This fall has been so filled with to-do lists that I feel like I’m living in a perpetual corn maze. There is no satisfaction in checking items off the list, because once an item is completed, another one is added. And the stuff on the list feels dead to me. Life-less and soul-sucking.
Don’t get me wrong. There have been many happy moments, like watching my daughter revel in the fellowship of her friends at her 10th birthday party. Like receiving more frequent hugs from my ‘tween’ son, who has seemed especially intuitive and sensitive lately. And like listening to my kindergartener read his first words. “Mommy – It says, ‘I can go.’ See? ‘I can go!'” Yes, indeed. Look at them go.
But so much of my time is wrapped up in doing for them that I often end up feeling depleted. I know that what helps more than anything else is to sit still and talk to the Lord. But sometimes, even then, I find myself offering up a litany of requests instead of praises. Praise and gratitude are the keys to re-turning my heart in the direction of all that’s Good and Pure and Loving…all that’s coming from Him Who is greater than everything in the world, and in me.
Yet, this is very hard when I just feel downtrodden, and put upon. Like I’m being pecked to death. If I’m not careful this kind of mood can really get away from me and I can become a fairly unlikeable wife and mother. Not that you’d know it, if you don’t live with me. But I have suffered bouts of depression and carried others down with me. It’s a brutal state, and a slippery slope. And it’s dangerous because it can be hidden. And for me, it starts with too many days passing like this.
Mind you, like most people, I can get myself dressed, fix my hair and makeup, and put on happy mask. I can smile at you in the supermarket so you’ll end up thinking, “She’s got it together today.”
But He who sees it all knows what’s really going on.
I cried out to him for the second time this morning, well after my regular prayers, and after I’d spent a couple hours at the computer and around the house, slogging through tasks as if a heavy bucket of woes was hanging from my neck.
I asked him to use my Bible. To please, speak to me.
I dropped it open and read where it fell, frantic for a message. As my heart raced and I scanned the page, I read over a section in Sirach Chapter 31 that just didn’t seem to apply at all. Growing frustrated, I heard that whisper. “Look again.”
Just one column over, in Chapter 30, under “Health of Soul and Body,” the Word came alive for me:
Do not give in to sadness, torment not yourself with brooding;
Gladness of heart is the very life of man, cheerfulness prolongs his days.
Distract yourself, renew your courage, drive resentment far away from you;
For worry has brought death to many, nor is there aught to be gained from resentment.
Envy and anger shorten one’s life, worry bring’s on premature old age.
– Sirach 30:21-24
I realized, I was given this Sacred Scripture as my prayer for today. Perhaps you need to pray these words too.
You are all powerful. You are All Mighty. There is literally nothing You cannot do.
You breathe Life into the dead and heal the afflicted.
Please save me from sadness and brooding.
Renew my heart with gladness and joy.
Strengthen me with Your Resurrection Power.
Drive my worries far away.
I trust in You.
I believe in You.
You are sovereign over everything – seen and unseen.
You are Lord.