Friday, April 10, 2015

I'm Either Depressed or I Need a Nap....

“I’m either depressed or I need a nap.”  I said to Jon, a few weeks ago.  I laughed as I said it, imagining myself telling my friends, “I thought I was depressed.  Turns out I just needed a nap! Who knew?!?”  LOL!  (Hmm..  I wonder how many other “fake depressed” people are out there, who just need a freaking vacation?)  The truth is, I didn’t know which one it was.  All I knew was I was not myself.  Wait, let me rephrase that.  I am currently not myself.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not a 24 hour, every day thing.  But the “whole” of me is just not feeling “whole.”  Things that usually roll right off my back have started to ruffle me.  If something “bad” happens at 9am, my whole day feels shot.  If you know me, you know that is so not “me.”  The “me” I’ve been my whole life is laid back, easy going and generally happy.  The “me” I have been recently seems more skeptical, easily defeated, and fragile.  The best compliment my husband has ever given me was when he told me, “Babe, you are easy to come home to.”  I mean, come on. How cool is that to hear from your husband!?!  I pride myself on being a low-maintenance wife.  (his words, not mine)  ;)  But for several days, I found Jon coming home, looking at me and saying, “How are you doing today, babe?”  His demeanor and vibe was definitely testing out the temperature of home-life that day.  He just wanted to know what he’s walking in on - a happy wife, a tired wife, a frustrated mom?   In the past, he’s always come home to a pretty even keeled wife.  Even on my hardest days as a mom, I’ve never “tapped out” when Jon’s walked in the door.  But for the past few weeks, I’ve found his presence to be sweet relief to my tired soul.  I just couldn’t put my finger on the “why.”  

I shared my current struggle with my community group.  I shared it with friends.  Heck, if I’ve run into you lately and you’ve asked me how I’m doing, I’ve probably told you!  I’m a “live out loud” kind of girl and I just know I’m not ‘the best version of Deanna’ right now.  I’ve been working out and eating healthy.  And Lord knows my Graves Disease, radiation-demolished thyroid is no help.  But deep down, I know it’s beyond that. I have had several friends, after listening to me talk about this, ask if I want to go on medication.  Now I do not judge anyone who is on medication for depression.  I’ve sat with friends who have suffered through depression and in the truest sense of the phrase, I know ‘the struggle is REAL.’  However, I knew that my struggle was not a chemical imbalance.  I wanted to get to the core of my brokenness.  Not mask it.  

So last Tuesday night, as Jon and I sat with a small group of trusted advisors and friends, as we were all sharing about what God is doing in our lives, I blurted out, “My burden is heavy.”  As the words came out of my mouth, I knew it.  THIS. IS. IT.  I'm not depressed.  And a nap isn't going to fix anything.  My burden is freaking heavy.  All sorts of Bible verse swirled in my head… “My burden is light..” says the Lord.  “Cast your cares upon Me.” He reminds.  “My yolk is easy..” He promises.  But I wasn’t living in any of that.  My cares weighed approximately 10,000 tons and they seemed to make their home on my person, like a parasite, eating me away. 
I. Can’t. Live. Like. This.  
“You weren’t created to live like this, my sweet daughter.” He whispered.  
“SHHH!” I said. “I can’t hear my fears and doubt when you’re talking to me.  The fears and doubts are important.  They need time and attention.  They are real, valid things, ok?   What if… what if…” 

You guys.  My burden has been so freaking heavy.  18 months ago, when life turned upside down, God literally carried me.  His peace ruled my heart.  His faithfulness was undeniable.  Well, 18 months later, I think I took a look around me and went, “Holy crap. Is this really my life?  Is this really my new normal? How did I get 4 kids?  4 kids is a lot.  And my husband is on disability.  Still.  Because he can’t do his job. The job he’s done for the past 16 years and went to college to get his degree in.  He’s starting over at ground zero.  And the singing we’ve done together - literally traveling the world together - will never be the same again.”  

And then fear and doubt started to seep into other areas…  “I live in Orange County.  Do I really fit in the OC?  Does the OC like me?  Does it like my kids?  I mean, we’re SO not the high income earning, sports excelling family.”  

And then it crept from fear and doubt into ungratefulness… “Look at everything in my house.  Everything in my house is either hand-me-downs or gifts from people.  I used to walk in here every day, overwhelmed with gratitude for how God provides.  Now I look around and think, “I didn’t get to pick any of this out.  It’s just what others have given me. Is my home even “mine?” I don’t like it anymore.”  

Fear and doubt and ungratefulness are liars.  LIARS.  They have led me down a pit that is heavy.  Oh so heavy.  

Now let me clarify, I don’t live in the pit.  My kids wouldn’t say I’ve been in a pit.  I am so happy at times.  And really enjoy life at times.  But “at times” was never a part of how I typically lived.  It just was. 

Jon recently asked me what it looks like to “cast my cares” on Jesus.  He asked me how I would get to experiencing God’s “light burden.”  I love my husband for this.  Because for the few weeks that it took me to get to this place, he just loved me.  He sat in the pit with me.  He even said it was his joy to journey with me in this.  But once I knew the “what,” he waited a few days, and then encouraged me to explore the “how.”  

Here’s where I’m at on my discovery of “how”:

  1. Say it out loud.  When we speak light into the darkness, the darkness loses its power.  From the moment I blurted out “My burden is heavy,” my burden felt lighter.  Verbalizing things make them feel not so giant sized.  In fact, the more I talked, the smaller it seemed.  Did they go away?  No.  But it helped with perspective.  And to speak it out loud to people who love you and love Jesus?  All of a sudden I had people who were speaking truth to me, reminding me of who I am and who God is. Which leads me to…
  2. Remember who God is.  Sometimes I forget how big God is.  Sometimes I forget how faithful He has been.  One walk down Memory Lane with Him, and my fears and doubts seem to fade away, in light of who He is.  He is SOVEREIGN.  Dangit.  If only I could remember to live in that truth.
  3. Gratitude.  Gratitude is such a beautiful remedy for so many struggles.  Jealousy.  Pride.  Greed.  I can look at the things in my house as evidences of God’s miraculous provision.  Or I can look at the things in my house as a pile of stuff that I didn’t get to pick out. (aka I didn’t have control over.  Ouch. Control. Issues.)  My house is still my house.  The items in it don’t change.  The only thing that can change is how I look at it.
  4. Confession.  I hadn’t confessed my fears and doubt to God.  I had prayed over my HOPES.  But I hadn’t confessed my JUNK.  I hadn’t handed them over to Him to take and deal with.  I needed to name them, confess them and release them.  Confessing them to trusted friends was also a beautiful (and biblical) experience.  So much freedom in confessing in community.  Again, bringing dark things to light = healing.  

I am still learning what it looks like to “cast my cares” and experience God’s “light burden.”  I will write more as I learn more.  And if you are an experienced “caster of cares,” what does that look like in your life?