Have you felt the “January blues”? I told myself last year, that I’d go to an island “next year” for the month of January. But alas, here I am, feeling blue and very much not on an island.
I’ve noticed this repeated pattern of feeling “low” for the last few January’s. I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out what the combination is for me, but I’m certain I’m not alone in this, nor is this just a “January” problem for many.
You’ve heard me say before that “I want to flourish”. In fact, I even gave my blog the name! But flourishing doesn’t mean that you always feel good or that everything goes well for you.
In the verse at the top of my blog, you’ll see that the godly will flourish… and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. As I’ve pondered this verse again this week, I remembered that these trees take time to grow and they weather many different seasons. Sometimes, the wind blows and the more immature tree is sure she’ll never make it. Some days, the rains come and this growing tree feels wet, gray, and maybe even a little sad. But then, there are days where the sun shines in all its grandeur and she feels vibrant and healthy again. As the cycle continues in the tree’s life, she grows stronger. But in order to do so, she needs to brave the elements, however harsh they are. It’s then, that she grows and matures.
That analogy is for the Christian, because as we grow, we also go through seasons. Some are wonderful and others are just more difficult. With that in mind, I thought I’d share some personal ways that I work through the “blues”:
1. Cry. Yes, that’s right. I cry. I’m a “feeler” by nature and crying has always helped me to rid the “balloon is about to pop” feeling. If I ignore a “good cry”, I’ll spend the rest of the week crying about ridiculous things and hiding my tears in front of others. Some call this weak, I call this wiring.
2. Talk or write it out. Depending on the way God has made you, you immediately chose one of those. The other day, as I tearfully shared my heart, I felt a 20 pound burden lift off my chest. God, bless my husband as he was the unfortunate victim who listened. Find a friend, a sister, your husband, mom or a Christian counselor, but do process through your feelings. They are valid, regardless of what they are, because they are yours. And, if you’re a writer, you’ve probably filled pages of books that could write a story of healing. Find someone who will listen well and speak God’s truth back to you when appropriate.
3. Talk to the Lord. While people can be helpful, because you can see and hear their responses, there is no one that knows your heart like the Lord. He is not afraid of your questions, doubts or anger. He longs to be the one that speaks directly into the places you never wanted to voice or put on paper. In these times of despair or sadness, I have said things to Him that I wouldn’t say to anyone else. However, He doesn’t change, even when life around me does. Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you. Psalm 55:22a
4. Read scripture. It’s not a trite answer, it’s your saving grace! The words nearly leap off the page into my weary heart sometimes. And on the days that they don’t, and I really need to hear a word, I ask desperately. Imagine desperation with me: “You said you’d never leave me or forsake me. So, I seriously need to hear from you. Show me sin or disobedience that hinders you speaking, because I need YOU.” God is faithful and He speaks through His word. You don’t have to wait for writing on a wall, you need the revelation He has already given you in scripture. Read it!!
5. Rest. Do you ever wonder if you’re depressed? Feeling so low for a period of days or weeks that you begin to believe something must be wrong with you? As I’ve watched friends express this feeling, I can help now, because I’ve come to identify this pattern in my own life. Almost every time that I begin to feel like the “sky is falling” it is because I.am.so.tired. and I need rest. So I must get some! I do this now, by unplugging from anything that isn’t 100% necessary and I go to bed early for a time. I allow myself to sleep in until a child is standing at my bed, freakishly close, and asking for breakfast. It’s not going to hurt anyone for Mom to get some extra rest. In fact, it’s probably going to hurt a lot of people if you don’t. You must choose this for yourself. It’s Biblical to rest and it’s necessary. In time, you will hopefully feel refreshed and ready to conquer the world again. If not, go see your doctor for additional help.
6. Exercise. Nothing clears my head quite like a good run or workout. If you’ve been going about your day feeling sluggish, get out and move your body!!
Come back later this week as I’ll be sharing a favorite passage of scripture regarding depression and rest. Its simple truths have regularly fueled my exhausted soul.
I want to flourish and I believe you do too! So, I hope that in sharing, you’ve been encouraged today!