Friday, February 26, 2010

Afternoon Inspiration

This little ditty came to me this afternoon at the end of my lunch hour. It's very simple and sort of like a childhood song, but I think there is a truth behind it that makes it worth sharing. I hope it is found by you to be a blessing.

Count Your Blessings

Count your blessings five by five
And you'll be glad that you're alive.

Count your blessings four by four
And you'll recall what you adore.

Count your blessings three by three
And you'll acknowledge what you see.

Count your blessings two by two
And it will lift your heart for you.

But if you count them one by one
You will see when you are done,

That God is great and life is good,
And what truly matters is understood.

Your joy will rise, your heart will feel
Full of God's blessings, so true and real.

So count them all, it's time you can afford,
Let me start you, "You are loved by the Lord."

It's first on your list, so write it there,
And when you're done, pass it on and share.

© Diana DePriest
February 26, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Emotional Ramblings

Emotions are a formidable adversary. I've been battling mine.

They don't have to be based on anything real. They are at the mercy of outside influences, everything from hormones to the attitude of a store clerk have a power to impact them... in a good way or a bad.

Have you ever experienced a random act of kindness from a stranger on a bad day, and suddenly, the day seems better. An emotional response to a compliment or someone taking the time to smile purposefully at you, and you feel better.

Likewise emotions can be brutally affected by a terse word, or a rude or inconsiderate act. One act, and emotions can hit a seemingly unbearable low.

As a rule, I am more a thinker than a feeler, and typically the "emotion" I battle most often is anger rather than sadness, but I have had struggles with depression in the past. Even when I struggled with it though, anger tended to be a more frequent manifestation than the blues.

The thing about my experience with depression is that it can come on suddenly, relentlessly even, when it does I wonder it's source. It's frustrating when it comes upon you suddenly - I wonder is it spiritual? Physiological? Do I have a hormonal imbalance? I am at that age, after all. Is it an attack? There is an enemy to our souls, and he does work in that way. Is it both? Honestly I don't know.

I do know I'm battling. I think it's been sneaking up on me for weeks. It's like standing on the coast, watching the waves come up and lap at the feet just to recede again. It slips back away, each time it returns, it pulls you a little deeper, rises a little higher. Then before you know it, you get slammed by a wave and knocked on your behind.

The waves haven't knocked me down, but they do feel about knee high at times, enough to make me feel a little off balance, but not enough to knock me down.

There is no giant wave to speak of in sight, more like lots of little things - work stress, financial struggles, looming questions without answers for the future, struggles... temptations... they lap at my foundation. Sigh.

I have never been sucked so deep into depression I couldn't get out of bed. I have had days where I didn't want to, days like today where I just wanted to pull under the covers and stay in bed all day long. But I don't. I want to, but I don't.

It makes me sad for people who do sink all the way into the ocean of depression. It makes me especially sad for people who sink, and don't know the Lord.

I can't imagine how someone could deal with something as heavy as depression without the Lord. Honestly, I don't know how anyone does anything without the Lord, much less something hard, like overwhelming emotions, or grief. How do they do it?

I guess that's why people call Christianity a crutch. Have you heard that joke about it actually being more like an iron lung? I get it. He's not my crutch, not something I lean on in tough times, He's my breath of life, the reason I get up in the morning.

So the waves lap at my feet, but I don't worry about drowning in them, because I know God won't give me up to them.

But there is still a battle. They still rise and fall and they can still be relentless. So I try to remember that my emotions are not what is real. And I try to focus on Who and what is. It's like reaching out for an anchor that will keep me on the shore. Not on sand, but on a solid rock, the Solid Rock. It's not an easy grip to hold, but thankfully, I don't have to hold it on my own.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Philippians 4:8

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27