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Feeling Down

What do we do when we’re out of sorts, on edge, not ourselves, dogged by a dark cloud of sadness, and then, on top of it all, feeling guilty for not being able to think or pray ourselves out of it?

Spiritual talk that is supposed to help leaves us cold.

So, with a bit of imagination… feeling this way, we go into a room of counselors who have been called in to help us work through it. Some of them are carrying a Bible. Others drove up in cars sporting the name “Darwin” inside a “Fish” symbol.

The questions start coming. How long have you been feeling like this? Hours, days, months? What’s been going on in your life? Disappointment? Boredom? Overwork? Loss of job, marriage, or death in the family? Any family history of depression? Any reason to be angry or afraid? How long since you’ve had a complete physical? Recent surgeries, birth of a baby, financial stress? What drugs are you taking?

The questions keep coming. How are you sleeping, eating, exercising physically, and spiritually?

When the counselors seem to have exhausted their ability to ask questions one of them asks, “Now, what do you want us to do? Give you our opinions and recommendations or some time to think about what we’ve asked.” Sensing they are not going to agree we tell them we need some time to think…

Now that we are by ourselves again, where do we start or stop looking for answers?

If I’ve learned anything over the years it’s that there is a delicate, complex relationship between body, soul, and spirit. We are so wonderfully, mysteriously, and fearfully made that a disruption in our physical health can cloud our minds, just as a failure of spirit can affect the chemistry of our body.

Just as amazingly, our Creator has built into us a certain capacity for self-healing, while leaving us dependent on Him alone for the real answers to the most important questions.

There are times when a change of mind or perspective can do for us what the Psalmist so often experienced (i.e. Psalm 73). Sometimes it’s a good nights rest, a good walk, times with friends, and a few good laughs. On other occasions, an honest, heart-wrenching struggle with God– to the point of surrender– is desperately needed.

And there are also the times when, as we wait on the Lord for his wisdom and help, we need to remember that “in a number of counselors there is safety” (Prov 11:14). Especially, when the sadness continues, and we don’t know why, and nothing we do seems to help, it may be time to get the help of a reputable doctor, or counselor, without leaving behind the kind of ongoing  spiritual counsel and support we need from a wise pastor or spiritually mature friend.

PS Welcome to those of you who have stopped by today in response to our e-mail. Wish you would bookmark the site and stop by often. We’re here for one another…


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90 Responses to “Feeling Down”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    It is amazing these past (almost) ten years I have had to be healthy. Had to be. Matthew relys on me for everything, so I can’t be down. The wieght of this is enormous. Sleep? Not for me. I have said before how every morning I go to the well and fill up. Some mornings I am spiritualy exhausted. God knows this and understands when my conversation with him is short.

    I have found myself at the end of my rope so many times. Seen the empty barrel, where there just doesn’t seem to be any more left.

    Then, I see Matt and hear his pain and cries. I go on for him. I have learned that life, that love is in the giving. Not the recieving.

    Many times the well meaning words of christian friends are more of a mockery than of comfort. But I never tell them that. Sometimes hope seems very far away and the darkness very real.

    I sometimes think that if I could just go off for a while alone, maybe God would speak to me…But God speaks to me in the face and needs of others. It is there in busying myself helping others that I am able to forget the darkness of hopelessness.

    The promises, the person of Jesus is my only hope. I have nowhere else to go. To whom else could I turn for strength to continue on? It is very private very personal.

    In my walk of life many people have let me down, and many haven’t. Many times I have thought God let me down too. Only to learn He is always there. It is a sobering thing to note that while my needs are important to Him, His plans are above my understanding. So it is. Faith and trust, in Jesus. More often blind faith and trust, than I would like for it to be.

    I have to be strong for my family,even when my strength is weak. I so often wonder about God being strong for us all, all the time. And wonder from where does he draw His strength to go on? Could it be from the same source? The needs of others?

  • Mart De Haan says:

    Steve, you have expressed so much that we all need to hear. Once again, thank you… Feel like I should be framing your post this time and putting it on my wall.