Lately I've been struggling with feeling down; i.e., mild depression.
It's been almost 2 decades since I was last in counseling for clinical depression and that's a God thing, as we like to say. Truly it is.
Part of my "low feelings" have come from trying to live in the future, something that only God can do. Yet, I try. It never works but still, I try.
Along with the mental contortions and emotional gymnastics that come with "future living" in today's grace, come self-recriminations. The shoulda, woulda, coulda, oughta.
I don't know about you but these are legion in my life. Especially when I am down.
I've just finished a women's Bible study that I'm sure is excellent in every way.
But I couldn't process it correctly. The fault entirely is mine. I fully recognize that.
This study has done me some good, changed the way I eat, shop, etc. Not enough - but some.
The truth is that I wrestled with it on several levels and that's not a bad thing. Still, I will be glad to see it come to an end.
This is the deal: I'm not thirty something and my house would fit into one of the walk-in closets that we were invited to enter via the video. I don't and have never owned 300 articles of clothing. (Not bragging - I own twice that many books and had I used a library card more frequently over the past 5 decades, we might not be living in the 'hood in our old age. So, mea culpa. It's just not shoes and clothes).
But the truth is this: I can't grow a garden in my backyard. (We've tried more than once in the past. It's not as easy as it looks). No, the truth is that I don't want to grow a garden in my backyard.
Other truths: I am overweight. I like to shop (in bookstores). I recycle but it's not my passion. It's been donkey's years since I jogged. Still walk for exercise, but don't jog.
Somehow I came out of this study feeling like God could not love me. Because I consume too much food that could go to the third world. Because I never had a huge house from which to downsize so that I could help the third world. Because the idea of growing another garden in our backyard drives me to eat buttered toast (my comfort food) in spades.
Somehow over the past few weeks I subconsciously absorbed the idea that God can't love fat, selfish people. And I am one.
Coupled with some other things we have looming large on our horizon plus the death of our dog, and the several funerals that I've been to lately, I just lost sight of the fact that God doesn't confine His love to skinny, thirty- somethings who have been successful enough to need to downsize before they hit 40 something.
And then I picked up a devotional this morning and saw the words to an old hymn:
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me.
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
Oh Lamb of God I come! I come!
I know that hymn is a call to the lost, the unsaved. I haven't looked at those words in forever. But as soon as I saw them, I remembered hot, sticky evenings sitting in my grandmother's little church, fanning myself with a funeral home fan and trying not to get into trouble - while a small congregation warbled those words over and over, ad infinitum, world without end. Or so it seemed to me back in the days of my childhood.
Today those words arrested me and gave me hope.
The next hymn I saw contained the words, "Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace..." When I got to the refrain, Stayed upon Jehovah hearts are fully blessed - Finding as He promised perfect peace and rest, I started crying.
And I knew...
Somehow I have been "stayed" upon myself. My eating habits, my little house, my spending habits, my garden-less back yard, my incomplete-this-and-lacking-that Christian life. Even my prayer life, try as I have, just hasn't measured up.
This morning, for the nonce, I have decided to come to Jesus just as I am without one plea, but that His blood was shed for me. And I have asked that He would do a miracle and shift my thoughts 180 degrees from self to Him.
One thing more: the last hymn that I read this morning was May the Mind of Christ my Savior Live in Me from Day to Day... If you don't know it, it is a beautiful song. The stanzas include phrases such as: May the word of God dwell richly... May the peace of God my Father...May the love of Jesus fill me... Him exalting, self abasing - this is victory.
What I'm saying is that I got the self-abasing part down pat over the past couple of months - for people who have more than a nodding acquaintance with depression that is easy to do, no matter how carefully a ladies' Bible study is written. But somehow I lost sight of the Him exalting part, the fact that it is His mind, His power, His love, His word that is sufficient for the Christian life here on earth.
And that God, as sacrilegious as it sounds even to me, loves fat, geriatric women who eat processed food.
And my main job is not to grow a garden, although that's a good thing, but... to love Him right back. With all my heart, mind, and strength.
Stayed upon Jehovah...
Today, that is where I want to be...