“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” – Psalm 30:11-12
So now you find yourself back in that familiar slump. You’re staying in your house all day; you’re lying in bed longer than societally appropriate; you’ve resorted to eating the junk sitting on the pantry shelves; you’re not interacting with anybody; you’ve lost your exercise, work, health, food, sleep, and care routine completely.
Life is starting to go numb.
You didn’t mean for this to happen – you never do. But this time it’s different. This time, the world is experiencing a pandemic and you’re being required to cut off all social interactions. You’re being required to stay inside and not go to work. The healthy routine you created has completely fallen apart. And, now, it’s like you have to start all over again. Isn’t it interesting that the longer you stay in bed, the less you move around, and the less you see people, the less energy you have?
During this time, it’s so hard to not fall back into the old ways of depression while you’re being required to do all the things that are symptoms of this sickness. That is why, in this time, there are two things that are so important for you to grasp:
- Understand God’s Grace
Whether you’re feeling depression start to creep back into your life or you’re completely sunk in the middle of it, know that God’s love and grace for you never change. It’s so human to fluctuate spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s so human to go through seasons continually. But God. Never. Changes. The same God on the mountaintop, that may feel so far away, is in the valley now with you. Read through Psalm 143 – a psalm of lament written by David titled “My Soul Thirsts for You.” The Psalms are an amazing book to read through when you’re experiencing depression. In doing so, you journey with David and the writers through those seasons. Some psalms are praises to the Lord written out of victory! And some are written from a cave, alone, in hiding for his life to be spared.
It is okay to read through Psalm 143, that psalm of lament, and think, “that’s me.” It is okay to not be okay. And it is healthy to understand God’s grace in the midst of it all. When your soul is aching- when your soul is thirsting, go to GOD. If you continue to numb yourself with things that will temporarily ease the thirst, you will soon realize those are empty, broken cisterns. But if you go to God in your time of desperation, you will find that He is a living well that will completely satisfy your thirst, despite your circumstances.
Now read Psalm 30, another psalm of David called “Joy Comes with the Morning.” Your life might feel “crushed to the ground” (Psalm 143:3), but as Psalm 30:9 says, even the dust in the bottom of the pit will praise the Lord. This is the beauty and the working of His grace and love. He turns ashes into beauty and mourning into dancing. This is not forever. You will dance again because He is in the valley, in the pit, with you. Joy comes with the morning.
- Establish a Healthy Routine
This might sound like the last thing you want to do right now. But it’s also probably the very thing you need to do. As easy as it is to throw away a sleep schedule when you have nowhere to be for weeks, try to establish a strict one! So many studies have shown that sleep is vital for one’s physical and emotional health, and getting to bed at a good time will help you tremendously. In addition, as hard as it is, get out of bed when you wake up in the morning. Try your best to fight against laziness in this time. Get ready for your day. Even if no one is going to see you, it’s a great routine-building activity that will make you feel good, look good, and give you a sense of accomplishment. Clean your home, make your bed, and cook yourself food. The key to living physically and emotionally healthy during social distancing is those small accomplishments. They might seem so minor, but they definitely will add up and make you feel productive. Use technology to interact with people virtually – without mindlessly scrolling through the endless platforms in technology. Go outside! Go for a walk, talk to God, and spend the extra moments in the day in His presence.
A prayer for you:
Thank you for your constant goodness, continuous grace, and unrelenting love. Lord, please reveal yourself to me in this valley. I ask for your presence to meet me here right now. Teach me what it means to seek you and praise you in the midst of hurting. Turn my morning into dancing and give me a godly perspective. Lord, give me the strength to wake up every day and complete the tasks at hand – from small to big. I pray for miraculous joy and motivation to meet me every morning. Open my eyes to allow me to find You in new ways. I praise you for who You are and for all that You will do.