"It seems the last thing we do when depressed is turn to God. But for believers, He should never be the place of 'last resort.' " - Jim Reimann
Well, not today, but I have been there, believe me. It's like I see this pattern in my life and I hate it, but can't break out of it sometimes. I have been desperate, discouraged, depressed, disparaging, and pretty much every other d- word you want to add, all at the same time, spiraling me down into a pit of darkness that seems to be without escape, once again. And I see myself falling, as if watching myself outside of myself, and do you know what myself does? She scrambles for everything but Jesus.
Sweets, sleep, venting to friends, taking my frustration out on my husband or kids, caffeine, exercise, obsessive cleaning, crafting, weeping, scrounging, web-wandering - and tons of other attempts to take my own comfort into my own hands and will myself to feel better and do better and be enough ... shew! I'm exhausted just thinking about it, aren't you?
I've learned a break-out-of-the-spiral-free trick, though. At first it took me getting all the way down to the bottom and having to cry out to Him in desperation, but through constant practice I've been trained my the Master in the fine art of how not to scramble, how not to use Jesus as a last resort. Because that's just ridiculousness, that's what it is!
Why would we ever choose to make turning to God our last resort when He is the One who offers it best, most, and to the uttermost?
"God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort." -2 Corinthians 1:3b (NLT)
And my trick? You guessed it -
Because since I started counting my gifts from God, the ways He loves me and gives me little pieces of joy every. single. day., well - since gratitude became my habit, I find the comfort I need at the top of the spiraling slide instead of at the bottom of the dark pit, and I find He gives me the strength to step back from the edge and rest in His arms without having to go through the exhaustion. And while I know I have been and can still be guilty at times of choosing Jesus as my last resort, I have also found that it doesn't HAVE to be that way. The other day I felt it - the onset of another cloud of depression. Instead of clawing for comfort with my hands, though, I chose to open them. To look at what He was giving just then, and thank Him for it. Write it in my running journal (I just passed #4,000 this week and had to make myself journal #13 -sooo lucky!), and keep counting the comforts from the Source of all comfort, My Father.
And lest you go jumping off the conclusion bridge and think I'm bragging or something insane like that, let me just tell you - it's not me. He had to do this, show me this, teach me this, give me this. I would not know this anti-depressant called gratitude if not for my Savior and His glorious love-grace. I would know no comfort outside of His, and yet because I do know it - I would really like to share it with you too.
So here are a few of my counted blessings, for which I've chosen to thank and praise the only One worthy, and I hope you are counting by now too. Because that spiral to darkness and despair is not one I'd wish on my worst enemy, much less my precious reader. Count with me, Dear One. This gratitude is our tether to hope. Let us choose to make Him what He is - the Alpha and Omega, our first, last, and only resort for comfort.
- fluffy snowflakes, and the courageous song of one bird this morning
- hugging J tight before he goes off to school, and these arms to hold him
- "... no one has ever done more to show you the you were unloved than God has done to show you that you are loved." - Beth Moore, on the sin of unbelief [in Breaking Free]
- laughing with T about our common difficulty with people who don't finish their sentences
- this novel on my Nook, and enjoyment of a page-turner
- the warmth beneath heavy blankets
- the privilege of helping my Guy
- for this sustained focus in my thoughts on heaven and on You - it's been weeks now ...
- for Your forgiveness again today, and Your Blood that cleanses to the uttermost
- sharing a verse with K on our new chalkboard
- the privilege to write for others who ask
- "I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." -Isaiah 48:10 (NLT)
Lord, once again this is my gratitude - not only my survival tether, but my worship - and the benefits go both ways until we are united as one in this dance of grace. I ask that You help keep me here, and show others the way to make You the first resort to comfort instead of the last. You are so worthy, Father. And we are so thankful. Amen
photo credit: Donna Brok
Care to share a couple of your counted blessing-tethers also? Please slip them right into the comments box below, and add your praises rising...