Friday, July 29, 2011

Down Time

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits -- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.  (Psalm 103:2-5, NIV)
I am enjoying a little down time while the family is out at the movies.  How I have relished these few hours of solitude with the dog, the breeze from my box fan, and my computer!  That's not to say I don't enjoy being with my family and friends, but sometimes silence truly is golden and frittering a little time away can be a soothing balm to a weary soul like me.

Not all down time is enjoyable, however.  Sometimes we feel "down" because of stressful circumstances, unpleasant relational conflicts, or fatigue.  Before long we become filled with self-pity and perhaps self-loathing.  Even on the brightest days everything seems dreary and it becomes difficult to keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how blessed we may actually be.

So, how can we turn around our "down" days and recapture our joy?  First of all, we have to acknowledge that our feelings are real rather than berate ourselves for experiencing human emotions that are as old as time.  Then when need to begin thanking God for the blessings he has bestowed on us and recalling the promises he has given us in his Word.  For those of us who are visual, perhaps we need to pull out a pad and pen, draw a line down the center of a blank sheet of paper, and see if we can't counteract each complaint with a blessing.  For instance, if we complain about our teenager's rebellion, we need to turn around and give thanks that such behavior is often a normal part of adolescence, a brief season of life, and praise God for his mercy to us when we have failed to live according to his standards of holiness. 

Although depression and self-pity have been around for thousands of years, there is hope for us!  But we have to believe that God is able to meet us where we are, lift us out of the slimy pit, and set our feet upon a rock where we can stand firm (Psalm 40:2).  Will you believe in God and take hold of his hand?  He is reaching out to you today.

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