Before you begin reading, I should tell you that this post offers no answers. You won’t find three helpful Scriptures or a list of my favorite things.
This is a highly personal post. I’ve struggled with periods of melancholy for years. Normally, it lasts for a few hours, days, or weeks but this time I’m going on months. All of my normal pull-yourself-together and rest in the love of Jesus activities have failed me.
The Internet is full of people pretending to have it all together. Today, I need to be raw.
If this isn’t what you’re looking for — Awesome! No judgement. My feelings aren’t hurt. I hope you stop back again but for now — Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
I’ve not always suffered from these swings in mood. My melancholic swings began with real adulthood.
I was teaching full time in a public school and I was teaching the children at church a few times a month. Everything seemed good.
Then it all started to fall apart.
I was working at a very rural school and I was just out of college. At the end of second semester I was called into the office and told my contract was not being renewed. Ironically, it was same day that two of my students were inducted into National Honor’s Society and had submitted me as their most influential teacher. It was an emotional roller coaster kinda day. 🙂
I ended up at a school for at-risk students. For a variety of reasons, the students were at risk of dropping out of school. The kids were tough but amazing. It was the administration that was difficult on the best days. It’s not that they were tough — that might have been okay. The administration was inconsistent. You never knew if they would support a consequence or if they would let the kid off. It was nuts!
This was happening Monday through Friday and I was beginning to lose it.
However, teaching at church was going well. So well that the lady in charge of the children’s department asked me to train the other teachers. She was impressed because her kids left church remembering what they had learned in my class.
Nervous but prepared, I stood and began to do as she asked.
Then it happened.
One of our board members took umbrage with what I was saying. I stood there as he attacked everything I had to say — and some stuff I hadn’t yet said!
I taught a few months more at the school until we left the state but then I quit.
For years I didn’t teach. Then I did.
And I was attacked again.
Yep, I talked about flexibility after one of our mission trips and a lady in our congregation approached me after —
Apparently I wasn’t being flexible because we weren’t having children.
Shoving my slightly inappropriate remarks aside, I explained that there were medical issues that made pregnancy difficult. (Not that I needed to explain anything!)
Teaching was shoved to the side and I vowed to never teach again.
I thought I was protecting myself but something else grew — FEAR!
It’s easy to let remarks that you know shouldn’t matter take root. Those comment that you feel are complete unwarranted and inappropriate begin to transform themselves into threads of identity. For years, I would say that these words had no power over me but I didn’t live that way.
Then one day I quit believing the lies I told myself.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I still believed them but I quit lying with my words and began to combat the words with my actions.
I stepped into a teaching position at our church. I began blogging and sharing my teaching with anyone who cared to read. I found that I enjoyed writing my teaching so in a sweaty, nervous mess, I self-published a book. I’ve submitted short writings to publishing companies. And I’ve even taken a new job teaching via the Internet.
The fear still hasn’t shut up. In fact, in many ways it’s gotten louder.
As I stand up for myself for the first time in years, those secret thoughts taunt me. As I hold my ground with issues that I’ve been given authority over or that I feel passionately about, I find myself full of anxiety and self-doubt.
Will this ever go away?
I’m not sure. But I’m finally seeing that the spiral down is getting less and less deep.
Unfortunately, when I hit my new bottom, it can still take a long time to climb out again.
That’s where I’m at now.
I sit here with my brain playing words I was never supposed to hear that were spoken at a men’s event. I sit here with my mind still seeing that scathing look she gave me when I told her she couldn’t drive that way. I sit here feeling as if the battle is raging around me that I’m losing.
To make things just a little worse, I’m wife to a pastor so I’m supposed to have my crap together! 😛
The truth is, we all struggle. We all have times when we feel defeated. We all have times when fear seems to win more often than not.
It doesn’t feel okay but it is.
Today, I might not feel okay but life still has to happen. Any maybe while life is happening I can still do something daring. Something that will show fear that I’m in charge.