My husband sent me these beautiful flowers when I was sad. It was a first. He’s learning to love me (and understand me) more with each year we are married.
I couldn’t wash my dishes without crying. I couldn’t seem to do the laundry or make meals or even get out of my chair. I just felt so…defeated. Weary. Sad. And there was no specific reason for it; I just seem to be a bit predisposed to discouragement from time to time. And when it hits, it hits. I have no control over it. In fact, this last time it hit, I just rested in it. I didn’t fight it.
Today I wrote an article on doing the work even if you feel lazy. A sweet woman commented and said that it’s hard to do the work when you feel depressed. I told her that post wasn’t for her, and to rest and be gentle with herself. Here are few more things I want to say to those of you who are just feeling discouraged, or sad or weary, but you are still trying to make a home.
*If you are severely depressed or the dark days never end, please talk to a doctor.
The Only Way Through is Through
If you are struggling with depression or discouragement, I have found that you can’t rush it. You can’t just climb out of the dark place, you have to walk through it, one step at a time. But you are not alone. You have the Holy Spirit with you as a guide. Which brings me to my next thing…
Ask the Holy Spirit
Sometimes I forget that I have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of me and that I can ask Him what is going on. The Scriptures say the the Holy Spirit is my counselor, comforter, guide, and advocate. I have access to His wisdom. “What is going on here? Help me? Comfort me, guide me, show me the way I should go with this.” I do not have to go through the dark times alone.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
I have a tendency to crawl away and hide when I’m feeling depressed. I don’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone, and I really don’t want to inconvenience anyone. What a lie from the enemy! God gives us friends and relationships and puts people around us because life is hard and we need each other. When I try and hide away, my friends hunt me down. Sometimes I lie to them and say I’m fine, but they know. It’s so good to be honest and vulnerable, because they offer lifegiving words to my weary bones. They speak truth over the lies I tell myself. They bring me flowers or coffee, or just listen to me. If you are feeling discouraged and you want to hide away, call someone. Talk to your husband. Reach out to someone.
Ask for Help
If the laundry is piling up along with the dishes, ask for help. Can your husband or a friend or your kids help out? Even something, some help, is better than nothing.
Do One Thing
My friend Joanna reminded me recently that when she is feeling down, she tries to do just one thing. She said to me, “I operated under the false assumption that I had to feel like cleaning my house.” When she doesn’t feel like cleaning, she purposes to do just one thing. Sometimes that’s all we can accomplish. That’s okay. One thing.
Be Gentle With Yourself
It is so easy to beat up on yourself during the dark times. I always feel like a failure when I’m in the dark, and I speak words of failure over myself. No good. The enemy will whisper lies to you and you will believe them so easily when you are harsh with yourself. God is kind and gentle, He is our gentle Father, and gentleness is all throughout the Scriptures. How can we be gentle with others if we can’t first be gentle with ourselves? Friend, in the dark times, speak kind words to yourself, listen to the truth, and cut yourself some slack. Be gentle with who you are and where you are. You are loved and looked upon with compassion. Try and see yourself through those kind of eyes, the compassionate kind.
Slow & Steady
There are no rules with how you have to clean your home. We are all different, and we all go through different seasons, and during the dark ones, take it extra slow and steady. No rush. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Slow, seek Him in the still place. Steady, lean on the firm One.
Ask God if There is Something You Need to Repent Of
During my time of depression last fall, I kept telling one friend of mine that even though I felt so sad, I could still feel God’s kindness all around me, it was so odd. I kept repeating to her how kind God was, and she said, “I hear you keep using that word, kind. Look at this.” And she opened up the Scriptures to Romans 2:4, “…the kindness of God leads you to repentance…” I was familiar with the verse, but hadn’t thought about it. Could there be something I maybe needed to repent of? I asked the Lord, and I was very encouraged to be reminded that He is not mean or punishing to me, but gentle and kind, especially when leading me to something I need to repent of. And here’s the thing about repentance, it isn’t always something a thing, like spending less time online, or quitting yelling at your kids, or whatever. It might be an attitude. You might need to repent of trying to fix yourself. Or maybe you need to repent of believing lies. I don’t know, but I do know that if you’re discouraged yet you feel God’s kindness all around you, perhaps you can just ask Him, “Is there anything I need to repent of?” There might not be anything at all, but there might be.
If you can swing it, buy some cheery flowers to put on your dining room table. There is something about flowers that brighten the soul.
When the dark times come, and likely they will continue from time to time, and I know I have to just walk through them, I listen to worship music. I let the words of truth and praise wash over me, and I sing them back to God because even in the dark times, He is with me and He is light. I encourage you not to listen to music that holds you down in the dark, but praise God instead; let your soul be lifted.
“Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God. Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 43:4,5
With love and compassion, Sarah Mae
You will find gentle encouragement from a friend in my new book, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way.
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