“I’m ready to tell my story of failure. I’m no longer smug in my sin.”
– Psalm 38:18 (MSG)
Last week I shared what I learned this Fall. What I didn’t share was that I’ve been battling depression again after weaning off my medication this summer. Depression digs up the deepest mud and smears it all over your face. In these past few months, my heart was laid bare once again in all its filth and sin and selfishness. Today I offer some lessons depression has taught me this Fall. Despite the difficulty of this season, these lessons have brought me closer to the heart of God and closer to the truth of who I am.
What Depression Taught Me This Fall
I am not who I thought I was.
I want to be more than I am, but I cannot be who I want to be.
I am frail. I am human. I have real limitations.
I saw how I try to make life work for me. I thought I could tame it and squeeze it into a tiny box.
I learned the gap between the way I think things should be and the way they actually are.
I thought I was better than others – thought I was too good for my kids, my family, my real life.
I saw the bully I am, both towards myself and towards the ones I love.
I saw how critical, how unkind I can be.
I saw how I expect God and people and life to serve me.
I saw how lazy I am.
I saw the damage I do and the further damage I am capable of that I pray I never inflict.
I learned what’s it’s like to desire death and oblivion and to think people would be better off without me.
I have learned sorrow.
What I’m Learning From Depression
I’m learning patience and grace.
I’m learning to put one foot in front of the other, even when it feels like there is no hope.
I’m learning to let go of my fantasies and live in the real world.
I’m learning the freedom of frailty and the unconditional love that comes when all you have is filth and ugliness to offer.
I’m learning that God’s refining fire is deeply painful and yet his work indeed makes beautiful things.
Gratitude for All of Depression’s Lessons
Today, as I reflect on what I’ve learned, I feel gratitude. For all of it. It’s a surprising feeling to be sure.
I thank God because though I still walk a slippery path, I also see a new creation He is bringing forth from the ashes. Death can only mean new life and I’m beginning to see that now.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
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