled up on the swing in the backyard, and read my Bible. I needed the alone time with Him. Instead of going through the motions of church, like I probably would have done, I just opened my Bible and let Him speak to me.
And let me tell you, He did! I have never felt more clearly that God was speaking to me through the Word. Ephesians talks all about God's grace, and how our salvation isn't based on us at all, but on God's mercy and His love. Listen to Ephesians 4:16-20 in the Message:
"I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit - not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength - that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, to the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us."
The key for me right now is to live fully, like the passage is saying. To experience Christ's love - how wide, long, deep and high it is! My strength isn't mine; instead, I need to get my strength from God, even if I have to ask for that strength every minute of the day. And God will do things I couldn't even imagine!
And here's my challenge in Ephesians 4:1-3:
"I want you to get out there and walk--better yet, run!-on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline--not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences." (emphasis mine)
That's the challenge God has given me: to walk with Him steadily, not in fits and starts like I have been. I pray that I can pour myself out, be alert to notice differences, and quick to mend my fences.
Thanks for reading and letting me share my heart.