Try This Simple Trick to Free Yourself From the Shackles of Depression

Would you like to feel more alive and in control of your life?

You can do so by separating yourself from your depression.

The first thing to keep in mind is that unwanted, negative emotions— depression, worry, fear, and anxiety—are not you. You don’t have to live under a cloud of these burdensome emotions. 

The key is to mentally compartmentalize your depression so that it’s not a part of you. 

Try this exercise the next time depression, anxiety, or another negative emotion tries to take over your mind. 

Picture yourself from outside your body, looking at yourself as if you were another person. You see yourself and notice that you’re visibly happy with a pleasant smile on your face. 

Then, imagine taking any negative emotions that have been plaguing you and physically pulling them out of your body. 

You then stuff them securely into a neat little box. Make sure in your mind that this box is separate from you.

You are you, and your depression and anxiety are not part of your mind or your body.

You can even personify the depression for more impact. Picture it with a face, but put a quizzical look on the face as if the depression is suddenly stunned it’s no longer part of you. 

Notice we’re not calling it “your” depression, but simply depression.

Depression has been relegated as it were to the peanut gallery of your life. All it can do is just watch—with awe and envy—as you continue happily living your life out from under its control. 

You’re happy now because you’re free from the shackles of depression, worry, anxiety, and fear.

Anytime any of those emotions start to creep their way back into your mind, stop what you’re doing and mentally divorce yourself from them again. 

Firmly place them back into that box, the one that occupies space that is completely outside of your body

Remember—depression and worry are not you. You are you, and you are choosing to live free, not under the control of those emotions. 

Why Is It So Hard to Cast Our Anxieties on God?

“…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

1 Pet. 5:7

Take a moment to really think about what this verse is telling us to do. It is literally commanding us to give our anxieties and cares to God our Father because He loves us deeply and doesn’t want us weighed down with the burdens of life. 

You might wonder exactly how we’re supposed to do that, given that every person reading this is bombarded with anxiety after anxiety daily. There’s no escape from it in our hurried, frantic way of life. 

Even in slower, more laid-back cultures, there are still ample opportunities for anxiety to creep in. Anxiety and stress are a fact of life on this fallen planet we call home.

I’ll admit that I don’t fully understand how we’re supposed to give God our anxieties. I believe that you have to take this verse (plus the ones immediately before and after it) and read it along with other similar passages such as Philippians 4:4-9, Matthew 6:25-34, and Luke 12:22-31 before you can really start to get a good feel for what God is telling us. 

I’ve been reading and rereading all these verses for years, but I have yet to reach the point where I don’t struggle with anxiety and depression. All too often, I find myself worrying about finances, health, relationships, my career, or any number of other things. 

I have head knowledge about what these verses are saying—that God loves us and doesn’t want us fretting about our basic needs because He’s got it all covered. But somehow that doesn’t always translate into belief in my heart. Yes, I know that’s pathetic. I feel like I should be able to just take God at His word and not let anxiety gain a foothold in my life. 

Maybe it’s just guilt on my part. You know, I feel guilty about being such a lousy example of a Christian that I don’t feel like God’s grace could possibly work for me. 

But feeling this way is actually an insult to God. I’m essentially saying that His grace and forgiveness are not strong enough or good enough to penetrate my sin and make me clean in His eyes. 

However, I know that’s not the case—He sees me as redeemed, thanks to Christ’s death and resurrection and my belief in these two events. 

Maybe it’s hard for me to give my anxiety to God because of lingering questions. I mean, why do we have to cast our anxiety on Him? Why can’t He just swoop down with His big hand and snatch them all away from us once and for all?

That is a question for which I definitely do not have an answer. I can only guess. Perhaps it’s once again because we live in a fallen world and He chooses to abide by the effects of sin upon us humans. 

There are many evils and ills that He could rescue us from on a daily basis, but he doesn’t because our sentence is to live in a world full of sin and decay. Anxiety and depression are just two of those results of our fallen nature. 

He does, however, give us the means to lift ourselves out of the pit of despair by telling us over and over in the Bible not to be anxious, worried, and fearful. 

Perhaps the more sinful we are as individuals, the harder it is for us to remain anxiety-free. The more we lean on God and strive to obey Him, the easier it becomes to live a life brimming over with joy and happiness.

These are all just guesses—I’m no theologian; this is just me putting my thoughts into coherent words. 

Does anybody else have any thoughts on these issues?

Guard Your Plateau

There is a principle I like to call “Guard Your Plateau.” It means simply that once you’ve worked hard to gain some ground over depression, anxiety, fear, worry, and doubt, do all you can to maintain it. 

Living a happy, carefree, worry-free life can be extremely difficult and takes a lot of hard work; it can be exhausting mentally and emotionally. 

The day may come when you’re thinking to yourself, You know, I feel pretty good right now. Things are going OK.

When you have thoughts like that, take extra precaution. Never let your guard down and never quit doing the things that got you where you are. When you’re worn out emotionally, it can be easy to relax and “just let go.” 

Don’t do it, however. Be watchful that you don’t slip back into old habits and old thought patterns. Reverting to behaviors of the past will drag you down quicker than anything.

Keep thinking positively. Keep saying uplifting things to yourself. Never let your foot off the gas. As I heard Joyce Meyer say in a podcast, “Gain and maintain.”

The “Guard Your Plateau” principle is just as important if you find yourself in a pit of despair. If your life seems a mess lately and nothing is going right, stand your ground. Don’t give in to more feelings of doubt, gloom, anxiety, and depression.

Build yourself up to keep yourself from falling deeper. Don’t let your situation spiral out of control and get even worse. The more ground you give up, the more momentum you give to the negative in your life. 

When you think you’re at the lowest point possible, you’re not. Things can always be worse, just as they can always be better. 

During the low times, work even harder to get back to a point where you can see the light again.

More importantly, remember that God is always with us, especially during the hard times. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on him [God], because he cares for you.”

Here’s hoping that today is a better day for you than yesterday, and that tomorrow is even better than today.

Your Mistakes

I just recently reread a tweet by Tullian Tchividjian that I saved last year. He said:

“While we can never go back to a past that we have lost or ruined, we can always go to God—a God who promises to love and use people who fail because there aren’t any other kinds of people.”

I believe his words ring absolutely true. We have all made mistakes in life. We all have regrets about decisions we’ve made or didn’t make, things we’ve done or said to other people, relationships that we’ve had a hand in ruining, plans and projects we’ve abandoned, things we meant to do but never did, or things we knew at the time we shouldn’t be doing but did anyway.

There’s no one reading this who doesn’t have mistakes they wish they could change. I do—we all do. When it’s all said and done, we’re all in the same boat and would like to take a mulligan on some part of our lives.

But there are two important things to remember about the mistakes of the past:

  1. We can’t change them.
  2. God can use them for His own divine purposes.

We first have to get past our regret. Embrace your regret, but don’t linger on it. It will do you no good except drag you down into a quagmire of self-hate and loathing. Trust me—I’ve done that and it’s not a place you want to be. Realize that like all human beings, you have made mistakes. Then move on.

Next, we need to trust God to do His work. Ask Him to use your mistakes to:

  1. Make you a better person.
  2. Help someone else.

Be unselfish with yourself. Look for ways that you can be a blessing in others’ lives. Maybe these opportunities will come as a direct result of your past mistakes—you see others making the same errors you did and you can help them make better choices.

Or maybe you have simply gained knowledge and experience that allow you to show more compassion and care—you’re able to connect with others in ways you might not have been able to previously.

Be aware of those around you. Take your eyes off yourself and look for others who need help navigating the storms of life (I’m talking to myself here mostly). See how you can lighten someone’s burden.

You’ll not only help those around you, you’ll also end up feeling better about yourself. Who wouldn’t feel better knowing that they’ve been a blessing to others?

Plus, looking outward rather than inward helps defeat feelings of depression and anxiety. It creates a win-win situation for yourself (Again, I’m talking to myself but letting the rest of you in on my inner thoughts).

Trust God—He can use your mistakes to make a better you.

Reframing How You See Your Life

Too many people struggle with depression and anxiety on a daily basis—and I’m one of those people. One approach that I have used from time to time to help eliminate my worry and anxiety over the future is to completely reframe my thinking regarding it and the past.

By nature, I have always held onto the past. It’s where I’m most comfortable because it’s a known. The future is unknown of course. By thinking about the past and dwelling on the past I’m able to keep my mind in a more comfortable, secure place.

However, we don’t live in the past. We only live in the here-and-now, with the future to look forward to. So, by living in the past in my mind, I’m actually creating more anxiety for myself. What happens now is that I see my “true” life as that which I had before I left home for college. That’s the point at which one major phase of my life ended and another began.

Therefore, in my mind, all the events that have happened since I left home are cataloged as leading away from that anchor point. 

Let me explain it this way. It’s as if I’m wading into the ocean backwards with my eye on the shoreline that is getting ever farther away. My childhood is represented as my walk down the beach until I reach the edge of the water. 

Everything after that (adulthood) is represented by my wading into the water. The longer I live, the farther I get away from the shore with its supposed safety and the more treacherous my journey becomes. 

Slowly but surely, I’m wading backward out into deeper waters, getting closer to the point where I’m completely underwater. My focus is not on the direction I’m headed, but rather it’s always on the shore.

Each day of my adult life is seen as a crisis—it’s not my real life because that ended at childhood when I began wading into the water. The crisis is heightening day by day as I get deeper and deeper. There is no real living in this scenario—just survival for as long as Ican.

As you can imagine, this way of thinking makes for a very anxious kind of life.

However, by reframing my way of thinking, I can see my life in a whole different light. If I create a different schema to catalog my experience, then everything is flipped 180 degrees. If I see each new day as the beginning of the rest of my life, and all the events that come afterward as just a long extension of my real life, then a great deal of worry, fear, and anxiety is eliminated.

I have to tell myself, “My life is here and now. Everything else is in the past. This is my life, along with everything that I experience from this point on.”

But the real key is to see my life this way. I have to keep in mind the image that the past is all behind me and that the future is a great, wide road in front of me, representing all the potential that life holds.

Creating this image in my head helps me see my life completely differently. Instead of ruminating on the past and fretting because each day takes me further away from its “safety,” I’m instead focused on the future and making each day count for something. I can look forward to each day instead of being anxious because life has taken me so far from my past.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul tells his readers that he uses that same approach:

“…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”

Phil. 3:13b

It’s good to learn from the past, but not so good if you live in the past. As the motivational saying goes, “Remember the lesson, but forget the details.”

Living in the past cripples you and makes you totally ineffective for you present life. Plus, you end up fearing the future because your mind is conditioned to crave the apparent security of the past. 

That security is all a lie, however. The past has no real power, only that which you allow it to have. The present and the future are where life is truly lived.

Imagine Yourself a Happy Person

The next time you’re feeling blue (or down in the dumps, depressed, or whatever you want to call it), here’s a simple exercise that you can try that will make you feel better.

Ask yourself, “How would I act if I weren’t depressed, if I were a genuinely happy person?” Focus on trying to imagine yourself acting that way. Picture yourself with a carefree, happy smile on your face, talking easily to strangers, smiling uncontrollably because life feels so darned good.

Spend a few minutes really concentrating on fleshing out the details of this image. What would you eyes look like as they sparkled with joy? Would others see your pearly white teeth as you would be unable to hide your huge, happy smile? What would your body language look like? Would you hold your shoulders back and your head high?

Once you’ve really nailed this image in your head, NOW GO DO IT. Act like that genuinely happy person who doesn’t have a care in the world. Take the day by the horns and make it yours.

Smile easily, laugh loudly, show others how much you enjoy being in their presence. Walk like you have a purpose.

Do this exercise every day for a couple of weeks. It may feel corny at first, but over time it will become more natural feeling. As the old saying goes, “Fake it ‘til you make it.”

You may just find yourself experiencing those genuine feelings of happiness more and more. Wouldn’t that be great?

My Big Mistake

“When you take charge of your own narrative, it gives you a handle on it.”

– Liz Murray

It’s been a long journey to happiness. And while I’ve haven’t quite achieved the level of satisfaction with my life that I’d like, I have come a long way.

One of the ideas that held me back for so long—and still does from time to time—was my belief that happiness just happens to you.

That you wake up each day, optimistic, with a smile on your face, and ready to face the world.

It’s the idea that people are just born happy—and that I. Was. Not. One. Of. Those. People. For decades I looked around at my peers, most of whom appeared reasonably contented with their lives, and I wondered why I didn’t feel the same way. Why could I just not take life as it comes, without all the fear, worry, depression, and anxiety that plagued me each day?

Obviously I wasn’t born happy, but surely taking a pill (or two or three) would do the trick, wouldn’t it? Go to the psychiatrist, get a prescription, and BAM!—life is all better. I tried that method for years, with very, very little success.

The medication helped some, enough to raise me to a baseline where I could hang on, hopeful that someday I’d find the find psycho cocktail that would magically cure whatever my problem was.

That never happened, though. That magical potion did not appear. I didn’t wake up one day and feel transformed.

Over time, however, I did realize that the key to lasting change lay within myself.

While the medication helped a little, I discovered the old motivational saying was true: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

I realized that to find joy and happiness in life, I had to quit feeling sorry for myself and being angry that my life wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. I had to take charge of my destiny with a new drive to make my life into something better.

Instead of sitting around waiting for a pill to change everything, I needed to catapult the little amount of benefit I got from my medication into something bigger.

The pill gave me breathing room—now I had to punch back with a determination to practice gratitude, change my way of thinking, and begin to truly change my life.

And that is where I am today.

I had picked up a number of useful tools for dealing with depression over the years, although I’ve never really put them to good use.

However, I now realized that one of the main keys to becoming a truly joyful person is to quit looking at the past. Instead of saying, “Oh woe is me…I’m just not a happy person”—I needed to press forward, quit feeling like a victim, and get on with change.

I had taken great pleasure in playing the victim and feeling sorry for myself. I felt like the world owed me an apology for treating me so badly. I didn’t want to move forward—in fact, I couldn’t move forward—because I was too busy waiting for an apology and explanation as to why I felt the way that I did.

Little tip: You’ll never get that apology or that explanation. Just move on.

It’s been a very slow process, but now when those depressive feelings enter my mind, instead of getting down on myself and wallowing in self-pity, I have a desire to overcome those feelings and to take action to make my life better.

This deep drive and desire is what has made all the difference. Until I truly wanted to feel better—instead of taking some weird pleasure in feeling sorry for myself—it was not possible for me to make any lasting change.

I haven’t yet arrived. Not by a long shot. But, I’m well on my way.

See you there.

What King David, Jesus, and I All Have in Common

A lonely season
On a cold and dreary late afternoon one winter, I stared out the window of my third floor apartment as dusk settled in. A set of train tracks lay on the other side of a barren field.

I was suffering through depression, so I sat, stared, and smoked a lot in those days—my sophomore year in college.

I remember thinking, Wouldn’t it be great if I could just jump out this window and soar off into the night, leaving all my problems here in this apartment?

Since I obviously couldn’t fly, my next thought was, What if I just ran across the field to the tracks and hopped aboard the first open box car, letting it carry me away to some unknown destination?

Surely that would be the escape I needed from the depression and anxiety plaguing me.

Reality set in. There was no point in dreaming any longer. I couldn’t fly, and I wasn’t about to climb into an empty train car.

I guess I was stuck here—in a drab, gray, mid-winter existence— confounded by depression and boredom with no hope for the future.

Those were the words I thought to myself, and perhaps even voiced aloud, so many years ago.


King David was depressed too
King David had similar thoughts. He wrote many psalms, in fact, reflecting these same sentiments of loneliness and depression.

Psalm 55 paints a vivid picture of David’s anguish. Although most bible scholars agree that we can’t know with certainty what exact circumstances prompted King David to write this psalm, he may have been dealing with a rebellion of some sort, as well as betrayal by a trusted friend or confidant.

In verse 1 of this psalm David begs God to hear his prayers and not hide Himself.

We read in verses 4 and 5 that because of his enemies, his “heart is in anguish…Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.”

Certainly these powerful descriptions of David’s mental state ring true with many people today. I know they do for me.

And then it hit me…
I was driving home recently, listening to a narrator read Psalm 55 on my bible app, when suddenly I heard verse 6:  “And I say, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.’”

My mind instantly shot back to that lonely afternoon in my apartment almost 30 years earlier. Even though I’ve read Psalm 55 before, hearing the Bible read often has a whole different effect on me.

Suddenly, God’s word resonated inside me with the effect of powerful poetry, not just ordinary words I’d read before.

It became alive to me right there in my car as I was driving down a busy road. I realized that I’d felt the exact same emotions as King David had written about over two millennia ago.

Both of us had longed to fly off into the sky like a bird and far away from our many troubles and fears!

Charles Spurgeon describes David’s thoughts this way:  “If he could not resist as an eagle, he would escape as a dove.”

Even Jesus had His moments
Another point most bible scholars agree on is that King David is a type, or a shadow of Christ. David’s lament on his tumultuous situation parallels the words of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane just before He is arrested and taken captive.

In Matthew 26:38-39, Jesus tells three of his disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.” After He walks away from them alone, He prays, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”

Even Jesus felt alone and despondent!


Keep on keepin’ on
If we stopped reading at this point in Matthew we might begin believing that it’s OK to let ourselves stagnate in depression, anxiety, and fear—hiding from our problems and doing nothing.

However, in verse 39b Jesus continues praying:  “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

He knows what must be done. He allows Himself a moment to express the depth of pain in His human heart, but then He musters the strength He needs to endure the horrible events that will soon transpire.

Jesus knew He couldn’t run away.

Even David ultimately knew he couldn’t run away.

Lean on God
Later in Psalm 55 David realizes God had heard his prayers after all. He writes in verses 16 and 18, “But I call to God, and the Lord will save me…He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage.”

David even gives us sound advice to follow in verse 22:  “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Commenting on Psalm 55, Spurgeon writes, “Inward grief knows nothing of place. Moreover, it is cowardly to shun the battle which God would have us fight…We need not depart; all will be well if we trust in him.”

That’s all there is to say, I believe.

There’s nothing more I can write on this topic that could add anything to the holy prayers of Jesus, the Holy Spirit-inspired poetry of King David, or the scholarly commentary of Charles Spurgeon.

Philippians 4: The Original Cognitive Therapy


A good day

I discovered the book on the first Saturday in May several years ago. Derby Day for those of you familiar with horse racing. The giant of horse races runs on this spring day every year—the Kentucky Derby, AKA The Run For the Roses.

On this particular Derby Day the clouds had opened up and drenched our area with rain. With nothing in particular I had to do that afternoon, I decided to visit my local library before the big race. I began perusing the rows of wonderful books, finding myself in the self-help section of the nonfiction books.

That is where I found it—Feeling Good by Dr. David D. Burns. The title alone immediately drew me in. Who doesn’t want to feel good? Finding a cozy spot in the library I nestled in and began reading my new find.

I found the book so engaging that I checked it out from the library, later buying my own copy.

And that was my first real introduction to the basics of cognitive therapy.


Cognitive therapy? What’s that?

Merriam-Webster defines cognitive therapy as “psychotherapy especially for depression that emphasizes the substitution of desirable patterns of thinking for maladaptive or faulty ones.”

On its website, the Center for Cognitive Therapy describes the treatment in a way that’s easier to understand: “Cognitive Therapy is based on the premise that what we think affects our emotions, what we choose to do or avoid, and our physiological reactions…In fact, most situations remain neutral until we assign meaning based on how we interpret the situation.”

In a nutshell, Dr. Burns’ book describes how our feelings of depression are not actually rooted in reality, but rather in our perceptions of reality—false conclusions we make about ourselves and our circumstances.


OK—so how does it work?

Dr. Burns’ self-help approach to overcoming these feelings has several steps.

For example, if I’m feeling depressed and worthless because my boss passed me over for a promotion, the first step is to identify the Automatic Thought that is behind those feelings (Burns 29). In this case the thought might be something like, “I’ve missed out on another promotion. I’m worthless—I’ll never get ahead.”

Then I need to label the negative thought as one or more types of Cognitive Distortion—the illusion I have allowed myself to believe, which actually has no basis in reality. Dr. Burns lists 10 different Cognitive Distortions in his book (32). This thought of failure and worthlessness could be labeled as Overgeneralization. My mind took one setback and turned it into a pattern of lifetime defeat (Burns 33).

Once I have the identified and labeled the negative thought, I need to replace it with a Rational Response. I could say to myself something like, “That’s just one promotion. It’s not the end of the world. They’ll be other promotions to work for. Besides, I’m certainly not worthless.”

That’s how self-help cognitive therapy works. Dr. David Burns is a pretty smart guy for having figured all this out.


And God said, “Let there be cognitive therapy”

With all due respect to Dr. Burns, however, God is a whole lot smarter.

He drafted the blueprint for self-help cognitive therapy 2000 years ago in the fourth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Here we will find God’s instructions to us—via the hand of Paul—for handling the depression, anxiety, and fear of everyday life.

Philippians 4:4 begins God’s plan for correcting our faulty thinking. The first bit of advice Paul writes is to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” If we cannot take joy in God—the Creator of the entire universe and the Savior of our souls—then nothing will help us.

In the following verse we’re told that God is near to us always (Phil. 4:5b); we’re to understand and take to heart that we’re not alone.

These two verses should form the bedrock of our self-help ritual.


Where the rubber meets the road

In Philippians 4:6 we find the beginning of the heart of cognitive therapy. “[D]o not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

God commands us to have no anxiety. None. Zilch. But how are we supposed to do this you might ask. After all, each of us is bombarded on a daily basis with the stresses and strains of life—there is no escaping it.

The first key is to trust God, letting Him know our requests through the triple weapons of prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving.

On her podcast, bible teacher Kay Arthur elaborates on the key differences between these three important concepts.

According to Ms. Arthur, the word translated as “prayer” in verse 6 means general prayer to God in the original Greek. She explains that we should first simply talk to God, focusing on who He is—the fact that He’s sovereign and omniscient, and that He’s the One who promises everything in our lives will work together for good if we’re a believer in Christ.

She continues by explaining that supplication means making a specific request for our present needs.  When we’re fearful or anxious about a situation, ask God for help with the situation—whatever it may be.

Finally, be thankful. Stop and realize that you have Jesus for this situation—therefore you have access to the Father and everything you need for this and all other stressful situations in life. Your life is in His hands.

Fear, worry, and anxiety are the result of wrong thinking contrary to God’s word. They are also key causes of depression. Just like Dr. Burns’ method to identify and label the Automatic Thought—prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving enable us to grab hold of our fears, worries, and anxieties and hand them over to God for Him to take care of.


Finish strong

Verse 8 of Philippians 4 is the lock-in (similar to a grind-in if you’ve been involved in Emotional Brain Training (EBT), a form of cognitive therapy), tying everything together by keeping us focused on the positive things in life. Paul tells us to keep our minds trained on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

God designed us, so He knows our minds cannot remain empty for long. It is imperative to put something in place of our worries, fears, and anxieties or else they will creep right back in.

That’s why we’re commanded to think about positive, uplifting things—the sunshine peeking out after a morning rain; a fresh blanket of new snow; a full moon on a cold, clear night; a baby’s innocent smile; or even lighter-than-normal traffic on your morning commute.

On a recent podcast concerning Philippians 4, Pastor J.P. Jones teaches that if we want the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, then we must be “peace makers, peace receivers, peace thinkers, and peace practicers.”

Philippians 4:8 represents a strong parallel to the final piece of Dr. Burns’ self-help cognitive therapy method. The only significant difference is the terminology. We’re labeling the negative Automatic Thought what it really is—fear, worry, and anxiety, and instead of substituting it with a Rational Response, we’re filling our minds with all the good, positive, uplifting things about the world we live in.

So we see that Dr. Burns was definitely onto something great when he wrote Feeling Good. Only God beat him to it by a couple thousand years.

Work Cited

Burns, David D. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. Harper, 1999.


A Rough Week

This week I’ve been mad at God, at my wife, at the kids, at my coworkers, everybody around me.

I feel like maybe God has kind of “given me over” to all my anger and rebellion this week. Like maybe He’s saying, “OK, that’s what you want? You want to be bitter and angry and good for nothing? You got it. I’m not protecting you from yourself anymore. You’re on your own to allow your flesh to consume you.”

Of course, I don’t know if that’s it, but I’ve felt that way. I’ve had no real pull toward God, toward wanting to be a good husband or a good father. I’ve only felt like satisfying my desires, what I want and what I think I need.

Honestly, it’s not been a good feeling. I’ve felt very distant from God, like He was a million miles away in another universe or something. At heart I want to serve God. I’m just so frustrated with life I don’t seem capable of pulling myself together to serve Him.
I was reading in a book earlier tonight that God wants to give us good things, that He wants us to be happy and successful. On the one hand I don’t know if I agree with the happy and successful part, but the bible does say He wants to give us good things, just like our earthly fathers do.

Most of the time I really don’t see any evidence of God’s desire for good things in my life. If that were true, why do I feel so miserable? Why have I been unhappy and depressed so many years? Wouldn’t God have stepped in by now if He really cared? Wouldn’t He have rescued me from this drudgery called life by now? How can I continue to hope for the best and be optimistic after all these years? For the most part I have been miserable all my adult life, at least 24 years. How much longer do I have to wait until something changes?
Maybe I’m what needs to change. I read a quote today that said, “When you feel like God is doing nothing, that’s probably when He is doing the most.” That stuck with me. Maybe a breakthrough is around the corner and life will change for me. Or maybe not my life, but simply my attitude toward life.

I guess I need to remember, however, that I may never have the life here on earth that I think I should have. I was never promised that after all. I am promised eternal life in the company of my Savior. For that I should be thankful and happy everyday.

There is nothing on this earth so bad that it could ever tarnish the thought of eternity with God. Even after living with and loving Him for 1000 years — and that’s a long time — I’m just getting started. And even after another 10,000 years (which I can’t possibly fathom), it will still be like I’m just getting started. My existence and fellowship with God will never end. It will keep on going and going.

We humans can’t get a real grasp on eternity because the longest any of us has ever lived is a few decades, which to us seems long. God created the concept of eternity for us. He lives outside time. He always has been and always will be. Quite simply, He is timeless. Time is an invention of His for us to use while on earth. After our bodies die and we join Him, time has no meaning to us either. We just are — and will continue to be — forever.