Most of us have traditions, or things we have to do that we simultaneously enjoy. Or we have hobbies. For me, I LOVE playing guitar. It keeps me going. I also love my job, and I know I’m blessed to have one that I feel that way about. Too many people hate their jobs.
When I was a kid, I had a best friend who invented a game with me called Catnip. It was really just tag, but one of us was the mouse, and the other played a cat. I usually ended up being the mouse. I would hide somewhere while she looked for me. Except, the only good place to hide was in the big tractor tires (only in Kentucky are tractor tires considered playground equipment). There were three laying on their side, and three more stuck upright and halfway into the ground. They were really the only places you could hide. She would usually find me in one of the tires. As we got older, we played it less and less. It just didn’t offer the same excitement that it used to.
And that’s kinda what depression is like. You have a moment when you wake up and realize you’re sitting inside a tire, and you don’t know why. It’s not doing for you what it used to. So you start asking yourself the hard questions. Why am I doing this? What’s the point? Then you decide it’s not worth it anymore, so you want to get out of the tire. But then the problem becomes that you don’t get out. Because you wouldn’t know where to go if you ever did.
People don’t understand. The ones still in the tires and still loving life don’t understand why you don’t enjoy the tires anymore. They say things like, “I know exactly how you feel. But, it’s just part of the tire!” Or “I know it’s smelly and dirty. You just have to find a new tire.” “The tire is always darkest before dawn!” My favorite is when they offer solutions that aren’t even remotely related to your problem.
Me: “I don’t enjoy playing in the tires anymore.”
Friend: “Don’t worry! We’ll find your tire.”
Me: “No, I know where the tire is. I just don’t want to be in it anymore.”
Friend: “Do you remember what playground it was on?”
Me: “No, see… This is not the solution to my problem.”
So you get frustrated and angry, wondering why nobody else understands how these tires are so black and stupid-looking. Why can’t they see? Since you can’t get anyone to understand, and stop caring if they do or not, you retreat into a place that’s just barely a step above existing; where you sleep until five on a Saturday, and you think you might want to order a pizza, but then realize it’d be too much work to get up to go to the door once it arrives. You get home from your meaningless job, go straight to your meaningless bed, watch a meaningless marathon of Cops, and sleep a meaningless sleep. Then you have to get up and do it all over again. And you’re tired. Not tired like sleepy, but a different kind of tired. It scares you how tired you are.
You put on the face that tells everyone you’re happy and normal. You become very conscious of the words you say, since saying the wrong thing is a dead giveaway to the fact that you’re a fraud.
You might feel nothing, or you might feel sad. You gotta give into something, and feeling sad is better than nothing. So you go with it.
You make peace with the fact that nobody understands, and nobody will.
Lying gets old, quick. You decide the next person to ask “How are you?” is going to get slapped.
If you’re in a tire (and by that, I mean “among the living”), and your tire really sucks, I know there isn’t much that can be said to really make the tire roomier, less smelly, or less dark. But, here’s what we know based on scripture. And from my heart, I mean it when I say I hope it offers some level of comfort.
First… God loves you. WordPress doesn’t offer me enough memory to quote every Bible verse that says so. Jesus DIED for you, and by no means did he die a quick and painless death. It hurt.
Secondly, where you are right now is of no surprise to God. You aren’t a shock to Him. He isn’t appalled. When Jesus walked the earth, his message wasn’t of condemnation, nor was it of impending doom. He was never interested in healthy people. And in reality, we’re all sick. Some sicker than others… But that was the GOOD NEWS that he came to give! In Romans, Paul summed up in one verse what Jesus came to accomplish; that NOTHING, no minion of hell, no sin, no heights or depths, could pluck us from the hand of the Father. That means that no matter what you’ve done, or what’s been done to you, and no matter how horrible it is, you aren’t too far gone.
Finally – and I can’t stress this enough – there is no cure in religion. (For that matter, there is nothing worthwhile in religion. Jesus had no problem telling the Pharisees that.) Too many pastors are pitching Jesus to be Mr. Fix-It. Yes, he heals and restores, but he did not come to change your circumstances. He came to change you. By trusting him fully in every groove of the tire, you will have an abundance in life. His grace is sufficient for you, and because it’s sufficient, you will have peace that passes all understanding.
God loves you. And so do I. Rest in Him. And because He promises, I promise as well, you can do this.