I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name (Isaiah 45:3 NIV).
Friend to Friend
While I am not a big fan of television, I do enjoy watching home improvement shows. On a recent program, an interior decorator and homeowner discussed a list of changes that needed to be made to update the home.
“First, we have to do something about those windows,” the decorator announced. I was surprised that she listed this task first – until I saw the house.
The existing glass was not only an ugly shade of gold, but it was also thick and chunky. The windows let in no light and made it virtually impossible to see in or out. The result was a dark, isolated home. The distressed homeowner protested, “But I like my privacy. And if I thought anyone could see in, I would feel totally exposed.” Unfortunately, when it comes to dealing with depression, many people feel the same way.
The holidays seem to tug at the masks we carefully hold in place. The arrival of certain family members can resurrect painful issues that have never really been resolved. Financial pressure opens up like a sinkhole, waiting to steal our joy. Schedules demand every ounce of energy, and false expectations leave us empty and hollow. The dark slimy pit waits for us to fall in.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29 NIV).
When we are weak, He offers His strength. To deal with depression, we must first come to a place of total surrender to God and His plan of healing, even if we cannot see or understand that plan. We can count on the fact that the bottom line of God’s heart toward His children is always restoration.
Even the darkest moments hold treasures and truths that can bring us healing.
“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name” (Isaiah 45:3 NIV).
But we sometimes construct walls over which no one can climb because the cost of friendship is too high. So, we fill the windows of our souls with emotional excuses to avoid dealing with pain. The result is darkness, loneliness, and missed opportunities for restoration.
We don’t want to find the treasures our darkness holds; we simply want to get out of that pit. But there is power and strength in those treasures of darkness. Emotional health begins at the point of emotional integrity with a willingness to say, “I need help!”
When clinical depression overwhelmed my life, my husband was the pastor of a large church in South Florida. We could choose to be transparent and real, or we could sweep my struggle under the rug. We concluded that to be right, we had to be real.
Dan and I shared my battle with the staff, the deacons, and the entire church. Yes, we took a risk but learned an important lesson in doing so. A shared load is a lighter load. We were created to need each other.
Until we are willing to risk being transparent, we can neither understand nor effectively deal with depression during the holidays or any other time of the year.
The good news is that we can choose to make this Christmas different. Choose to give God praise. Choose to focus on the victories and joys you have experienced during the year, and then find ways to share that victory and joy with others.
Christmas can be a true celebration of fresh starts and new beginnings if we choose to focus on a tiny baby born in a manger, come to save us, and give us true life. We can destroy the darkness if we choose to face and deal with whatever it holds.
Right now, choose an attitude of joy by focusing your mind on the things of heaven – not earth, and by fixing your heart on Jesus Christ. Then, your Christmas chaos will turn into Christmas joy!
Father, I want this holiday season to be filled with light instead of darkness. Please help me discard my emotional masks and be real before You as well as my family and friends. Father, help me make this holiday season an offering of praise to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you sometimes struggle with depression during the holiday season? Make a list of “dos” and “don’ts” that will help you experience the best holiday season of your life.
More from the Girlfriends
My book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, is my story of desperation, brokenness, and restoration. It is also the story of how God saved me from the darkness. Check it out.
Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email at [email protected].
© 2021 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.