January is known for a lot of things. If I were to ask you what the month of January meant to you, what would you say? For us, the wedding anniversary of my wife and I (22 years this year!). It's the birthday month of two of our three kids. It's Awake and Alive month! And it's the month when seasonal depression can really kick in.
Right now, we're just starting to come out of the darkest time of the year, have endured a lot of snow and cold these last couple weeks (-21F this morning in MKE), and for some, it can really suck the life out of you. For any of us who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, then this plunge isn't just the temperature related kind, it can be the depressive kind too. Overworked, underexcercised, stressed out, unappreciated, tired, restless, cold... Waaaaaait a second. I think I see what's going on here...
I don't know about you, but I know that I have a tendency to turn inwards when I don't feel good. I look around and compare my life to some ideal that I have in my mind. I look in the mirror and I cast judgement on what I see. I look at my to do list and I feel guilt. I remember what I thought, said, did and I want to take it back, I feel my shame. It's amazing to see that for some of us, we really have to be careful in these darker months, because we tend to look inward at our self. It's hard to see our way out and it's exactly the opposite of what the Psalmist implores our souls to do.
6 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me - a prayer to the God of my life.
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." - Psalm 42
When we feel the physical, emotional, and spiritual impact of the various "Polar Plunges" in the seasons of our lives, it is good for us to be in God's word. In the intimacy of the presence of God who encourages our inner being to look from ourselves and circumstances to see the God who is in control and who holds us when we love ourselves and holds us when we are broken to pieces.
Melissa and I spent a week in Florida on tour and vacation. This was not really a relaxing vacation this time; it was more of a "TourVenture". Budget rental car problems, LOTS of driving, breezy so not quite as idyllic. I'm whining right? Well we did have one night where we shelved our plans to "do" anything, just so we could watch the sun set off the Florida Keys. Quiet, just watching, listening, feeling and being still. It was then that I could finally hear that still small voice saying "remember your God" In that moment the familiar words of Jesus came flooding into my mind, my body, my spirit, my soul.
"Come to me, you who are weary and heavy burdened - and I will give you rest"!
Even in the middle of my polar plunge. Yes my soul, put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God!