You get the idea.
You find yourself parked in a remote spot crying. Or locked in the bathroom so no one will see your eyes, puffy and glazed from despair. When someone asks if you’re okay, you say “I’m just tired” while your heart cries “I want to die.” Maybe even melt down in public when you have no answer to the void of love or hope or care. Not just “crabby” days. More than PMS or broken heart or broke again. Worse than fury at someone else. More like fury at yourself. Or Life. Or maybe even God.
Why do we get like this, Lord? We’ve known Your love so long, yet stumble and fall so low. Regret nearly everything we ever did and everything we did NOT do. So lonely we could die. No one to talk to, share You with, serve You with. Only a dark void where the yearning for the kind of love and care we’ve given others is not returned.
If we were like this all the time someone would diagnose “depression” and give us a pill. But we aren’t. These days are black spots on a pastel palette of hopes and dreams. What am I doing wrong? We cry out to the Lord. The silence crushes our soul.
DESOLATION some have called it.
So what can we do?
There are helpful things all over the internet, books, radio and TV that might help. Plus counselors galore, diversions aplenty. Even lusts and addictions and gluttony. But if we are GOD people? Who don’t WANT a sinful, useless diversion? Who want His answer? How can we still RELATE to God when we are too messed up to HEAR Him in our spirit? Above all…WHAT SHOULD WE DO?!
The main thing I’ve learned (thanks to Ignatius of Loyola and his fans) is:
–DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES OR IMPORTANT DECISIONS ON DESOLATION DAYS!!!!!
This one is hard to accept. Because we so WANT things to be different on a dark day like that, we fall for the devil’s whisperings and fleshy people’s barbs, don’t we? And SOOO sorry LATER, aren’t we? OOOo please DO be O SO CAREFUL WITH THIS ONE!
THEN we are safe to do things that actually HELP. Make life instantly perfect and joyful? No, not hardly. But ground us while we wait for the Light.
- Of course. Beg even, if it helps. But MAINLY sit in the Lord’s presence best way you can. A closet, a chapel, the bathroom floor. Just do the best you can and be still until you become aware of His presence. He IS there and you WILL sense it.
- No, not in a hippie way. Just THINK ABOUT things SPIRITUAL best you can. Instead of the million little fleshy ways you’ve been disappointed. FOCUS! NOT on yourself. On HIM. Repeat a scripture you know by heart. A prayer you’ve memorized. Imagine Jesus nailed on the cross or washing feet or anything concrete that comes to mind. Think about His friends. It takes a lot of OTHER images to displace the scared, wounded SELF images that haunt us. But there are riches galore you can feed your stricken senses if you try. The SIGHTS and SMELLS and TOUCH and SOUNDS and even TASTES of thinking about Jesus and His disciples and their lives and their deaths. No dearth of material here!
- This you already know how to do. Not hard. Go over the events before the darkness. Think of what might have led to it. Someone hurt your feelings? Things didn’t go as planned? WHAT HAPPENED? The TRIGGER? The SALT in the wound? Maybe even WRITE IT DOWN. Put the puzzle pieces together. Just the FACTS, not the evil whispers since!
- OOOO we do hate that word, don’t we? We have to DO something? MORE than just say “sorry”? No. We don’t HAVE to. But if we DO, it DOES help us remember the NEXT time we choose FLESH instead of SPIRIT. When we worked for more money or “highs” or love or affirmation. And did NOT work for more steps in His Spirit…Because (didn’t wanna scare ya off early) it IS a BATTLE between God’s HOLY SPIRIT and the devils’ HORRIBLE ONE, isn’t it? It is one or the other. And doesn’t’ take much to throw our wounded selves over to the wrong side of the boxing ring, does it?
When we say “no” to the dark whispers and “yes” to the Truth, the Light WILL enter. So as not to blind us, it comes slowly, gradually. But it comes. The Light changes everything. We don’t have to. We DID our part already! And if it seems too much trouble or time-consuming, let me just remind you it is easier than driving to see a psychiatrist, cheaper than buying some pills. Hey, God loves us either way. But THEY don’t’ CHANGE anything. Especially our souls. THIS DOES!
Try it. Not a SIMPLE fix. A HOLY one.
In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider—
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him. Ecclesiastes 7:14
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18