I have been in a little bit of a funk lately. I have felt more anxious than normal. My sleep has been less than desirable. I am tired. I feel like I am sort of at the end of my rope. And, I also feel like my emotions range from depression, to happiness, back to feelings of sadness all over the course of a twenty-four hour period.
Before I get a bunch of emails, I have talked to my doctor about all this. I have also relied heavily on the social support systems I have built over the past decade: a couple’s community group, a devoted accountability partner, and a group of guys I meet with every other Thursday to talk about life. If you can relate to anything I have already shared in this post, but have not talked with your doctor and/or your social network, please start there. These are very important steps.
Continuing on with my story, I discovered that the more I focused on myself, the more anxious I felt. The same could be said for all the emotions above as well. The doctor even prescribed medication to help me stabilize my moods, but to no avail. For me, and what I was experiencing, medication did not help.
In my daily time of prayer and silence, I was reminded to get outside of myself. My Bible reading plan was going through the Gospel of John, and among other things, I was constantly being reminded of the One whose primary objective was to lay down his life for all.
The disparity struck me. Jesus gave his life, while I sought, and even clung, to mine. While I do not fully get how it works, my life has been a reminder that real life comes when I let go of it.
“Letting go” can sound too spiritual for application. So, here is what I mean:
Rather than focusing on myself, I start looking for others to serve.
Rather than looking to feed my ego, I look to encourage others.
Rather than sulking, I look for someone to give love to.
Rather than hiding, especially when that is what I feel like doing, I lay down that preference and engage with the community around me.
Rather than seeking measures to reduce, or even take the edge off my pain, I sit inside my grief, fear, and sadness.
Rather than run, I sit and rest.
This is all counter-cultural. For, we live in a world that puffs up, explains away, and promises that happiness is on the other side of following your heart.
My life suggests that following my heart has often led to me losing any sense of life altogether. This does not mean that “dreams” and “aspirations,” are wrong. Rather, it means that “dreams” and “aspirations” rooted in the exultation of self are tricky at best, and dangerous at worse. So, proceed with caution.
I have rediscovered that “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24). For, the extent I focus on loving and serving others is often the measure of peace I have in my soul.
You might not be a follower of Jesus. All this talk might have you wondering what this blog is even about. It is about encouraging you to live your best life, be someone worth following regardless of your position, and to find peace in doing so.
We seem to live in a selfie, me first, world.
The invitation is to live for something bigger by loving others first.
Join me in doing so.
Together, let’s brighten the days of those around us.