Sometimes–sometimes, we become paralyzed.
We can be doing so well–cooking along at life, enjoying success after success (whatever that means, sheesh, how ugly and prideful!!!)–progress. Forward Movement. Firing on all cylinders. Meeting goal after goal. Impressing everyone. Inspiring everyone. (UGH)
Making the world laugh.
And then, things start to slide south.
No reason for it, really. At least, none that is clearly discernible. No real tragedy. No disaster, per se. In fact, life can be really good. Which can make it all the more bewildering.
And that’s what makes the slippery slope to depression so absolutely frustrating and irritating and maddening.
And culminates in this overwhelming sense of tremendous failure.
And we find ourselves a bit paralyzed.
When my crew was little, I used to make waterslides for them in our backyard–we had a huge hill in both Kansas City and Hawaii, so this was one of our favorite things to do. To make it even more fun, I’d coat the slide with a mix of baby oil and soap bubbles. It was treacherous though. We flew down those hills.
Such is the slope toward depression; and the magnetic pull toward things that only add oil and soap bubbles to the slippery slope.
We know what has to be done. But kicking ourselves in gear to do the things that need to be done—well, it’s hard to walk back uphill on oil and soap and through mud. I’ve tried it. Several times.
But there is much truth in these words from John Piper, referencing Psalm 126:
…I think the reason is not that sowing is sad, or that sowing is hard. I think the reason has nothing to do with sowing. Sowing is simply the work that has to be done even when there are things in life that make us cry. The crops won’t wait while we finish our grief or solve all our problems. If we are going to eat next winter we must get out in the field and sow the seed whether we are crying or not.
If you do that, the promise of the psalm is that “you will reap with shouts of joy.” You will “come home with shouts of joy, bringing your sheaves with you.” Not because the tears of sowing produce the joy of reaping, but because the sheer sowing produces the reaping, and you need to remember this even when your tears tempt you to give up sowing…..
‘Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written). I know you will wet my face several times today, but I have work to do and you will just have to go with me. I intend to take the bag of seeds and sow. If you come along then you will just have to wet the rows.”
It doesn’t have to be tears, necessarily. It could be a just a sense of extreme failure. Or irrational fear. So, then, one could say this: “Failure and fear, You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown…..a bed to be made, a document to be submitted, a meeting to attend……I believe, even though I do not yet see it or feel it fully….that joy will return based on scripture that is truth.”
Scripture is truth. Scripture is truth. Scripture is truth.
And sometimes, we just have to make the bed. And mop the floor. And attend our meetings. Do the things we know to do.
And pray for mercy.
~~Excerpt from Essay “Tears, I Feel You” by John Piper