Thursday, 8 December 2011
The Wishing and the Roots of Depression
We had a change of routine this week, just a slightly different schedule (mainly, no childcare) and I’m pretty sure the kids did better with it than I did.
I stumbled through Monday, but Tuesday I felt like my kids act when I spring something unexpected and un-fun on them. My brow was furrowed all day, I stomped everywhere and I whined. A lot. At one point when I was whining about going for a bike ride with my kids, my daughter even said, “alright Mom. Let’s just go with the flow.” (at which point I felt like kicking someone in the shins, which I’m sure is how she feels every time I say it to her.)
Yesterday, I woke up and prayed.
“Jesus, I can’t do this day without you. Give me creative ideas. Heap grace on my head. Help me.”
And you know what? He did.
I was able to seize the day, going for walks, going to the park, feeling grace and then pouring it out to my kids by the bucketful. It was the first day in recent memory that I didn’t raise my voice to my kids (stern talking at certain points, yes, but no change in volume).
And I wondered, why is this something I have to learn over and over?
Constants and Variables
When we adopt a child, we’re told a very strict routine is super-important to our kids, particularly if you adopt older children. You have to insulate your family for a while, proving to your child with every action that this is a safe place, this is normal, this is what you can expect.
It’s about building trust, and it can have remarkable results when done correctly.
But eventually, you have to start introducing your kids to a curveball in the routine, because that’s what real life is like.
When you experience a minor shift, do you focus on opportunity? Or are you like me, and you grieve for what it was like last week?
On Tuesday, I was just wishing things were regular. I was tired, every little task seemed monumental, I couldn’t see my kids for all their needs that pressed in on me constantly. It felt like my old, scratchy coat of depression, the thing that weighs me down heavy.
On Wednesday, I let go of the wishing and looked at possibility. I also prayed for a shift of perspective and for grace. And the difference was amazing.
If I really get to the heart of it, the only constant in my life is Jesus. It’s his love and promises. He will never leave me or forsake me. He takes great delight in me, he quiets me with his love, he rejoices over me with singing. He gives me rest. He is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Because of his great love, I’m not consumed, even by my own whining and wishing.
The Heart’s Focus
And it occurs to me that many times I’m spiraling, it’s the wishing that sends me down. I want things to be different. I desperately wish my body didn’t look a certain way. I want the laundry to be done, the projects to be finished, the kids to be in bed.
I don’t want to fight my food issues anymore. I want faith to feel easy. I want my dad back.
Instead of focusing on what is constant, I get caught up in what I can’t control, in the life details that constantly change. It’s like that parable of the shifting sand and the rock. That was one story that always seemed so obvious to me — the dude on the sand was such an idiot. Who would build a house on sand without proper footings? And then when it all falls apart, I look down and see it. I have sand between my toes.
I know that not every day will feel easy, and I’ll get caught up in the details a few times even today. I hope instead of struggling on the sand, I’ll look up and see how much I need Him, minute by minute, and climb over to the rock where I don’t have to wish or long for or whine about, because it is always the same.
Where are you rooted today?