Focus: Choosing change for the better
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (KJV) A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…
Have you ever thought about whether depression might be a habit? When depression itself has hung on for an awful long time, it’s hard to remember what it was like to feel otherwise. But besides general and ongoing depression, there are certain times of the year, when depression can be harder to fight.
It might not be the same for everyone, but it can be a struggle to get through a time of the year when we may have gone through particularly hard things in the past. It seems like when that time of year comes around, memories come flooding back that make it difficult to shake off the gloom during that season.
For years and years, I have had to go through the motions from Thanksgiving all the way through the Christmas season. While people around me are decorating their homes, shopping, and planning—I am having a hard time doing anything about it.
With that problem, it always gets to the point where it all comes crashing down at the last minute and I finally have no choice but to pull it all together. Exhausted from the intensity of how much has to be accomplished the last few days and especially the night before…by Christmas, I am usually a zombie.
I was thinking about that whole thing today and contemplating what a stronghold painful memories can have over our moods and our ability to be happy. As I was thinking about it, I recalled many valid reasons why I could fall into a slump year after year, and just allow myself to go on forever in the same habit.
I have to admit it never occurred to me that the ‘holiday blues’ was something I could pray about and ask God to change. But, today I had the smallest thought that I guessed it was something I might as well ask God to help me with…so I prayed a simple prayer…something to the effect of, “it would be nice not to have to feel like this every year.”
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I was pretty surprised when almost immediately, I started feeling ‘lighter’. I was aware of a new sense of motivation and optimism inside of me. I found myself feeling hopeful that maybe things could be different than they usually are.
I actually think the change started last night, when I felt in my heart that the Lord was trying to help me get started on some preparations that I don’t normally do until the very last minute. Getting some of those things out of the way ‘earlier that usual’, gave me some freedom today that helped open my mind.
This year, we aren’t doing as much as we usually do, and I think that is having a positive effect, too. As in other areas of our life, we are trying to simplify and not be as driven by our past pattern of ‘excess’. I have felt released from the bondage that I have to try to make every year better than the year before. Could it be that I was somehow trying to compensate for my own lack of enthusiasm?
These are hard realities to face…but it’s a good thing to do.
We aren’t obligated to grieve forever…no matter what it is we are grieving about. The Word of God says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV)
Some grief is hard to part with, for the fact that we feel the act of grieving is our last connection to the loss we experienced. Letting go of grief is letting go of some of the loss.
Sometimes we may be ready to move on, but feel obligated to continue grieving for other people…or we wonder what other people will think if we are finally able to lay our grief to rest and start moving forward.
No doubt about it, depression and grief are very complex.
You might be in a place of habitual depression right now, too. Whether consciously, or unconsciously—you may be filled with a heaviness that God doesn’t require of you. He stands ready to release you—as soon as you are able to release yourself. Freedom is available…but being free is something you much choose.
Declaration: I will find new strength by choosing to break the habit of depression. It will be a change for the better.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.