Hey Love, if you’ve followed my instagram posts of late, you know that I’ve been sort of in a valley… a dark place… and I’m ok with it. I’ve stopped trying to hide it or fix it or diminish it.
Is there a little part in each of us that’s drawn to the dark? Darkness sets the stage when the curtain’s about to rise. Birds start singing for dawn when the sky is darkest. They say you know a mother to be is close to delivery when she says she can’t labor anymore… that point of “transition” is always darkest before the light breaks in. And in valleys that I’ve visited in the northeast where I grew up, there are lush, shady, natural gardens and rivers flowing with crystal clear water…(from icebergs if you’re from the northwest like my lumberjack man.)
And so it is for me at the time of Advent. Every year, I am tinted, but not overtaken, pressured but not crushed, struck down but not destroyed – by darkness. It comes out in my writing, my journaling to the Lord, my conversations with my husband and close friends…. But I don’t mind it now because I’ve learned that the more willing I am to accept all the different parts of me, including the darker shades of the valley in me, the more integrated my whole being is….
In short, allowing myself to be sad has led me to being happier than I’ve ever been.
Admitting my loneliness has led me to real, loving relationships that bring me much joy.
Allowing myself to explore the dark leads me over & over to dive deeper into the Light.
To be clear, when I speak of exploring “the dark,” I’m in no way talking of dabbling in any kind of demonic activity or witchcraft or new age practice… I’m simply talking about my tendency toward solitude and a melancholy emotional state. Some call it the winter blues…. Some call it “SAD” which stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. But I don’t care for that term because it sounds like something’s wrong with you if you feel sad sometimes…..
If you do feel SAD, acceptance is a good thing to practice. It makes sense that you would feel sad from time to time; life in this world is truly tragic. Just make sure your hope is built on the ROCK of Christ Jesus, without Whom, the darkness would never cease. With His Spirit leading us, we have Light living within us, springing forth like an unstoppable, bubbling fountain of Hope, reminding us that we are loved and free.
Before I became a believer, I didn’t know what depression was. I thought getting married would cure me of it. Then I thought having a baby would do the trick. Then I believed adopting a couple of orphan girls from India was the thing that would finally deliver me. I’ve since trying to get rid of this thing, this melancholy disposition that visits me every winter. I’ve made peace with her. She is a welcome guest now. We break bread together. Then, come spring, she will pack her bags and leave. And I’ll sorta miss her when she goes….
Chip Dodd and Stephen James both agree that depression is a normal part of living as a human and when it’s acknowledged, processed and talked about, it can lead to a hunger for life. I’m learning to see that depression (and even anxiety) is part of a life that is full and rich and beautiful. It helps us realize that life is out of our control and that we have a need, then we bring our anxiety and depression to God and struggle with Him all through life. Embracing these truths can help us not feel so exhausted and weighed down because we end up trusting The Soverign One even more. And we learn to love and extend the Hope He imparts as we struggle with Him, ourselves and with others.
What about you? Do you experience winter blues? Do you feel a “lift?” after Christmas?” Are you journaling about it? Or seeing someone to talk over on the outside what’s going on inside? Do you feel more able to laugh when you’re in a place of acceptance? Write in on instagram- I love hearing from you. I’m praying for you to accept yourself-even the darker parts- and remember the Hope of Glory residing inside of you. He’s the Light that shatters all darkness.
Here’s a little poem I wrote recently about a low point I’d experienced. I hope it encourages you if you are in the valley;
Flower slumped in darkness, wilting
After rain’s relentless pelting
Light saw her aloneness and took on her shame
Love passed through and strengthened the lame
Light entered in and joined in her plight
And all Flower did was glance up at Light,