Does Winter Have You Depressed?
This time of year it's not uncommon to suffer with a case of the Winter blues. The limited sunlight, cold weather, and decreased social interaction can cause people to feel a little depressed. For some, it is more severe and is actually diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD). The good news is that the Winter season will pass. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The primary causes of this depression will be replaced by warmer weather and longer days.
We all easily understand that a year moves through various seasons, and we set our expectations accordingly. Unfortunately, sometimes we struggle to view our lives with this same level of understanding and perspective. Imagine someone said to you "I don't like Pennsylvania - it's cold and windy and the days are short." You would probably respond by saying "Stick around until the middle of July and tell me if you still feel the same way."
The question is, do we have that same sort of long view thinking about our own lives?
If you are discouraged or depressed by something in your life, are you able to identify whether this is a permanent part of your identity or simply a season that you're going through? We tend to make snap judgements about others and ourselves based on the conditions of the moment.
"I'm a failure."
"He's a loner."
"Her life is perfect."
As Paul Miller says in his book "A Loving Life", we live our lives in trajectories. We aren't defined by any one moment outside of how it fits into our overall life story. Maybe you are expereincing a failure that is going to teach you to depend on God in a way that will impact the rest of your life. Maybe God has you in a lonely place so that you can learn to find contentment in your relationship with Him so that you won't put unrealistic expectations and pressures on a future friend or spouse. Maybe your current success will inflate your pride and your ego in a way that leads to devastating consequences in the future (but I hope not ;-).
The point is...we are all living in a season right now. We may not know how long it will last or when it will change, but inevitably it will give way to something new. What we do in this season will have a huge impact on our joy and peace in the next one. Look at what Psalm 1 says:
 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (ESV)
The fruit will come IN ITS SEASON. You might be bitter and disappointed that you aren't seeing any fruit in your life - but the problem may not be in what you are doing. And the problem isn't with God. The reality may be that you have not yet arrived in the fruit bearing season. Our goal is obedience. We delight in the law of the Lord, meditate on it, let the Gospel take root in our souls...and we can be confident that the fruit will come in its season.
Jesus had some incredible highs and some deep lows during His time of public ministry. He set His eyes on the cross and continued forward in obedience to His Father...whether they wanted to make Him king or stone Him to death - He refused to be distracted from His mission. He suffered terribly and was crucified on a cross, but that moment of apparent defeat didn't define Him. He rose from the grave in victory and suddenly everything that He went through in His journey made sense.
The greatest news is that His victory was the defining moment in our story as well. If you have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, then the final chapter of your story has already been written and...spoiler alert...it ends really well! Whatever is happening in this season in your life is part of the story that ultimately ends with you united with Jesus in everlasting joy.
If you have never received the free gift of forgiveness and salvation that Jesus secured for you, I want to ask you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share more with you about who Jesus is and what He has done. Today could be the start of a whole new season in your life. There is light at the end of the tunnel and the sun is about to break through!