Yesterday I came out of what my wife would call a “blue funk”, but it was worse than that. For 2 and a half days, a cloud had hung over my soul and I couldn’t shake it.
During those days, if you had asked me, “What’s your problem?”, I’d have answered: “I don’t know.” It is one of those things where, in the midst of it, you cannot see or perceive how you got there or why you are there. Like a dark gloomy fog of negativity and hopelessness.
How can I describe it? It is characterized by several things:
- I don’t want to have anything to do with God, or spiritual things. In fact, I try to avoid God.
- Profound weariness or heaviness. The slightest tasks seem overwhelming.
- Avoidance of people. Being an introvert, I normally like to do things alone, but even more so during the fog. I feel like I want to go hide in a deep, dark cave and avoid all human contact.
- Lack of focus. During the fog, I could barely focus on work, and found myself getting distracted easily.
- Dark thoughts and negativity. This one is part of the death spiral. Nothing good can happen to me. There is nothing to look forward to. I am bad and nothing good can come in my life. There is no hope. This pessimism feeds these other symptoms and exacerbates them as I descend into a pit.
And then yesterday, thankfully, the fog was gone and I could see again. My precious Heavenly Father saw fit to lift me out of the mire. I could again taste the hope of being alive and my mind was kick-started into wanting to interact and relate to others again. And I could look up and praise God.
Now, as I look back and scratch my head at what was my problem, there are a few things that come to mind that at least contributed to descending to this dark place:
- Lack of sleep. I had a couple of bad nights when I kept waking up because I was hot, uncomfortable, or my mind was just going. Physiologically, this just doesn’t help me wake up “bright eyed and bushy tailed.”
- Preoccupation. Our church administrator has just taken a new job and I volunteered to update the sermons on our web site. As I started trying to update the sermon page this week, I got some other ideas of how to make improvements to the site. This contributed to the lack of focus on other things and when I would wake up in the middle of the night, my mind would start crunching on this one.
- Avoiding God’s word. Sleeping in to catch up on my lack of sleep, and also using the precious few minutes before work to think about the church web site, I didn’t take any time to read my Bible in the morning. Sometimes this is half-way unintentional, and I think that there is
- Disobedience or lack of willingness to obey (ok, probably the same thing). After our water trouble was resolved, I was really thankful of how God had provided and taken care of our needs. Then on Sunday, I was talking to a woman in our church who was suffering the very same problem with their water. They are part-time missionaries, and when I shared how much it cost to get it fixed, she almost started to cry.
In the back of my mind there was a little voice saying, “Well, you could help them [financially].” But after dropping a load of cash on our own problem, I didn’t want to drop another load to help fix their problem.
This last one took me by surprise. Here I am glad to receive God’s blessings and provision in my life, but when it comes to helping others, I’m a selfish turd. It also took me by surprise.
It was like God was revealing how ugly my heart was, and coupled with my resistance to obey Him, this was like a slap in the face. Offended at God, I instinctively withdrew from Him and started my downward spiral.
So, there you have it. As far as I can tell, that is the best I can tell how I entered the dark fog. As to how to avoid this type of thing in the future, I would refer you to Psalm 1:1-3.
This also reinforces my belief of how desperately we need a Savior.