It’s been almost a month working through this thing, this month where I realized depression was a real thing and a real problem. This was a month where I had to lean quite heavily on my people for a few weeks. But then…
Here’s the thing, God put those people around me in the worst of it. At the beginning, I was around one of them every single day at some point. I referred to that as the time my people were “babysitting me” and I was in desperate need of babysitting. At that point being alone was far more than just lonely, it was detrimental. And they were there.
But here’s where I find myself now…almost a month in and much more able to handle and process my world, I find myself spending quite a bit of time alone. Alone used to be a state that I hated. I felt compelled to fill alone time with something, anything. I just didn’t want to be still. I didn’t want to be lonely. I didn’t want to look around and realize that for all the things I had, I was still alone. I was so very lonely.
But in the last few weeks, I’ve looked at alone time differently. Sometimes alone time isn’t lonely. Sometimes it’s sacred.
In the beginning, I needed help to shift my worldview from the dark and terrible things I was focusing on, from the losses and failures, from the ways I was never going to be good enough, from the ways I don’t measure up to an unrealistic ideal I created for myself. I couldn’t do that on my own and I lacked the ability at that raw fresh point to seek God in it. Enter my people who loved me through it and injected real talk and God’s word into my broken soul. They walked me through the dark barren valley and pointed to the grass sprouting around. They tried to shift my gaze to the good things and if that failed, just sat with me and waited.
But as I reflect, this week has been different. I’ve spent time alone, but it hasn’t been lonely. I’ve been left largely to my thoughts and they’ve mostly been good ones. I’ve spent time with God and doing things I enjoy. I’ve learned that I can be alone, and it can be a good thing.
I heard as I was listening to something this week someone (I can’t remember who) talk about a season where she felt like people were distanced from her life, through busyness or whatever, and that it became a blessing because it allowed for time for her to discover who she truly was and who God was for her.
I can see this happening a little in my life. No one is permanently leaving (I hope) but life is pulling all my grounding people in different directions. They are busy with so many things right now. They don’t have time for babysitting and I’m thankfully at a place where I don’t need adult supervision
Before I would look at this as a terrifying sign that I’m about to lose all my people and I would have tried with all my might to figure out what I did to make them not want to hang out with me and what I could do to bring them back. I wondered what they were doing and if I was being left out. I wondered if they were thinking bad of me and…. It was exhausting. I was terrified of losing my people. Terrified of being alone.
But this week and glancing into the week ahead, I can see the sacred pause that is there for the taking. When even the group text goes largely silent and almost everyone except me has a loaded calendar, I don’t look at it with apprehension. I feel there is a victory to be celebrated there, there in that mindset shift.
I feel like in this moment, in this season, God is saying trust me; I’ve got you. I won’t leave you without your people for long. But, I want to be your “person” first so that you can stand for yourself. And, you can stand for your people when they need you. I’m trusting Him for that because I’m gonna need my people back, but for now I’m content to just figure out what my next right thing is, just me and Him.
It’s the sacred middle, the pause, where I can be alone with God, alone with some challenges, alone with myself, and not self-destruct. I think it’s the sacred middle because I don’t think the battle is over, though it’s been a nice break in it. I still remain aware of my thoughts and analyze my actions to make sure I’m not self-destructing again. I’m still ever cognizant of that cliff I almost went over that’s just right there, and one wrong move could send me perilously close to the edge again. I still have work to do, and maybe I always will. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.
Maybe I’ll always be in the sacred middle. Maybe that’s the place we live because when we’ve reached the end is when God calls us home. Oh let this sacred middle be a time that is reserved for learning, growing, and leaning on Him. A time where I really lean into the fact that, as my friend says, “God’s got you” and believe fully that He truly does have me. May I learn to navigate this journey with joy and surrender, knowing that at no point can I do enough to deserve any love from anyone, but that love that matters is love that’s freely given.
May I live fully persuaded that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.
Can I honestly sit here and say I’m glad March happened? Actually, yes. I know that seems weird to say. Without it I would have continued in my striving, continued carrying burdens that were too heavy for me, continued bearing the weight of condemnation for feeling the way I felt, for not having “enough faith” to pull myself up. I’m thankful for March because it made it impossible to ignore the problem any longer.
So many things happened, a lot of it offline. I dealt with shame and embarrassment over breaking down, over realizing the root of the problem, over accepting help. But you know what I realized? There is no shame in accepting help. Am I ashamed of my heart problems or my heart medication? Nope. I go to the pharmacy and the cardiologist regularly. But there’s no stigma attached to my heart.
But this…oh dear you dropped your basket…you should probably quietly pick that back up and get your life together. Except you can’t. I can’t. Not on my own. And so I do things necessary. And I speak and write about it for two main reasons. First, I am outing myself, refusing to hide behind embarrassment or shame. And strangely I’ve found the more it’s discussed the easier it is to discuss. I’ve also not found anyone who looks down on me for it (or if they do they keep it to themselves). Second, I feel like there are others suffering in silence, not wanting to admit that there’s a problem because of the stigma attached to it, especially oddly in a faith community. That we should be able to pray our way out. But sometimes, sadly, I think that mindset does more harm than good. That we all need help sometimes to get back on track. And I think that needs to be okay, to be acceptable, to be encouraged.
I never wanted this to be a part of my story. I ran from it for a long time. But now that it is a part of my story, I want it to be a part where God tells a victory story at the end. I want it to be something He can use for His glory. This messy middle is becoming a sacred middle.
The sacred middle is a place I don’t have to strive so hard in anymore. It’s a place where I can enjoy life, enjoy my people, and enjoy my God. It’s a place where I hope I find who God created me to be. It’s a place where I hope He can use me for His glory. It’s a place where I not only survive, but thrive. It’s a good place. It started out messy, but it has become oh so sacred.