Walking Out Depression

It has been hard to get out of the house and I finally had to admit that I have been struggling with depression. I knew something was off when I no longer had interest in the things that delight me–mostly being around other people and taking those walks that I had committed to for this blog.

I know what depression feels like. I have experienced it before. I know many of you have too, or someone close to you has. For me,

  • Depression isn’t just feeling a bit down. It is feeling like no matter what you do you can’t get up.
  • Depression isn’t just feeling grief after the loss of a loved one. It is feeling as if life will never be whole again, and you don’t care. You just don’t care.
  • Depression isn’t being tired and staying in bed. It is wanting desperately to get up and yet the best you can do is make it to the bathroom and back to your bed.
  • Depression isn’t just skipping events to which you committed to attending. It is wanting so much to see people and yet being so sad that you can’t imagine getting dressed and putting on your happy face.
  • Depression isn’t about feeing sad and overly emotional. It is sitting on the edge of the bed and crying and you don’t know why because all you did was wake up.

It can take some courage to recognize the symptoms and ask for help. Unlike other illnesses, there is a conflict between shame and pride associated with depression. Sometimes well meaning friends try to cheer you up and get you past a down period. Religious leaders are often ill-equipped to diagnose or treat depression. And the communities in which we live frequently don’t have the patience to support someone with a ‘hidden’ illness. And more often, our pride stops us from sharing with others that we are living with depression, even if we are undergoing counseling or taking medication.

My life is better this week. I have the support of my closest friends and family. I’m doing what I need to get better and each day I feel a little more like myself. And I finally got out the door and into nature. I have to take the steps back to normal living and make the most of my treatment plan to find my center again. 

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Lewinsville House, 1659 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, VA

I was amazed by the simple beauty of the world just a mile away from my home. I found a touch of God out there as I walked with a friend and our dog. I found that my inner spirit was renewed in the midst of God’s creation.

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I walked in gardens planted and felt a new being breaking through. The bright colors of flowers coming into bloom. The promise of second chances and renewed life.

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Take the walk. Let the wonder of the world open your heart and lighten your journey into healing.

Sit. Rest. Be.

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If you think something might not be quite right in our life, I encourage you to seek professional help–start with your family physician. Let people close to you know that you are grappling with depression so they can encourage you and walk in your recovery journey. Be brave enough to ask for prayer and to seek out spiritual healing and direction.

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And remember to keep walking. One foot in front of the other. Out the door. Down the street. Around and over the rocky parts. Into the garden of new life.

Walking with the Light,

Maggie

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Walking Outside the Lines

I’m a rules person. I try not to drive more then the ‘acceptable’ five miles an hour over the speed limit. I try be on time (meaning early) for my appointments. I don’t lie about my age to get a cheaper rate; nor did I ever do that for with my child. I want people to think well of me and see me a ‘virtuous’ or ‘law-abiding.’

I’m also a horrific sinner. Yup, me the ‘rules girl’ have broken all the rules, one way or another. And for many years I have carried the guilt and shame of my past with me. Yes, I have confessed most of those lapses in following the rules and as open as I have been about God’s forgiveness of my actions, I still let them define me. I still stopped short of embracing my ministry because someone might unearth and reveal my sins for the world.

Fear can be so crippling. If we let it, it will run our lives. It will cause us to do things out of emotional blackmail and often drive us to make poor decisions, or worse yet, no decision. It can stop us from stepping into the life God intends for us  (a calling) because we think we aren’t good enough, not worthy to stand, or that our past has left us irreparably damaged. Continue reading

Living Single

Living single is not always easy. Single, no matter if you are there because you never married, divorced, or lost a spouse, has challenges that most marrieds don’t appreciate. Sure, we have freedom to do what we want to do when we want to do it, but we live in a world  that focuses on married or coupled people and often we can feel excluded.

Single means making our own decisions. It means not having that spouse to turn to and discuss an upcoming surgery. Single means asking all our friends for their advice and then making a decision. It often means nursing ourselves when we are ill and suffering alone because we don’t want to burden our friends.

Living single has its challenges and it has its blessings.

We have so much to offer. We have so many opportunities to live a life of giving and community. We have the ability to step out of our homes and develop new relationships with other singles just for the purpose of being friends linked through a passion. We are not a sorry bunch but a blessed bunch and we need to start living the lives that God has given us.

Singles need each other. We need to hear each other’s stories and to encourage one another during those dark days. We need to speak strength into our circumstances and embrace all that we can do because of our situation.  We need to look for opportunities to meet other singles and forge new uplifting relationships.

So get out their friends. Look for ministries in your religious organizations where you heart leads you to serve. Look for sporting events where you can meet other singles. Look around you and when you see another single sitting alone, go sit with them. When you hear of a sick single, call and offer help. When someone goes through a divorce or the loss of a spouse, walk with them until they are stronger.

We all have purpose no matter our circumstances. God can use us if we are willing to get over the notion that we are of less value than coupled people because we live alone. Be willing friends, be willing.

Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead (James 2)

 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 1Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,  and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless

 

Sunday Dance

I love hockey, basketball, and baseball. If I’m at a game I will surely be screaming when my team scores, dancing and singing silly sports songs, and raising my hands to cheer on my team. Most of my “Sunday friends” who are also sports fans, have little inhibition about clapping their hands and shouting to praise their team’s accomplishments. We yell out the name of our favorite player at bat, thinking he will somehow hear his name and be uplifted. We chant for our goalie. We wear shirts with our favorite player’s name for the world to see and will challenge anyone who doubts why we support that team or that player. I don’t know why this environment allows us to let loose or why it is we are so quick to celebrate the accomplishment of men or women in sports—but for many of us it is second nature.

I wish our Sunday dance was more like that. We dress up all proper and put on our best clothes for the day. We enter church with polite “hellos” and courteous smiles. We might laugh a little but the disapproving stares of some can quickly shut that down. We solemnly sing our songs of praise and close our books with the last note. Maybe we lift our hand for a verse or two. We listen quietly to the stories of the Bible and seldom do we just shout out the name “Jesus” to lift him up. Even when we are treated to someone’s story about God’s healing grace in their life; we nod and maybe respectfully clap our approval. We stifle the joy and excitement we should have for our Lord.

I have heard it said that some think this sports-like behavior is too undignified for church. Can you imagine if we all showed up wearing a jersey with the name “Jesus” on the back? It reminds me of David Crowder’s song “Undignified.” Every time I hear it I think how much I want to be that person when I worship Jesus—and not just at a faith event, but every day.

I will dance
I will sing
I will be mad
For my King
Nothing Lord, is hindering
This passion in my soul (Dave Crowder)

Just like David in 2 Samuel 6, I feel inspired to dance foolishly to celebrate before the Lord. When I consider the amazing things God has done in my life, I feel compelled to stand up and cheer when I hear his name mentioned. And when someone shares their story about God healing them, I want to leap to my feet and clap out loud to praise this wonderful thing. Yet, unless I’m at a Crowder concert or similar faith event, I tend to politely clap with the others around me.

I think it is time for us to loudly celebrate the forgiveness we have through Jesus Christ. I think it is time to shout a loud “AMEN” when we agree with what the Holy Spirit can do in our life. I think it is time to be a little undignified in church and remember that we are there to worship and praise our God. This is a happy exciting thing we get to do with other believers on Sunday. This is God’s place he has given us to celebrate him!! If I can whoop about my team scoring a point—I can whoop about Jesus saving my life!! I want my praise of Jesus to be second nature. I want to be like David and leap for joy at all he has and is doing in my life. I want others to see how exciting this life of following Jesus Christ really is!!

© maggiemarcum.com