Good morning, friends. I have just been looking through my drafts and found this post which was written nearly exactly a year ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t hit the publish button on this one, but I like the way I reflected in this post, so I thought I’d share it with you today. Wishing you all a blessed week xx
At times like this I’m grateful for the gift of writing. Sharing feelings, in the form of words on a page, is a wonderful way of making sense of jumbled thoughts. So thank you, God, for giving me this ability to write. I really cherish it.
I’m struggling a little. It’s not that today hasn’t been fruitful and productive. In fact, I’ve ticked everything off my things-to-do list for today and it’s only 5pm. I do have ongoing things to do that are frequently entering my mind; nothing particularly urgent – books to read, articles to write, scriptures to study, songs to write and record, exercise to do, etc.
Does depression come as a result of unaccomplished tasks? I think to a certain extent it does. I really value peace of mind, and it seems that feeling peace often coincides with having accomplished things. I’m aware that much of the pressure I feel is self-imposed – I don’t have to record songs, or read more books, or do more research. I set myself goals which seem exciting at the moment of inspiration, but then in the executing of those tasks there is a certain weight of self-expectation, which can feel like a cloud hanging over me.
Another factor contributing to this feeling of a cloud hanging over me is the medication I take. It makes me feel subdued. I rarely ever feel excitement and I generally feel inhibited and antisocial due to various side-effects. It’s also a constant worry knowing that I am taking in chemicals that might be damaging my body. I just have to prayerfully trust God about this, and I am immensely grateful that my current medication is so much more tolerable than many of the medications I have taken in the past.
I pray and count my blessings regularly. That’s part of my daily routine. And I find that God always answers my prayers in some way or another. There’s never been a day when I have been unable to count my blessings and see how God has been merciful. Materially, I have everything I need. Everything is just perfect in my flat, and the frustrations from neighbours are relatively minor. I have food and drink, financial stability, warmth and clothing, heating and shelter. How could I possibly complain?
Then again, there are bigger issues that are constantly weighing on my mind. Issues to do with my relationship with Jesus, and the state of my soul. Reading the Bible each day I am constantly convicted by Jesus’ command for us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. I’m not in a position to do that right now, because I’m not theologically convinced of the veracity of the Christian faith. Nevertheless I fear God, and many theologians teach that salvation is a process, and that it can be lost, so I face the fear daily of not knowing whether God is planning to harden my heart, draw me away from Christ, and subsequently make me suffer as a form of punishment. It’s a frightening prospect.
One thing that the experience of turbulent mental health teaches you is that our feelings are not always related to our circumstances. There have been times when my mood has been so high that I felt ecstatic and completely uninhibited for weeks, while at other times, I have been so deeply depressed it has been a struggle to wash, to eat, to work, to live. I don’t believe these feelings reflected my material circumstances at those times. It’s possible to have very little and be happy, or have abundance and be miserable.
God is in control. He is working out a plan for all our lives with great care and attention to detail. All I can do is trust in Him, keep begging Him for mercy, stay focused on matters of faith and spirituality, and keep learning and growing (by His grace). As the song quite rightly says, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. And as the saying goes, you’ve got to keep on keeping on.
I have closed comments, as I’m not wanting to discuss the content of this particular post (it was written some time ago, after all), but you’re always welcome to email me if you’d like to discuss anything or share any thoughts. Also, for a comprehensive overview of my struggle with Christianity, see my essay entitled An Almighty Predicament. God bless you and thank you for reading 💛