I’m just in the winter
~Seasons by Hillsong Worship
Within Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4, we are reminded that, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven," and specifically, "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance." We have a tendency to forget that life has an natural ebb and flow that brings various seasons into our lives. Not everyday is going to be sunshine and roses, but at the same time, not everyday is going to be dark and gloomy. Seasons are necessary for growth when it comes to crops and our spiritual lives.
If I'm to be honest, I'm currently in a season of melancholy. There is no particular cause, and it's very hard to describe to someone who hasn't dealt with this particular circumstance in their life, though I doubt dealing with some trust issues lately has very helpful. In essence, in my attempt to avoid a depression, I ended up over compensating into anxiety, and out of desperation to get that to stop, I believe I shutdown emotionally as a means of self preservation. Charles Spurgeon himself wrote about his own experiences with depression stating, "There is a kind of mental darkness in which you are disturbed, perplexed, worried, troubled - not, perhaps, about anything tangible." It's very much like what Zach Eswibe wrote in his book Spurgeon's Sorrows: "We can finally go numb. It is as if we shut down and feel so much that we feel nothing at all." And to quote Switchfoot, "You want peace but there's war in your head," or more precisely, "I get caught chasing my own illusions. I get so lost in these confusions. I keep on looking for my own solutions." Needless to say, I have become well acquainted with Psalm 42:11, which states, "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God."
I'm sure there are some of you out there who are not well acquainted with depression, anxiety, or melancholy who might ask why I can't just "snap out of it." And I know other well meaning people who would suggest I pray, focus on God as my source of joy, read Scripture, or listen to some uplifting music or sermons. Guess what? I have, and I feel nothing. Like seriously, nothing. I knew this was definitely a problem when I was listening to I Will Be Undignified by Rend Collective and would tap my foot along to the music, but sensed absolutely no enthusiasm. I dare you to listen to that song and not want to just get up and dance, and please do, because I just can't force myself to right now. I exhaust myself daily trying to elicit the proper emotional responses to particular situations. I desire joy and long to feel something at all, whether happiness or sadness. I have my moments where I crack a smile, but that dissipates quickly. I listen to sermons on joy and totally understand and agree where the pastors are coming from, but can't feel. It's the weirdest thing ever, honestly.
Now I know this sounds like an awful experience, and I wouldn't wish it on anybody in my life, but it has been a learning experience for me. It's grounded me in Scripture and I have focused more on my relationship with God, rather than on my relationships with people. In the course of listening to one particular sermon yesterday, I felt rather convicted about my struggle for control in my life. It exposed my lack of trust in people and not thinking the best of them, but more importantly, it exposed my lack of trust in God, which is certainly sinful. He's the Creator of the universe and knows all of the particulars of my life, yet I am still foolish enough to think I know what's best for me. Absolutely ridiculous on my part. So, if you are reading this, please pray for me about this particular area of my life so that I may gain some humility. James 5:16 reminds us, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."
While this current state of melancholy is not exactly what I would like to be dealing with right now, I know that God is using this season to shape me for the future. He knows the reasoning behind it, and that's all that really matters. I know He is still paying attention to me because I got a text from a friend telling me that I'm a blessing to her and others and I have gotten texts from people that I don't normally hear from. One was a picture of my friend's nephew wearing the lederhosen onesie I bought him in Germany and the other was from a friend who I used to do a Bible study with in college when he was going through a difficult time in his life. He texted to thank me for helping him through one of the most spiritually difficult times of his life and for being one of the driving forces to get him to where he is today. That was totally God giving me encouragement through this season and reminding me to not give up hope because He still has work to do through me. I will continue surviving each day for His sake. In the words of Romans 12:12, I will be, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer." This is my season of patient endurance for the faith.
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting
You can see my promise
Even in the winter
Cause You’re the God of greatness
~Seasons by Hillsong Worship