During a time in my life when I was at a particularly low point, I was unable to do very little. I could not get up and go to work as I was accustomed. I was unable to care for my family. Even showering and dressing took more energy and effort than I could summon. I was so sick that all I could do was sleep, listen, and read. It was a time in my life that I despised, yet at the same time cherished.
God does not call us to a life of perfection. He desires us to have a willing heart. It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. When you are tempted to give up because you have tried and fallen short of the goal or the expectations of yourself or others, take a moment to take a deep breath, assess the situation, course-correct the situation and your thoughts and attitude about the situation, and try again. Remember, it’s not about perfection…it’s about progress.
When someone is depressed, they have a choice to make: to either let depression define them or to desire joy bad enough to seek after it with obedience and sacrifice. Jesus offered us the same joy he had; the fullest possible joy. What I’ve learned is that thanksgiving and gratitude is the doorway to joy. As Proverbs tells us, we are what we think in our heart. As we become increasingly grateful, God exchanges our worries and sorrow with His peace, joy, and abundant life. Our circumstances may not change, but our mindset does.
Lasting growth, transformation is usually a process. It takes time. Like moving a mountain, one small stone at a time. It’s hard to appreciate the change while it’s happening. It is only after the work is finished, when we are able to look back, that we can appreciate the journey and the lessons learned along the way.
Depression can be perpetuated by focusing on ourselves and our own pain, but when we focus instead on others and their needs, our own pain is lessened.