Seasons are a part of life. Good times. Slumps. Mountaintop experiences. Valley dryness. Celebrations. Blahs. They’re all common to our world.
I’ve struggled with the effects of Bipolar all my life, although I’ve only been aware of the cause for a couple years. The effects tend to exaggerate whatever I’m going through at the time, so the good is the best and the blah is the worst.
Over the years I have learned a few ways to help me overcome the effects of my down and depressed periods.
1. Many years ago I attended a police academy. The course included physical training, primarily running. My body hates running. During the weeks we trained, I was invariably the last runner and not even close to the minimum requirements. One day as we ran I was so far behind, I couldn’t see anyone else. My body ached. My mind was numb. I was ready to quit, even though I was near the top of the class in all other respects. That was when I noticed the instructor, a leutenant in the local PD, had circled back to me. I expected him to upbraid me or harass me for being so slow. Instead, he matched my pace and gave me a phrase to dwell on when I felt I couldn’t keep going:
NEVER GIVE UP. DO NOT QUIT. Just another minute, you can hear the sirens, HELP IS ON THE WAY.
2. In the movie ‘the Patriot’ Benjamin Martin (played by Mel Gibson) is a peaceful plantation owner drawn into the Revolutionary war by the murder of his second son. After losing his eldest son, he is defeated, disheartened, and ready to quit and go back to his farm. His friend challenges him to Stay the Course, to remember what he is fighting for and trying to accomplish. His reply, borne out of despair is ‘I have run my course’. But as he packs his son’s effects, he finds the war torn battle flag that his son has painstakingly resewn. Finding that token restores his resolve.
When I am in the dark days I find that looking to the past and finding the highlights helps me to remember what I am striving toward, even if it doesn’t seem I’m making any progress at the present. It strengthens my resolve to
STAY THE COURSE.
3. I honestly don’t remember where I learned this phrase, but the idea is that just as in winter, as the cold gets so bad another day seems unbearable the sun comes out and warms things up, at least for a day or two. Or in summer when it feels like a furnace, it rains and cools things down. All we have to do is hold out a few more days. We know it’s coming, we just don’t know when. As surely as spring follows winter and autumn follows summer;
THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
Whatever dry spell I’m going through, whether job related, relationship, or spiritual, I’ve learned to hunker down, focus on the goal, and wait for God to work things out in His time.