Dead Inside, Day 3
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 says there’s a time for everything… including a time to die. I could talk about death – the end of one life and the beginning of another. I could talk about “putting to death” sin in our lives. But today I’m going to talk to you about a different kind of death – when you feel dead inside.
The unknown is scary. I can’t tell you the number of times I thought something was wrong with me because of anxiety or my days where I felt off for no reason. I can’t tell you the number of times I thought I must not be a good enough Christian if I struggle with anxiety and depression. Once I admitted to myself I struggled with anxiety and depression, I was free to be myself. I was free to live my life because giving these struggles “a name” meant I wasn’t crazy, it had nothing to do with “being good enough,” and my struggles no longer had power over me.
This doesn’t mean my depression and my anxiety just go away. God isn’t a fairy godmother and he doesn’t just wave a magic wand and all my problems go away. It doesn’t mean I don’t still get mad at God some days and wonder why. This simply means that I know what it is I struggle with and I admit it freely. Once you know what something is, you can move forward instead of getting stuck.
A few weeks ago, I was having an off day. Things are going well in my life so I had no reason to feel “dead inside.” This doesn’t mean my feelings or lack thereof were any less valid. If someone told me to “snap out of it,” I would stare at them because how do you snap out of something when you don’t know what it is?
My husband suggested we go for an evening walk. It was mid-autumn and the trees were alive with color. I realize the irony because the changing of leaves is a sign they are dying. The colors were particularly bright on this evening – red, yellow, orange, purple, and gold. During the walk, I tried to explain what I was feeling or not feeling. I told Adam I felt depressed. He didn’t try to “fix it.” You see, that’s because he knows me.
Admitting I have depression and anxiety is like the leaves on an autumn tree. Once the leaves let go, winter settles in and the tree lies dormant and dead. Similarly, once I give a name to my struggle, I let go of the power it has over me and I can leave it behind. There is a beauty in knowing something previously unknown, in being in the moment even if the moment is sad or painful or simply empty.
Adam and I walked hand-in-hand in the silence, meandering down the autumn tree-lined streets of our neighborhood. Once he stopped and hugged me. He didn’t need to say a word. He knew what my soul needed. We embraced between sunlight and gold and my spirit began to feel alive again. My soul whispered, “This is what love is.”
By admitting “I am depressed” aloud, I named my reality. There’s something about saying something aloud that makes it real. When I know what it is, it doesn’t hold anything over my head anymore. The unknown is scary but God invites you to step into the known – to remember that He knows all things and you are known and you have been given power through the Holy Spirit.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about how he has a thorn in his side and a messenger from Satan torments him. Some days I can seriously relate, and I don’t think that torment is always known to us. Sometimes it’s just like how I described above – feeling dead inside for no reason and wondering why. Paul pleads with God three times to take it away and God responds in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'” And Paul answers, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Admitting I feel dead inside isn’t weakness; admitting I am depressed isn’t surrender; This admission is quiet strength because I gave a name to it and the thing that was silently sticking in my side no longer has power over me because I know what it is.
I want you to know that it is okay for you to feel sad or angry or anxious or fearful or overwhelmed or depressed or even not to feel anything about this challenge.
I want you to know it is okay to get behind or not do every day of the challenge.
I want you to know you don’t have to be the perfect wife.
I am not the perfect wife. Admitting this aloud gives me the freedom to be a good wife to Adam and to have off-bad days too.
Live in the freedom you have been given by God through the power of His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
This is Day 3 of the 30 Dates in November Challenge 2016. Sign up here. Join us on the forums for the challenge of the day and participate in a supportive community.