Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book #8: Loving God With All Your Mind (And some of my depression story)

Amazon link
One of my friends recently starting writing a beautiful and thoughtful blog. In one of her entries, she mentioned this book and inspired me to put it on my Christmas list. Justin's mom bought it for me, and after all the frivolous fiction I've been reading lately, I decided to start it last week. The first half was interesting and practical, but nothing I really struggle with. So I started to lose interest. Then on Monday, I got bad news about my car and started my downward spiral into depression. I forced myself to pick this book back up just so I could finish it and move on to some more frivolous fiction. Lo and behold, the second half was all about trusting God and growing through our trials. It's funny because I "bragged" about my ability to see the big picture and trust God's goodness throughout my trials when I got the initial bad news about my car. But when the second wave of bad news came through, I suddenly lost sight of that. This book brought it back into focus.

After a couple days of wallowing I was able to see that it's just a car and things could be so much worse. But after talking it out with some godly friends, I was also able to see that the car situation just brought to light my deeper issues with depression. For so long, I've resisted it. I've always been anxious, but I never struggled with depression until Lena was born. It certainly wasn't Lena's fault. I just experienced a lot of change around the time she was born. We moved in with my parents and encountered a certain amount of embarrassment at admitting our financial failures. And I became a stay at home mom and realized it wasn't as fulfilling as I expected.

All of this led to some intense feelings of failure and inadequacy that I still experience daily (hourly!). And despite upping my Prozac dosage, trying crazy amounts of vitamins, and doing all the practical things I can think of to dispel depression (have a routine, get out of the house, sing worship music, find "the good"), it's not going away - which just makes me feel like more of a failure.

All of that's to say, this book made me realize that the depression itself is my trial. Not the car. Not the financial woes. Not my feelings of inadequacy. God is using my depression to draw me to himself. In the book, George says, "Everything - every person, every event - that touches us is for the purpose of making us like Christ." (204) I love knowing that the depression isn't necessarily my fault. It's something God is allowing to grow me. I'm also coming to accept that it's probably not something that I'm going to "snap out of." I've been waiting for my hormones to settle or my Prozac to kick in. But I've been done breastfeeding for a year so there's no reason for my hormones to be out of whack any more. And I've been on the Prozac for months. It definitely helps, but it doesn't totally eliminate the problem. So I loved this quote as well. "This is not temporary. This is not . . . short -term . . . So have something to show for it! Focus your energies on something positive - your growth and betterment." (214)

And George's book gives practical applications of how to grow that I really appreciated. In discussing Paul's many trials she says, "How did he maintain his energy and zeal? . . . Paul focused on the object of his love - the Lord Jesus Christ - and kept on keeping on, even through pain." (221) I love that concept, but still struggle with how to make it real. George elaborates: "Delighting yourself in the Lord means choosing Him each day, and that means choosing to make more time for His Word than any other kind of input." (226)

I'm at the tip of the iceberg in my realization, but I want to use this for growth. George has another book called A Woman After God's Own Heart that I want to look into next. Maybe I'll be reviewing that one soon. Although I'm still planning on reading some fiction first . . .

2 comments:

  1. Do read A Woman After God's Own Heart!!! I read it in college and to this day it is still one of my favorite "Christian living" books. I underlined and highlighted SO much in it, because it is packed with very practical things you can do. I've read one or two others by her (not this one though, I might have to look into it!), but that one sticks out so strongly to me.

    Depression is a very real thing. And remember the time of year can have a huge effect too. Rocky had really bad depression in high school and even now struggles with seasonal depression. Lack of sunlight and activity and movement takes its toll on the body, and I think it's even worse for people who already have a chemical imbalance.

    Hang in there, keep doing what you're doing - "Focus your energies on something positive - your growth and betterment." I'm a huge believer in God allowing us to go through trials so that down the road we can be an encouragement to others who struggle in that same area.

    And think of this - it's almost February, which means winter is basically half over. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. <3 I love how open you are. I really hope that reading these books helps you to gain some ground. I only experience brief bouts of depression... it must be very difficult dealing with it the majority of the time. I hope this is just one season of life and that the sun will come out again someday!

    ReplyDelete

Pin It