In our sector ( group of Chapels forming part of a Methodist Circuit) staff meeting this morning one of the things we discussed was the ability to be ourselves and not to cover stuff up. I am thinking about this as I struggle with waves of emotion and despair that remind me that a bout of depression might not be far away. I know that in order to deal with this that I will need to take a couple of days off, to rest and to be....
I suspect that the trigger is exhaustion, both mental and physical that follow a crazily busy week and the knowledge that more busyness is looming on the horizon. Denying myself the rest that I need would be stupid, and I may cope for a few weeks or even a few months by pushing down the tel-tale signs of depression but eventually it would catch up with me and it might render me useless for months. So I am going to take time out to be, and to do a few things that will feed my soul. I am going to listen to some music, to walk, and probably enjoy watching a bit of Wimbledon.
I am also going pray, probably not with words, but simply with availability, I need to set some time aside to be with God, to allow Her to minister to my exhaustion so that the streams of living water that have dried to a trickle within me might become thundering waterfalls and full flowing rivers. I need to lay down some of the stuff that I have picked up and don't need to be carrying alone, frustrations and niggles that can only be given to God. I need to pick up the strains and the beat of the unforced rhythms of grace again so that I can dance in time to heavens call...
It would be easy to deny where I am right now, to pretend that all is well, after all it is time to move on, I have passed my MA modules, I have finished training with ERMC, and I am about to be stationed in Yorkshire, and people expect me to be upbeat and excited. But right now I need some rest, perhaps then the excitement will return. Depression is still a taboo subject amongst Christians, but it shouldn't be. Depression does not come about through lack of faith or sin, some of are simply wired that way. God will not reject me for feeling like this, in fact I believe that the call to recognise and deal with an on coming bout of depression is a gift of grace and prevents burn out if I acknowledge and accept it.
And so I am going to respond to that call, I am going to rest, and I am going to be, and I know that I will be better equipped for it....
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
I rather liked this version of one of my favourite Hymns!