Some days I feel tricked into thinking that life is good, but then I remember that God never really promised me a good life or even a successful life. He just promised me a full life and its up to me to lean into that and take advantage of my time in the good and bad.
I was labeled a depressive when I was a kid and always knew I was on the angry side, but it wasn't until I hit my thirties that I realized that people had categories for people like me. Here I was thinking that most of us were all the same and I was just having a hard time figuring my way through my past hurts/abuse. Turns out I have my own category: depressive/ melancholy.
I was staying with a host family in Raleigh - wealthy family and the dad was a real, type-A go-getter. Really good guy, but after a few conversations he said, "you know... you need to be careful as a melancholy not to spend too much time doing X and Y". I kind of chuckled but I realized that melancholy wasn't a good term to him and he wanted me to realize that melancholys needed to incorporate special tasks not to suck too much of the good air from the sky from the rest of the population. Again, a well meaning person but someone who really couldn't understand that the route for me was riddled with trauma and so linear models wouldn't work.
In Shawn Achor's book, The Happiness Advantage, he outlines the process of positive psychology where psychologists broke the mantra of traditional psychology, raising the bar beyond normal to exceptional. Instead of getting folks back to "normal" they posited that even depressed and miserable people could become exceptional - they just needed and a clear field of focus, tools and encouragement to succeed. "Focus[ing] on what makes people unhappy and return[ing] them to 'normal'" is the mantra that has given me backache for the past 40 years. What a stupid heavy monkey to carry around.
This is probably why I am so focused on helping to bring freedom to people - after spending so much of life in bondage to man-made theories I was able to taste enough grace to see that life for me and recovery for me was about redemption and not some linear formula to get me back to "normal" - F*&% normal and F@#$ that process. All that time spent listening and acting on others peoples opinions just left me in a deeper depression and constant fatigue.
A Big Life and yes, even a Big (Blue) Life means a life of recovery without having to use/climb a ladder - I can ascend and become who I was meant to be by receiving God's grace and living a supernatural life where healing is the very byproduct of my time with Him (and not some thing I pursue on its own).
I have spent many years in counseling and am not referring to the truths afforded me by counselors. My counselors have helped me more than i can describe but the truth is there isn't enough money on the planet to pay for enough counseling to get me back to normal. I need to drive in a different lane altogether and see the supernatural life afforded me.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
I hope this encourages you. Our stories may not be the same but we have the same call on our lives, to become, and to bring others with us.
If your mental health is like mine - tied to the frustrations of not meeting up to worldly standards it's probably time to quiet things down and let Jesus become the loudest voice in your head. It's easy to say but its true - His standard is the only one that matters. His thoughts about me are the only thoughts that count.
I have not figured it all out yet but I'm doing my best to slow down and spend time in silence with Jesus. I think its the most profitable thing I can do because I know worship comes naturally from that time and the mud of my identity clears up as well.
Please let me know if I can ever be of help to you. Folks in the church mean well but sometimes don't know what to do with people who have suffered trauma. If you feel stuck or misunderstood, feel free to reach out. Thanks for reading - more to come!