Bottom Down, Belly Up!

Bottom Down, Belly Up!

Our failures and weaknesses do not define us. Our broken hearts are not the end of the story. If we are willing to endure, our shattered dreams are the birth pains on the pathway to hope. Enduring, however, takes strength. And many times I just don’t have any.

For some odd reason, I am slow to process events and emotions. Where others react and retort, I simmer and internalize. Where some articulate and cuss, I try to measure my words. The reason for this is that my brain is slowly processing—like an old DOS computer grinding away at zeros and ones. Therefore I have somewhat of a slow build. After a conversation that upsets me, I find myself chewing over the words for hours and days. I measure the body language of the person I spoke with; considering what they said, and then I match the words, trying to determine what they really meant. Then I make mental notes that will help me speak to that person the next time without losing control of my tongue (as I did this past weekend).

I write all of this because my depression causes these analyses to breakdown, as they did yesterday, when I went bottom down and belly up emotionally. I lost all sense of rational thought and in my fear, anger and worry, I ran straight to the drive through for Chick-Fil-A ice cream. And it helped. Emotionally, in the moment, it really helped. The problem is, sugar is a physical trigger and once I start using it as a crutch it can cripple me pretty quickly.

I struggled to get out of bed this morning and not simply because I was tired. I am facing real life challenges at the moment and how I respond to them is important. There are no easy fixes and no quick resolutions. And though I want them to, my raw and powerful emotions refuse to be quieted. All I can do is suffer through each blip and bleep as my thoughts ebb and flow, and then try to anchor my hope in truth.

A good friend contacted me out of the blue yesterday and said I was on her mind. She reminded me that we must prepare for battle and then fight. I’ve been so busy drowning in my quicksand thoughts that I forgot that part. But this morning I dragged my sorry, sugar-saturated body out of bed and went running with my sword in hand (or to be more accurate, streaming through my earbuds).

I was listening to the truth when I remembered that my identity is not grounded in people or circumstances. My identity is grounded in my God. I re-learned that I am not powerless, though guilt-wracked from failure and ashamed of words I used in wrong ways. I am a child of the King, sincerely loved and abundantly victorious.

For all practical purposes I am facing some very real hills that must be climbed. And if you are reading this, maybe you are too. Sometimes I get to looking at the path before me and feel overwhelmed. But if I pry my gaze from the precipices to my right, and toward the heavens from whence my help always comes, I find that the hill isn’t so rocky or treacherous after all. What’s the worst thing that can happen? So I gain 10 pounds, I’m still a child of the King. So my enemies slander and lob mud-balls of hateful words at me, I’m still loved and atoned for. So depression digs in and refuses to abate, the biggest love in the universe has covered me with his feathers so I can find refuge under His wings. What does it mean to be loved by God? It means that I am safe—always and forever, even when I feel like utter garbage.

tears in your bottleToday if you find no hope in these words because your body is wracked with anxiety, depression or real-world-job problems, remember that if you are God’s child, you are not abandoned. You may go bottom down and belly up, but as long as you live, you are cherished by Him. And while we certainly can’t understand in our groaning all the circumstances and pains He allows, we can rest in the knowledge that He has a purpose for them. I can also guarantee they are for your good because He is good.

The funeral is not the end of the story. The divorce is not the end of the story. The loss of your child is not the end of the story. He is faithful who promised. We simply have to trust.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

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