EDITOR'S NOTE: This article discusses Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition recognized by the Mayo Clinic. SermonCentral does not take a position on this, or any other psychological conditions. Furthermore, this article is not intended to be and should not be considered medical advice. We simply wish to provide our readers with the cultural information necessary to minister effectively. Given the current state of presciption medication usage in churches, we feel this is an important topic to consider.
Last winter it seemed like the dark, gloomy, coldness lingered a couple of months too long. Remember? It was awful for someone like me.
I was absolutely miserable over the seasons lack of ability to change to some type of normalcy.
This past week, the coolness began to arrive early. Of course, this is just the early onset of our beautiful fall weather. It felt very nice and the seasonal change was definitely welcomed. The bummer about this for me? Impending winter - again.
Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) is something that I have found to be very real in my life. I encounter bouts of depression during the winter months and have to work very hard to keep from sinking deep. It's just part of the cycle.
The cycle - Its seems to be the same with life, right? Our winters – or the coldest seasons of life – are often prolonged, and fearfully endured. Sometimes it feels that circumstances and emotions won't change. We feel that a new season of life is nothing more than a hopeful encounter. We worry that our emotional, relational, and spiritual cycle just won't turn the corner. We often seem stuck in winter.
The kicker for me? I'm a pastor. And in my neck of the woods, its still taboo to be on "head meds". Every morning, I take Lexipro to help me balance my psychological imbalances. Many people in my church do the same. The difference? I'm the guy who shouldn't need "faith in a bottle." But I do - it comes in 20mg doses, and it works. Every. Time.
Here's what I have figured out when it comes to SAD or the likes: The cold winter of depression or anxiety isn't forever, because seasons do change. No, not because our pain disappears, but because we have been here before and we made it out.
I am learning to embrace the worst season - as badly as I do not want to - so that I can whole-heartendly celebrate and savor every new season. Looking back, I can tell you that the hardest, loneliest, coldest, and most depressed season of my life has often produced the greatest fruit in my life. I bet its the same for you, too.
So today, I just wanted to remind you when you ask the question "why doesn't this change?" It will. No, it won't disappear. But it will change.
Abide in Him as best as you know how. Remain close to Him as He is the One who causes new seasons to emerge - even in the middle of winter.
Remember: When God doesn't take us out of the pain, He walks us through it with us.
As a pastor, I get up every morning, open my "little bottle of faith" and believe that I am healed in 20mg doses.