For many people Fall is the best time of the year. There are colors changing on the trees. Summer heat gives way to cooler temperatures. Football is back on the TV. And of course there is the ever cherished pumpkin spice…everything.
For me though, Fall is my least favorite time of the year. It isn’t all bad; I do like the colors for what they are and my favorite sport is football. That is where my enjoyment ends. I haven’t liked this time of year for quite a while but I have to say, this year has been especially hard.
In fact, this year has been so bad that I actually have to fight back panic attacks when I think about it. And I am not exaggerating. Full blown can’t breathe, wanna cry and run away world spinning panic attacks.
I would imagine that there are people out there who might think that I am just being dramatic. “What is the point getting upset over a season? There is certainly nothing you can do about it. You can’t change fall.” And each week at Celebrate Recovery we say the Prayer for Serenity. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”
So what is my problem? Why do I let this season get to me?
Here are a couple of reasons I struggle.
I hate cold. Hate is a strong word, so that is why I am using it. I hate cold. And I live in Duluth, Minnesota of all places. Duluth has been rated the worst place to experience winter for several years in a row now by a major national magazine using an assessment of snow, below zero temps, wind chill. And I live here! If fall is here then winter is coming.
“Minnesota! Come for the scenery, stay because your car won’t start.”
Another reason is because I love the sun. That is something I can’t see right now. The sky has been a steady stream of clouds and sadness for the last I don’t even know how long. When doctors are telling people here that vitamin D deficiency is endemic in this part of the world then I have to question why people ever settled here in the first place.
Lastly I love color. Now this may seem a little odd since I just said a minute ago that the leaves are changing. Shouldn’t I be happy about this time of year? No. The pretty only lasts for a short period and then all of a sudden those leaves fall and BAM grey. Grey skies, gray trees, gray grass everything is grey. Grey grey stupid grey. Ok, I will admit I am being dramatic on this one but come on!
You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Why doesn’t he just move?” And that is fair. The thing is right now I am not supposed to move. I don’t feel like God has said that I am free to go yet. I am involved in a CR here. There is family within a couple hours from us. My daughter just started high school so I don’t want to pull her in the middle of that for a new school. It’s hard enough to be a teenager these days. I don’t want to make life any harder than it has to be. And the reality is, if I were to move just for the sake of moving then I am not moving TO something, I am running FROM something. There is a big difference.
Moving to something is done when there is a specific call on your life. Right now I know there is a call for me to be involved in ministry with CR and elsewhere, but not in a way that requires me to move. I would love to live in Charleston, South Carolina or San Diego, CA or any other number of southern cities in between. I have mentioned this before. But there is nothing at the moment yelling out that God is saying pick here. I wish there was. But there isn’t. Not right now anyways. So I wait.
The thing that gets me is that I don’t know how long I will have to wait. And for all the things I love about being here. Summer is FANTASTIC! Those other things I mentioned and a few others are not going anywhere while I am here. I will have to endure those things. Just because I believe that I am walking in God’s will for my life at the moment doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect.
For example in Luke 22:44 we see Jesus in such anguish over going to the crucifixion that he literally started sweating blood. Something called Hematohidrosis. No one could ever be more in God’s will for their life than Jesus and He suffered. Now before anyone starts worrying, no I am not in any way placing living in Minnesota as being on the same level as Jesus taking on the sins of the world. That would be dumb. But it goes to the point that having Jesus does not equal easy living.
So what is my point to all of this?
While God may be calling you to go through something, that doesn’t mean it will be awesome. But if God is calling you to do something He will make it possible.
My mental health is not in a good place with this weather. But through this God will do something good. And if God is going to do something good through this, then I feel it is worth it. And because it is worth it I can endure without building resentments toward God. I can continue to move forward without giving up. I can still maintain a hope for the future. Hope brings strength. So when I have a panic attack I won’t give up. When my depression is bad I won’t give up. When things feel impossible I won’t give up.
I will still follow the example of Jesus and ask “for this cup to pass from me” from time to time.
But I won’t give up.
Ntl. Director of Mental Health for Celebrate Recovery