(Please forgive this post if it is full of grammatical errors, run-on sentences, or seems to make no sense at all. I wrote and posted it via my phone and the subject matter precluded me from wanting to do much editing. Thanks)
I tend to blather on about how I think people need to share their struggles and heartache. I encourage others to share the ugly stuff they’ve gone through, are going through, or been a part of throughout their lives.
“Get it all out”, is my refrain. “Share it and use it as a tool to love others”.
I connect most to those who have been through some shit (might as well call it what it is). Hearing about a transformed life or circumstance is what lights a fire under me. Only seeing people as they want me to see them is bland and uninspiring. But, seeing and knowing the scars and the strife, and knowing the hope that comes from overcoming or fighting through it, now that’s something I want in my life. Those are the stories that must be told. Otherwise we are all just trying to look like we are ok, when most of us are not.
I think it’s the best way to minister as well. Being a broken person in a crowd of the ok is a lonely place to be. But being broken and in pain in the midst of others who are, or have been, broken and in pain is where community happens. That’s the Church in my mind. Everyone dressed in their Sunday-best with big smiles plastered on their faces…I might as well be at the mall.
Anyway, in the spirit of what I’m always going on about, I have a confession; I am and have been battling some deep depression for a while now. It’s dark and ugly. I can feel it in my throat, in my jaw, in my bones. It hurts way down in my chest. There are tears held behind my eyes that press so hard to come out that they sometimes blur my vision. I feel like a weakling and a victim, which is something I can’t stand to be. There is an absence of satisfaction or happiness or relief that feels like a tumbling pit in my stomach. I hate it and I don’t know where it came from. I hate talking about it because it hurts my ego (which is stupid, I know). It hurts so badly in a way that I am unfamiliar with. It embarrasses me to no end.
The worst part is that I have no reason to feel this way. I have the best wife imaginable, kids that I love endlessly, a job that pays our bills, and I get to be on a ministry team that is awesome. I pray, read my bible, and have the privilege to serve. I go to a great church, receive more compliments than I could ever deserve, and see hope growing in others. But I have this ugly demon inside that pulls on my soul (figuratively).
I’ve been to the doctor, I’ve got the meds, and I am going to start talking to someone soon, but so far there’s been no relief. I suck it up and take care of business most of the time, but it is torture.
My poor wife just wants to fix me, and I love her more for that, but I don’t even know what to fix. She is so awesome. My family has to put up with dad who appears mostly as just a grump because he is stuffing all this pain down inside. I’m either in bed, off by myself, or staring off into nowhere. There isn’t any passion about anything, I don’t have the energy, this sucks it right out of me. The guilt is unimaginable.
Thankfully, I am not suicidal, and I can still feel the presence of God in my life. He is what I am holding on to. He is my savior in these darkened days. He is my hope when I have none.
I am sharing all this not for sympathy or anything close to that. I am sharing simply so that others who might be feeling similarly can know that they are not alone. I know that, God willing, I can conquer this. Someday, hopefully soon, it will just be another redeemed chapter in my story and tool that I can use to share the Gospel. If I can have yet another thing to use to tell people about Jesus, then it’ll be worth it. But right now, I am hurting and it sucks.
No one said being a disciple was going to be easy, and if they tell you that it is, they’re liars. It’s not. While life is hard regardless of what you believe or how you live your life the one thing that is true is that you are not alone. I love you because Jesus loves you and I want to be like him. Never believe the lie that you are the only one who feels a certain way, you are not. There are people that love you. You may not even know them, but they love you anyway. I am one of them.
Please pray for me. Please pray for my wife. Please pray for my kids.