Do you struggle with the perception of what has worth?
I’ve had a lot of thoughts going through my head over the past two weeks. I’ve been trying to keep them straight, make sense of them and find direction.
I know it is the ‘proper’ thing to do, as a blogger, to write an ‘end-of-year’ post and a ‘let’s-crush-this-next-year’ encouragement. I hate that:) I find it so typical.
The other day Ted even asked if I was going to do that. I quietly responded with an ‘I don’t know.’
Maybe it is that I don’t want to contribute, in any way, to what I perceive as false advertising with the Christmas season…where the world isn’t perfect and it just might not be the most wonderful time of year, despite all of the songs being shoved down our throats.
But here I am looking back on this past year and realizing some things. Let’s just pretend it is April and I’m just having an ‘ah-ha’ moment, shall we? Let’s leave this whole New Years thing out of the picture.
I think I have a skewed perception of what has worth.
All was going well until it wasn’t…true for everybody this year, I think. Covid shut down our lives and I went into over a 3 month lockdown of no work. This may shock you, but I LOVED that part of it.
We stayed home, Ted and I, with Summer always with us and Ted’s kids going back and forth between our place and their mom’s.
For me, it really strengthened our relationships, especially with Blake (Ted’s youngest) who I have struggled a bit more with. Boy, did we start to really enjoy each other.
One night Blake cried in bed and said she hated Covid.
I whispered to her, “Do you know why I’m thankful for it?” In tears, she asked “Why?”
“Because it brought you and me closer and I think that’s awesome.” She smiled and agreed.
I was hating everything about Covid, but even this simple conversation and realization changed my perception of what has worth.
During the whole lockdown, I took to heart something that I read in a devotional about a year earlier…that in order to heal your own sadness and emptiness you should try to heal someone else’s sadness and fill their emptiness a bit.
I think there is potential here…potential to be so much more than just the perception of what has worth.
I find when I’m depressed, I start drowning and choking with thoughts about me, my sadness and feelings and ‘how will I ever get out of this?’ I can’t get a breath.
So Summer and I started to force ourselves to make sugar cookies – over 100 every single week. All heart shaped.
When they were done we would arrange them in packages of a dozen or two, and get them prepped to be delivered. Sometimes she would come with me, but often I was just on my own which was okay too.
I would take them to people who I knew were having a hard time, whether it be depression like my own, or sickness or no work, or whatever other cards were being dealt to them.
One day I really didn’t want to do the 45 minute drive to one house and then 45 minutes back, but by this point, I knew that this mission had me coming home feeling something different. Joy. No joke. Cheesy word but true.
I felt satisfied when I would come home. It helped me to know that I had helped someone else, even if just for 30 seconds. So I did that 45 minute drive and it was worth it.
In fact, it helped to throw out my perception of what had worth for a while.
In fact, one woman who was particularly grateful, almost cried. Her husband has been fighting cancer for five years now and due to the pandemic he couldn’t get the treatment he was used to.
She waved so hard on the front porch I thought her shoulder was going to dislocate. She waved until our car was down the street and out of sight. The whole family was in the van that day and we just giggled.
To be honest, this gave me life. I’m not going to lie – the next morning it would be a challenge to get up again…to just get out from under the covers. This mission wasn’t a cure-all but it helped in small doses.
I promised myself that when I returned to work, I would keep up this Thursday mission.
But, alas, I’m a promise breaker. As soon as work resumed, it felt like there wasn’t enough time in the day and I let it go by the wayside.
This past fall I had one of my lowest depression cycles to date. I began toying with how I could stop myself from living and being a burden to everyone around me.
In my desperation to figure out why I was tanking so bad, it dawned on me. I even said it to Ted.
When I was doing that mission of trying to help others, it was my lifeline. Having abandoned that, I was now struggling with being completely ungrounded due to only focusing on myself.
I was only looking at me, at my reflection, at my own weaknesses. And when I look there, I’m not going to find any reprieve. It was time to get back to what had brought me some joy in the months before.
When I focus on me, my perception of what has worth gets messy.
So as another endeavor, I threw myself into my writing. I met with a literary agent and signed on with a writing academy. I started investing in this. The biggest step was that I started writing my story.
When I began, I thought my mission statement would be one specific thing that I had been mulling over but as I got deeper into it, God showed me that it was about something different entirely.
He opened my eyes to see that all of these years, since late elementary school,
I had been making choices based on my perception of what has worth…
what my worth was.
I was lost. And as I’ve been writing my story, so many people – women – have come to mind that I would want to share my message with because I think it would help them. God took me in a whole new direction.
It has been painful to remember a lot of these things that happened, but I also think I’m getting healing by seeing a purpose in it now.
So last week, that led me to thinking about my depression and I realized something there too.
Depression has worth too.
To say that it doesn’t, is to hand Satan the victory without even putting up a fight.
And then this morning I thought of this verse:
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:7-10
I can assure you that I have pleaded with the Lord more than three times to take my depression away but this depression led me on this search to find joy by giving to others.
This depression got me to speak openly in public about my struggles so others, who can relate, can know there is someone with them.
This depression breaks my heart to smithereens so that I see beauty in the world in a different way.
This depression has had me crying in my bed or in my closet or in my car where I have cried out to God and just sobbed and felt His amazing comfort. And because of that, I can speak to the fact that God’s comfort is real and beautiful.
I was listening to a song this morning where one line says, “Oh I have lived in the goodness of God.” And I realized that I have.
If life had gone perfectly with no bumps or scrapes, I would never have had the time to notice God. I would have been too distracted by all the shininess of my perfect life.
These speed bumps…yes they were shocking and jarring at times, but then I learned to slow down a bit more…see the beauty of God in all of the mess. Even the mess of depression. Yes, depression has worth. It does.
If we can learn to see that it has worth,
maybe we won’t feel like we have to hate it so much.
If I just keep on hating it, well, then Satan is laughing all the way to the bank. If he can keep us in our bed, or keep us in our pain or keep us looking for a knife to put to our wrist, then he wins because he convinced us to live as if depression was killing our life, not giving new meaning to it.
I guess I want to approach 2021 remembering this. I guarantee you that there will be days where I won’t want to get out of bed, or where I will hide in my closet and cry, or I will drive off from my family with no explanation so I can get away for a bit. I guarantee this.
But so long as I keep getting up and trying, then Satan doesn’t win and God gets a chance to reveal to me that my perception of what has worth is skewed. There IS value in this whole depression thing.
I’m currently listening to a song where it says:
All my life you have been faithful, all my life you have been so so good. With every breath that I am able, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God.
I don’t know what this year will bring me or bring you. This could be scary. So maybe my word for the year is ‘worth’. I will try to look for the worth in things.
To look for the worth in laying in the bed with nothing more in my tank. To look for the worth in being in lockdown for at least the next 4 weeks. For the worth in being tired and sad.
For the worth in having a heavy heart that only God is strong enough to carry.
And when I look for the worth, I hope I find it. And I hope I let God use it in me to do good things instead of letting Satan win by just giving up and hating it. I will not cave to that. I can’t. My hurt will not be wasted.
What do you think? I know this is longer than I normally write…sorry for that. But where are you at? What are your thoughts on this? Is there something you’ve been hating or begging God to take away?
Is it possible to see how God wants to use it instead? Is it possible that there is a gift in there, deep in the hurt, so that you can give something to others that only you can give?