When I’m depressed, I slow. I slow beyond the healthy slowing down that one might associate with resting or relaxation. My brain feels foggy, like I’m looking at the world, and moving through, a thick mist. I know that people are there, that things are there to be done, but some part of me doesn’t engage with them anymore. Activities are colourless. I wrestle constantly with the fog, with the being not quite there, to try and get things done. I often fail and end up feeling lower. To make the effort of prayer feels meaningless. ‘You’re no good to God’, say the voices in my head. ‘He’s had enough of the sadness now. You’re pathetic’.
I’ve been here before. And last time I was here I read a lot of Joni Eareckson Tada’s writings, and they made sense, and I started to learn how to be real with God; to just be with Him if that was all I could do. Joni’s writings lifted me then, why not now?
So, this week, I went back to Joni’s story. I found her film online in German (as it’s not available as a region 2 DVD in English) and watched it. I’d not seen it before. It being in German, with no subtitles in any language, was a challenge – but only one that forced me to pay attention to it in a different way. I watched Joni battle with God in the aftermath of her diving accident, and saw something of her new understanding of God’s healing and grace. Started to think that maybe God can use my depression to bring me closer to Him.
And I felt encouraged. As Joni said in a later testimony – we don’t know why we suffer pain or distress – and God doesn’t give us answers or explanations – even when we ask for them. He simply holds us through it, as any father would. I need to remember that I am held by a loving God. I need to be consciously prayerful even when I am tired and low.