February 10, 2015
Sinkholes and Pits
I waited patiently for the LORD. He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Florida is famous for its sinkholes. I personally find them fascinating since I grew up in Texas where most holes are made intentionally. Scientists say sinkholes occur when underground resources gradually dry up, causing the surface soil to lose its underlying support. Everything caves in - forming an ugly pit.
Depression and sinkholes have a lot in common. Depression seems to overwhelm with a vicious suddenness when it is actually the result of a malignant process. Inner resources slowly erode until nothing is left. The world caves in and darkness reigns.
Many people think depression is a spiritual problem while others insist it is an emotional and physical disorder. I believe it’s all of those things. Some studies indicate that over half of all women and one out of three men struggle with depression. Since no one is immune to the darkness, we must learn to face it honestly.
That moment came for me in 1995 when my world collapsed at my feet. Empty and exhausted, I had been living in the fast and furious lane for years. No wonder I was struggling. I was just tired.
Being a perfectionist, I had always been strong, driven to excel. I had little sympathy for weak people. Now I, the strong one, couldn't get out of bed. Getting dressed by the time my children returned from school meant it was a good day. The simplest decisions sent me into a panic, and the thought of facing crowds was overwhelming.
I was paralyzed, trapped in a bottomless pit. Loneliness and despair reigned, wreaking emotional havoc. I had no idea how I had gotten there, and what was even more frightening was the fact that I had no clue how to escape. I did the only thing I could do. I cried out to God.
I waited patiently for the LORD. He turned to me and heard my cry(Psalm 40:1, NIV).
With that single heart cry, my journey from darkness into light began. The first step was to recognize the factors that trigger depression; a lack of replenishing relationships, a chemical imbalance, and a poor self-image, just to name a few. One of the most common and deadly factors is failure to deal with the past. The "mire" mentioned in Psalm 40:2 means "sediment at the bottom," a perfect description of our past.
When our children were small, we frequented the beach. Wading into the ocean, Jered and Danna took turns pushing a beach ball under the water and counting to see who could hold the ball down the longest. Eventually their arms would tire, or the ball would escape their control, popping to the surface. The "mire" in our lives is like that beach ball.
The "sediment" or "junk" we have never dealt with settles at the bottom of our souls, randomly popping up until we run out of energy to keep it submerged. This mire eventually works its way to the surface, spilling ugliness and darkness into every part of our lives.
Mire comes in all shapes and sizes - buried pain, unresolved anger, a devastating loss. I had never dealt with my mother's death or faced some painful parts of my past. I had painted a picture in my heart and mind of how I wanted my childhood to be, not how it really was. I was running from the past by filling the present with frenzied activity.
The Lord and I began to sift through the enormous pile of "mire" that had settled into my spirit and life. Together we faced experiences I had carefully locked away until they slammed into my heart and mind with breathtaking force and fresh pain; an alcoholic father, the trusted family doctor who molested me, times of loneliness and rejection, haunting failures, unreasonable fears that were never spoken. It seemed as if the flood of polluted memories would never end!
But God is good - providing a defense mechanism for those experiences beyond our ability to face. He gently tucks them away until we are ready and able to deal with them. When we bury pain alive, it keeps popping up at unexpected moments. Pain must be dealt with and buried ... dead!
Freedom from the pit of darkness demands a confrontation of our past, straining every experience through the truth that all things work together for our good.
The will of God admits no defeat and penalizes no one. We can allow our past to defeat us or empower us. Harnessing the power of the past is a compelling weapon in the war against darkness.
Father, I am tired and afraid of the darkness in my life. I cry out to You. Please help me deal with the mud and mire in my past. Heal me. I want to trust You, Lord. I lay my past at Your feet. Please make it a cornerstone of the new life I can have in You. I choose to believe You will work it all together for Your glory and for my good.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Take a few minutes to think back over your life. Make a list of the “mire” that has settled in your heart. Be specific. It may be a sin you need to confess or the pain of a broken relationship that needs healing. Deal with each one, and let it go. Read and memorize Romans 8:28 and make it one of your life verses for 2015.
More from the Girlfriends
For more help and practical ways to deal with depression in your own life or in the life of someone you love, check out Mary’s book, Hope in the Midst of Depression. And be sure to connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.
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