I've been blogging a lot lately, which is probably a good thing. I don't know. At least I'm writing something. I haven't been able to do that so much lately.
Depression--particularly the apathetic kind, to which I seem to be prone--is a beast.
I've got a day off today, which is a rare and wonderful thing. I have stuff I should be doing--errands I should be running. I need to go make a bunch of appointments--to see the eye doctor, to see the real doctor, to go get a massage someone was kind enough to buy for me. But I decided to stay in today and just rest, just think about life.
I've been under Spiritual attack a lot lately, whether it's through insecurity or depression or anxiety or a fierce combination of all of those. And mostly, people have been awesome about it. I do get the occasional, "Well, here's a book to show you how to change your life around in ten easy steps," or "Hey, maybe you need to take these 'magic pills' that make you happy," or, perhaps the worst, "What sins have you been committing that have led to your depression and anxiety? God doesn't want us to be depressed or anxious. You must be doing something sinful to cause these problems in your life."
I'm not perfect. I make a lot of mistakes. And honestly, the more I pray through what I'm going through, I think God is showing me how much he's working in and through my imperfections. I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to do everything right.
Right now, I'm struggling to get up in the morning. I'm struggling to do simple tasks like make the coffee (which, ironically, is something that helps me get the day going). I'm struggling to do my preschool planning. I'm struggling to study music for songs I'm learning. I'm struggling to read books, to write--something that has been second nature to me for so long. The prospect of hanging out with friends or chatting over coffee is even something I sort of dread all of the sudden--even though I know I'll enjoy it if I just go DO it. Everything is just suddenly so hard.
And, basically, I know I'm not doing all the things I could be doing. I know I'm not doing all the things I should be doing.
Yet, God is doing so much in the midst of these things in which I'm failing. Just last week, a dear friend and preschool coworker presented me with a gift card for no reason at all. Well, she had a reason. It was something that absolutely astounded me. She gave me a little note with the gift card just thanking me for always having a friendly, encouraging word and a smile for her in the mornings. I didn't even realize I was encouraging her. I come into work most mornings feeling like I'm not doing all I should be doing. But I do remember greeting her on those mornings, talking with her briefly, maybe giving her a hug that I needed more than she did. Apparently, that was HUGE to her. And all I can say is that I didn't really do anything--God did all of that through me.
And I wish I could just focus on little things like that all the time.
I need to confess a sin of pride that is just eating away at me.
It's a pride that is so sneaky that it disguises itself, quite well, as humility. And I have a feeling there will be some song lyrics to come out of that before all of this is over.
The other day, someone me gave me a compliment. Only, I didn't see it as such. I know the person did NOTHING wrong. I wasn't mad at him at all. But what he said was devastating. It shook me so hard that I wanted to retreat back into the turtle shell I've somehow developed as of late.
There are certain vocalists that I don't like. Hearing them sing makes me cringe. And this guy compared my voice to that of a vocalist I really don't like.
He meant nothing by it. He was being nice. But I respect his musical opinion very much. And what he said sent me in a downward spiral like nothing else. The ironic thing was, he also said something about how much he appreciated my humility.
But I wasn't being humble. I was being the opposite of humble.
Because suddenly, I thought that if I sounded like that vocalist I don't like, then it meant I was a horrible singer (something he never said, but my insecurity was shouting at me). I thought that if I was a horrible singer, I shouldn't be singing at all. I thought that if I shouldn't be singing at all, then all the things I thought about myself and had worked towards were worthless. If all the things I thought about myself and had worked towards were worthless, then I was worthless.
Because, as I might have mentioned in previous blogs, I can go from "just fine" to "worst-case-scenario" in less than 60 seconds.
Similar things have happened with my writing. I lost a jump drive with a complete novel on it, one I was editing. I had saved versions of it elsewhere. I KNOW I had saved them in multiple places--including on email accounts so I couldn't lose them, but now I can't find them anywhere. And after all the work I put into that book, I wonder now if the reason I lost it was because God never wanted me to write in the first place. It makes me wonder if all the things I've wanted to do and be are things I was never supposed to do and be. And if that's the case, who in the world am I?
And it really makes it hard for me to want to try again.
It's all pride. It's all me putting trust in myself and in the abilities I was given. And the thing is, those abilities are things God gave me--but they ARE NOT GOD.
And when you put your trust in anything besides God, no matter how good it is, you're sinning.
And that's how I've been sinning lately. That's NOT to say that my sin has CAUSED my anxiety and depression. Rather, God's just good enough to show me things as I'm walking with Him through whatever He's brought me to.
The anxiety and depression and whatever I'm going through are just ways God is showing me how NOT in control I am. I can't despair of the season I'm in. Nor can I will myself out of it, or just "try harder" or any of that nonsense. I know I can't try harder. I've tried to try harder. That's when something else happens to knock the proverbial wind out of my proverbial sails. BECAUSE THIS IS NOT ABOUT MY EFFORTS. It's about God doing what I can't do. And there's a lot that I just CAN'T do.
What I can do, however, is trust.
I can trust that God is using me, as I am--as weak, as imperfect, as broken as I am. He's using me.
I can trust that He is in control. I can trust He's leading me, even when I can't see what's ahead or what He's doing. I can trust that where He's leading is not somewhere He doesn't want me to be. I can trust that where He's leading is to something that is ultimately going to bring Him more glory.
I can trust that He's good. I can trust that He's able. I can trust that He loves me.
I'm scared. I'm afraid.
And I know this is the year of "Do not be afraid, Part Two." I know that God repeated in Scripture, over and over, "Be strong and courageous." I figure He repeated that so much because He knows our fears. Being strong and courageous is part of the battle, part of the struggle.
And there's mercy in the struggle.
So maybe my writing isn't something that I'm supposed to share with the world (I don't think that's the case, actually, but you know, just hypothetically speaking). Maybe my voice isn't the greatest, and maybe my songs aren't a style a lot of people want to hear.
And maybe God is using me anyway. Maybe God is using those talents He gave me anyway. And maybe I need to trust in Him more than in those talents and things that I thought were what made me who I am.
As I told a friend yesterday, "Trust is hard. That's why it's called trust."
It's a one-day-at-a-time sort of thing. All I can do is put one foot in front of the other as He leads.
I'm sharing a song to close this post. It's called "My Salvation" by Mitch McVicker.
"Lord, please change these driftings in my soul,
Cuz I've been fading just trying to grab control...
You're my strength
You're the tune I'm whistling
When I'm afraid.
So now I cling to You when I can't see.
You're my Salvation."