Something I will never get used to is the lack of light in winter. For stretches of weeks I go to work in the dark and come home…in the dark. If I didn’t know better, I’d question the sun’s existence.
Day after day of darkness leads to the winter blues, where everything feels “blah” and seems like it will last forever.
However, I’m learning there are ways to combat the blues. Simple ways like exercise, diet change, and sunlight simulators. These all can ease the effects of lack of daylight. I’ve implemented these changes to varying degrees of success and I’m thankful for the relief they bring. In fact since my office has no windows I’ve changed all the lights to the special sun-simulators and have noticed a dramatic change in my ability to focus and lack of headaches—especially in the wintertime.
But what about spiritual dark days; is there a light simulator for those?
While the solution isn’t something you can buy from a store here are a couple ways I’ve found to combat the spiritual blues.
First, believe this truth: Just because I can’t feel God doesn’t mean He isn’t there. But don’t take it from me, here’s what the Apostle Paul has to say about it.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making our prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8:26 The Message)
Second, remember and believe God will do what He says. One promise I hold on to when my spiritual days seem “blah” is God’s promise to never leave or forsake me. Moses told this to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31 and the same promise is repeated in Joshua 1, 1 Kings 8, and Hebrews 13. For me, it helps to read these promises again and again until I start to believe God really is still with me.
These are simple concepts but it’s amazing the power our minds have over our feelings. If we keep telling ourselves the truth eventually we’ll believe it too. And once we believe the truth then God’s silence won’t seem so permanent.
A couple years ago I wrote out an acronym as a way to help me stay focused on Christ when going through hard times. I drew four keys from Hebrews 12:1-3 called HOPE.
How did Jesus run the race?
Not only did He take our physical form to give us the gift of salvation, but He also ran our same race to perfection. Study, observe, learn, imitate.
Obstacles are inevitable.
Many think hard times are only for unbelievers but we all live in a sinful world filled with suffering. If we expect to encounter pain at some point, then we won’t be so shocked when we do.
Finishing a race takes purpose and discipline. The essential disciplines Jesus demonstrated help us prepare for what we’ll face as we run toward our heavenly reward.
When we reach the point of wanting to quit, it’s time to let God be our strength. He will give us what we need the moment we need it to help keep our eyes on where we’re headed, “that exhilarating finish in and with God.”
Although it feels like I’m in the shadows I hold on to the hope that there would be no shadows if there were no light casting them. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness,” (John 12:46 NIV). Focusing my mind and heart on what matters is the best way I know to combat the blues, whatever form they take.