Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is on the way. Everyone’s excited about the food, gifts, and family getting together. Everyone’s happy, but you. If you’re being honest with yourself, it’s not just this time of year that leaves you feeling this way. You wake up with it and it tucks you in at night. Maybe it came about after a loved one passed or it started off as a random sadness that never left. Whatever its origin, its presence has taken over your life.
I have been in that place and at times desperately tried to get out and other times simply accepted it as my reality. You feel powerless to your own emotions and even if you were given control you wouldn’t know what to do with them. You have been in this space so long it feels like home. And in a sick, twisted way it’s comforting. Happiness and joy are strangers to you and you don’t have the energy to become familiar with them. I have good news! This does not have to be your forever. It may very well be your right now and even your tomorrow, but not your forever. So, what to do while waiting for your morning?
Everybody has told you to do it but you don’t want to. Or maybe you do it, but it doesn’t seem to help. Do it anyway. And I don’t mean the “fancy” prayers you hear in church. I mean the ugly, truth-telling prayers that you only want God to hear. I didn’t want to have a conversation with God but countless times I told Him, “I can’t do this” (“this” ranged from getting out of bed to going to work to smiling) and I told Him how upset I was with Him. It was all I could say and it was all I needed to say. Eventually God showed me that I could do “this” and He wasn’t scared of my unpleasant feelings. In the midst of our sadness, we often times don’t have a lot to say to God or rather what we deem to be constructive things to say to God, but it’s important that we say something, keeping the line of communication open.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing
Confide in Someone
Maybe you’re not a talker, maybe you don’t want everyone in your business. Be careful because your silence can kill you. Whether it is your best friend, your parent, your sibling, your pastor, talk to someone. Emotions are heavy and they become heavier when you carry them by yourself. A lot of times those around us don’t know what to say, but you telling someone calls out what you’re feeling. It’s not a secret you have to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. It is where you are in the moment and it is okay if someone else knows that; it is helpful that someone else knows that. Whoever you confide in should be someone who builds you up, not makes you feel bad for feeling how you’re feeling. They point you back to Jesus and remind you who you are in Him. They know how to give you space while checking in with you. They may not be able to solve all your problems, but a listening ear can help you get up the next day.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Seek Professional Help
When do you need to seek professional help? When you’re ready. I did it as a last resort and wish I had gotten help earlier. My heart had been so broken, I wouldn’t even let God pick up the pieces to put it back together. I talked about it with family and friends, but I was still too fragile to do anything about it on my own. So when I had enough, I sought professional help. I didn’t go to a Christian counselor and I honestly can’t tell you why (yes, I can, I went with who my insurance covered), but after reading my counselor’s website and reading about her approach to problems, I felt like she would be a good fit for me. If this is the step you want to take, I encourage you to do the same. Do your research and find someone who will be a good fit for you and if they’re not, find someone else. Talking to a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, life coach, or whoever you decide to talk to doesn’t make you crazy or weak. If you decide to take medicine, that doesn’t make you crazy or weak either. Whatever route you decide, remember all your help comes from God so whoever is doing the helping should be pointing you back in His direction.
Proverbs 19:20 Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. (NLT)
Get over it. (You can’t)
Just pray. (You did)
It’s not that deep. (It is)
You’re being extra. (You’re not)
That was 10 years ago. (It feels like yesterday)
Why can’t you just be happy? (You don’t know)
Pull it together. (You tried)
If it were that simple, you would have done it already. Whatever you are feeling right now is a very real feeling but it’s not who you were created to be. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). You are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). God is always with you (Isaiah 41:10). By His stripes are you healed (Isaiah 53:5). This is your truth. Feelings are fleeting, they come and go, but what God says is forever. Everyone else may appear to be happy, but trust that your joy is coming in the morning. As you go through this holiday season and the new year rolls in, believe that you will be happy too.