I knew this was going to be a difficult Christmas season, and I tried to prepare myself for it mentally. Bryan is working long hours (which means I’m working long hours at home with the kids) and we weren’t planning to get a tree since we’re leaving town half way through the month. It’s hard to get into good cheer when things around me don’t look festive, and we aren’t spending time together shopping or baking or otherwise collaborating on the season. Add to this a few days of puking children and unresolved marital tension, and it just doesn’t seem worth the energy to pull out even some of the boxes of decorations.
It’s been the sort of week where I can’t even go downstairs to switch the laundry over without someone destroying something or starting a fight. I lost a contact lens, and my glasses have an old prescription, which makes everything look blurry. All the squinting makes my neck and shoulders tight. This makes me anxious, because my nightmares always involve me not being able to see – either my hat keeps falling over my eyes, or it’s dark, or it’s blurry. Every day I wear glasses feels a bit like reliving a nightmare.
Because of this, I’ve largely given up on Getting Things Done, and instead have made it three fourths of the way through a novel in less than 12 hours. If I could get away with it, I’d be spending my days in bed, hiding under the covers.
I’m feeling depressed, but not the kind of depressed that medication can make better. Whiskey? Yes. But Zoloft? Not so much. I’d like to think that if my circumstances changed I would be able to get out of this slump. But in reality, I know that blaming shitty circumstances is not always something I can get away with.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7).
In the past this passage has always irritated me – it seemed trite and flippant, as if the author, Paul, has no idea what it’s like to be me. But my pastor made a very compelling argument to the contrary: Paul, the man who was shipwrecked, beaten, and imprisoned, and was actually writing these words from prison, might have some credibility when writing about anxiousness. He was not in a position to be simple nor flippant.
I hate that I can’t shake this sermon from my head. I hate that I can’t ignore this passage of Truth. I hate that I can’t blame someone or something else for the way I’m feeling right now. I’m stuck in this really dark place of being angry about the Way Things Are.
The Lord is near, yet my anger seems to be pushing everyone close to me away. Do not be anxious, yet my irritability is contagious. Present your requests to God, but I fear he will not take care of me.
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And there it is, the sentence that, once typed, unplugs the tub and lets all the water out: I fear he will not take care of me. After writing that, I walked away to cry for a few hours. It feels strangely comforting to admit I don’t trust God, especially given that it doesn’t change my circumstances, and that I’m still feeling kind of angry about everything.
I guess I’m craving some of that peace which transcends all understanding. Which Easy Button do I press to get me some of that?