A few weeks ago, I had a period of melancholy. What I mean by this is that I just felt down…blah.
It could have been biological (hormones, that time of the month, etc.). It could have been circumstantial (stress, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, etc.). It could have been personality (I admit, I tend to be melancholy, which I’ve always attributed to my “artist” temperament). It could have been emotions.
Regardless of the “why,” I just felt like I was walking with a grey cloud over my head…for days.
I couldn’t shake it off. I tried to make myself feel more motivated, happier, purposeful. I went to spin class every day to ride the high of endorphins; looked at pictures of my kids to remind myself of the blessings I’ve received; tried to be driven with my long list of tasks and to-dos; hung out with friends.
But the cloud remained.
Then Damon said to me, “YM, if you really think about it, there is really no reason to be glum. Stop looking at yourself and think about the gospel. God has blessed you greatly, in your circumstances, and even more so, in Christ. Stop listening to yourself, but instead preach to yourself. ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’” (OK, I’m paraphrasing here, because Damon would never say the word “glum,” but you get the point.:))
As I thought about the gospel and the blessings I have in Christ, and even the circumstantial and material blessings I have, I saw clearly that there is no reason for me to feel glum. In fact there is greater reason for joy. And I had to intentionally keep saying this truth to myself, in faith, knowing that he would help me in my melancholy.
The cause of my glumness could have been any one of the valid reasons listed above, but in Christ, I could be delivered from that grey cloud and have true joy. Not a superficial, slap-a-smile-on-my-face, “happy” facade but a real, deep joy that is based on what Christ has done for me and the hope of heaven that exists because of what he has done for me.
Yet so often, rather than reminding myself (by preaching to myself) of the joys I have in the gospel, I succumb to those feelings, emotions, circumstances – and end up residing in the all too-familiar domain of melancholy. I choose to believe in the lie that this world is all there is for me, that the seen is more significant than the unseen, rather than clinging to the hope of heaven, to that which is not seen.
What are you struggling with these days? Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Defeated? Just surviving each day as it comes? Or maybe you have grown all too comfortable in this world that is seen and have neglected your responsibilities as a citizen of heaven. Or maybe, like me, you feel down, blah, apathetic. Do you lack joy?
Without oversimplifying the challenges and hardships you are facing in your life, whatever it may be, let’s preach the gospel to ourselves – reminding ourselves of the true and pure joy that is ours in Christ Jesus. This joy transcends our circumstances, personality, and emotions. In Christ and his gospel, we can have joy in whatever circumstance we are facing.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Thanks for reading,
Fundraising update: We are at 88% of our fundraising goals – we are grateful for our supporters! We are planning to leave for Japan at the end of January 2015.