I am depressed today.
A more accurate statement would be, “Today I experience spiritual dryness, “desolation”, rather than my accustomed “consolation”.
Upon examination, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing at all wrong. One normally thinks of such times being associated with sin, with rebellion of some sort. Or receiving bad news. Or being upset by something, rejected by someone, frustrated in some way… Any of that… All of that.
But, upon a fairly comprehensive self-assessment and examination… Nope, none of that. No explanation. It is what it is… the interior meteorology of my spirit is simply… “mostly cloudy with chance of freezing rain, with forecast of more shadowy darkness in the immediate future.”
Bottom line: My accustomed cats are not bouncy, but rather morose and whiny today.
My response? “Isn’t that wonderful!”
What DID I do about it? Checked with Jesus to see if there was anything out of order I was, or am, supposed to address.
What did He say? “Nope, everything is fine. Today just is what it is…”
So what AM I doing about it? Absolutely nothing. I am going on with my day, yet traveling down the road, pedaling my bicycle just as every other day.
I may have to WORK a little harder at it than usual… I’m accustomed to feeling the “wind at my back” most days, and today it is absent, or seems to be blowing in my face. But that’s OK. Stuff may be a little more uphill than normal, but that’s OK, too.
This, is proper and balanced life, letting Him dictate the route and the terrain. I may like “perpetual downhill”, but coasting forever doesn’t grow me. I may prefer all landscapes to be sunshine, grassy glades, and wildflowers… but some landscapes are just desolate, and He never promised to shelter me, wrapped in Bubble Wrap.
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When I said, “Isn’t that Wonderful?” in this Title, there was no sarcasm there at all. I mean that absolutely.
I am determined to praise, pray, intercede, work, share… and reflect the “joy of the Lord”, and the unutterable privilege of being His Child, WITHOUT DIFFERENCE between this “gray” day and the “golden” ones.
HE is no different. I am no less blessed, and He bestows no less grace this day than any other. And I would much rather praise and honor Him, as Him, for Himself… than just “effervesce” as a side-effect of spiritual jubilation. Now, do I ENJOY those bubbles? Heavens yes! I enjoy all that tremendously.
But, I don’t want to be addicted to the bubbles. I don’t want to pray, praise, worship, out of my attachment to the “holy feelings” of devotion. I do not SEEK such “gray days” as this… but I will still thank Him when He grants them to me.
These are the days I get to be truly free! When we pray, praise, worship, exercise our devotions WITHOUT the sensible graces of consolation… they come from deep inside us, from the place our hearts are grounded, from the place we experience Love.
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One day, I would have tried to “talk about” this… teach on this… this Desolation/Consolation thing is a big fundamental truth in Spiritual Direction.
God is so much smarter than I… now I will not have to do that.
Here it is. *lays this Desolation down on the table between us*
There it is. There’s what it looks like. There’s what it feels like (kinda like the two days before you come down with the flu.) And you can recognize it. You’ve had it. You’ve experienced it.
So now you know everything I have to say about the “Care and Feeding of a Desolation/Depression”. Just embrace it. See if it has a meaningful message for you. Take it to Jesus and see if He has a comment. If not, just thank Him for it, and move through your day as if you felt Great Consolation and Joy.
The Enemy would like us to think this means something is wrong. That is a lie. This means something is very right… we pedal on in the face of the wind, and we GROW in Him.
Grace to you, beloved brethren and Gentle Readers! No comfort called for, just breathing up hill a little harder than usual.