Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD The truth is, right now, I am exhausted, I am one giant emotion, and I have nothing to attribute the reasons to. My hormones are a confusing mess, it is not "that time of month," and I am not pregnant. My thyroid is fine. Simply, life feels like chaos; and that is because it is.

Who ever said life on this earth would be easy?

Certainly not Jesus. And He is who I look to for guidance.

The truth is, right now, I feel as though I am suffocating and gasping for air. I feel weary and tired, always ready to fall asleep, but when the time comes to lay my head on the pillow all of the worries and cares and burdens of those I love and spend time with come flooding into my brain all at once. As well as the long list of to do's, the ways we should change our life, the cool ideas to implement for our church, and many humans who I wish I could meet with. It is as though my mind's cue to run at full speed is the comfort of a cozy pillow.

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The truth is, right now, the weather is my favorite but is also my body's nemesis. I love the colors of every leaf, the temperature invites a scarf, and I do love walking with a warm something in my hand. But something happens during these darker months - you can look it up, its science - where people struggle a little more than they would throughout the year. Let's talk about it, not hide it. Let's shine light on it, so that it doesn't grow scarier in the dark. "Mushrooms only grow in the dark." SAD, seasonal affective disorder, is a real thing and doesn't have to be this big and dark hidden secret. Especially among Christians.

Though I am fickle and my emotions and hormones and feelings are often unpredictable, Jesus is not. Jesus, my God and my Lord, is stable, steadfast, reliable, and so extremely loving. This is the key to my finding peace among the angst, joy amidst the despair: that He loves me, that my weakness is not what defines me, and that I get to experience His grace on a deeper level when I fall into these pits. I am made in the image of God, as is every human being who has ever walked the planet Earth. Or the moon. He has called my by name, He has said I am beloved, and He is my defining value. He is my Redeemer. He brings joy in the darkest nights and hope in the dreariest days. My friends, He is real. This is not some made up thing for the weak- though I am so very weak. But in my weakness, He is made strong, and He works in me.

We get to experience His grace deeper when we are falling apart & broken messes, because even when we are those things, He loves us perfectly.

Jesus did not tell us to hide our despair or wear a facade of okay-ness. In fact, He invites us into this place of freedom called Honesty. An honesty that faces the facts and then moves forward, pursuing His heart in every situation.

The Truth is, I have a lot to celebrate, a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to praise Jesus for. I have food multiple times a day, I have a warm shelter, I have clothes to choose from and create outfits with. These are some of the most obvious things. I have a team of people that I get to call family and coworkers, team members and pastors, and we are honest about this real struggle and have opened it up for discussion: that is celebratory. This church I am a part of is something else, I must say. More reasons for thanksgiving: I have three of the most blessed jobs: shepherding people I love and building them up and pointing towards Jesus, Doula-ing and supporting families during child birth, Photography and capturing beautiful humans with a camera. But here I am, still battling down-in-the-dumpness. And together, me and you and our church communities, we can point one another to our King, to our Healer, to our true source of actual Joy.

This is a vulnerable and risky thing, sharing my heart on the internet. But to me, it is worth it, if it means one more person has a bigger glimpse of what it means to follow Jesus. If one more person has a deeper glimpse at His love and the life He craves to offer, it is worth the risk; because friends, we need this Life. You need this Life. We need His love to live fully, and not just survive. He is our answer and I hope you'll join me in discovering His heart for us, individually & collectively.

psalm 43

Read here some tips for battling the weather blues.

"Three times He said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."

2 Corinthians 12:9

"His grace is enough for you: you are okay, just as you are. Tears, shortcomings, strengths, all. His power is demonstrated through times of weaknesses, so they are okay. And you are okay. It is a relief to remember that and that it is okay to not be perfect. In fact, the times of depending upon grace when we are imperfect are the more beautiful powerful times. Not so much the seemingly 'perfect' times." A piece of encouragement from my friend to me and now to you.

A note to those in ministry:

Acknowledging that sometimes the circumstances in life are hard to deal with.   The demands of ministry are hard, the constant rejection is hard to not take personal, and this is a season where our bodies and minds have a hard time adjusting and handling those pressures.

A key to overcoming depression isn't just being reminded of how you should feel, because then you just feel worse for not feeling how you know you should feel.  It is reminding ourselves and each other of Jesus and how loved we are, acknowledging and validating each other's feelings and helping to get each other active in using our gifts in selflessness.

Learning that being broken is the norm and leaning into Him is freeing;

Natalie