Welcome to the middle of January: the “Monday” month of the year. Christmas has come and gone, people have taken down their outside, twinkly lights from their houses, life’s routines have set back in, and the world even physically appears rather dreary. And for anyone not currently living their “happily ever after,” February’s main holiday stares at us, unforgiving and unwavering.

May not exactly have you wanting to greet every morning with a smile and a song, does it?

I am reading through Ecclesiastes at the moment, and I came across its famous “A Time For” chapter. While it’s super easy to glance over this list of opposites, verse four stuck out to me this time. “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecc. 3:4 NLT)

I learned a few years ago that my family, both sides, have a history of depression. It was an enlightening moment of clarity that explained several occurrences in my past.  When I was in school, my third quarter grades would always suffer, because I was lethargic. Winter always made me feel really tired. I learned about the sun giving us that vitamin D and the winter clouds hiding that from us from my small group when I was in college.

Recognizing my depression has helped me understand myself better, meaning who God created me to be. As God made different parts of the body, He made His children with different gifts, personalities, and perspectives to work together as part of His body, being His church (Ephesians 4:15-16).

When one part of the body hurts, it’s sending a message to the brain that something is wrong.  When I let my depression take control of me, I need to recognize those symptoms and treat them.

Let me take a moment/paragraph to clarify, I am not diagnosed as depressed.  I do not take medication. I don’t have the knowledge to condemn or belittle anyone who takes medicine to help fight their depression; I simply don’t know otherwise. But I know this: I am poised on a path that, if followed, could lead me to a deadly downward spiral if I do not guard myself.

We all are.

You know your struggles.  You know what battle you’re fighting. Don’t get so distracted by fighting the symptoms that you don’t treat the root issue. Symptoms are signs; they help us know what is going wrong. Treating symptoms alone while ignoring the problem causing them will not lead to healing. Symptoms can be a distraction; that’s what Satan wants.

My depression, personally, can indicate several deficiencies: I’m not spending enough time with God, I’m not active enough (exercise or daily household habits…or [often] both), I’m not investing in others as I should be, or I’ve lost sight of my true purpose in this world.

There’s a time and a purpose for everything.  Pain tells us that something is not right.  Scars remind us of lessons learned the hard way.  Hope helps us to persevere, remembering this world and its struggles are temporary. Joy gives us strength and happiness, and best shared with others, so there is delight along the journey.

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