So I woke up this morning in a state my highly regarded and notable medical background (meaning none whatsoever), would call “bummed out”.
There are a myriad of reasons why this could
be— I counted ten things which were bothering me. Six were out of my control. Three probably weren't worth my thoughts. Only one required action on my part. But that really isn't my point here. Just understand I woke up this
morning bummed out.
Interestingly, I started reading The War of
Art by Steven Pressfield this week, which is about overcoming what I would
call “depressive moments of frustration” and he calls “resistance” in the process of creating. Although
Pressfield does acknowledge these feelings as legitimate, and there are forces
in the universe stronger than we are, the fundamental difference between the
amateur and the professional is the ability to cope and carry on.
When Steve Martin wrote his book Shopgirl,
in which one of the central characters was clinically depressed, he asked a female
friend to explain the experience. She told him it was like having the flu, in
that everyday tasks from getting out of bed to cleaning house were arduous and
seemed almost impossible.
This is resistance. And it can be palpable
So I had been lying on the couch in my
completely filthy living room (nothing adds to a state of depression better
than staring at your own filth) for about two hours this morning, considering
my options in regards to how to get over this funk. I thought about going
outside and reading my Bible (natural sunlight and theological wisdom never
hurt anyone, I don’t suppose, even in Houston August). I was considering taking
a walk through my neighborhood (exercise increases endorphins—and would give me
some alone time with God—again, even in Houston August). I was even considering
cleaning my house (shocking). And then I checked my email.
It appeared one of my concerns could be easily
checked off my worry list. That one gave me way to remove three more, at least
for now. And strangely that’s all I needed to move.
Just a little bit of encouragement.
Conversely, why do I need tangible evidence of
my significance in the world from others to get me moving? In a nutshell this
is what prevents me from achieving greatness: allowing the world “open access”
to control my feelings.
So I read my Bible, out in the backyard, in
the Texas sweltering heat for a whopping seven minutes. I decided to start
reading the New Testament one chapter at a time daily, pondering the small
section of Its glory and perhaps writing and journaling (i.e. blogging) from
there. Today was Matthew One, which is the genealogy of Jesus.
I used to wonder about the purpose of those
genealogies which appear throughout the Bible. As a kid it appeared redundant
to make a list of all those people. Yeah, we know: they were Jesus’ relatives.
That’s pretty significant. Congrats, again your name will appear in a New
York Times best seller.
After you’re dead and no longer care.
But I missed the point entirely.
Consider those names. You have Isaac, whose
children were in fierce competition for his love. Jacob, who after manipulating
his brother, ends up manipulated several times by his father-in-law. Boaz, the
son of a prostitute who married Ruth the Moab, who, if you know anything about
Moabs, you know they were not exactly “God’s chosen people”. Ruth and Boaz
ended up the great grandparents to King David, who is the father of Solomon,
whose mother was the wife of Uriah, a man King David more or less had
assassinated for the purpose of taking his wife. Solomon, who perhaps falls in
love when he might shouldn’t (for more on
this read I Kings 11:1-4), but still continues a line which will eventually
lead to Jesus Christ Himself.
So my point is this: in the words of Gary
Thomas: “Christian keep running”. It isn’t about the past or what you did or
didn’t do. It’s about overcoming. It’s about being a better person today than
you were yesterday.
It’s about knowing the only people who don’t
make mistakes are the people who never try.
It’s about realizing the saying “When God
shuts a door he opens a window” is lame. If a door is shut, it’s just shut.
TURN THE FREAKIN’ KNOB!
It’s about accepting we will experience
resistance, but we must still endure. The trick is figuring out how.
May whatever challenges you are experiencing today
lead to a path of both accomplishment and greater fulfillment tomorrow.