Self-Righteous Seasonal Affective Disorder

I take things far too seriously.

I have a hard time accepting what people tell me and my tendency is to appreciate negative critique tens times more seriously than positive.

Why is that?

What is it about my personality and self worth that makes me focus so much on the harsh comments? Are all people built this way or are others more willing to hear the sunshiney comments before the gloom and doom?Seasonal Affective Disorder Meme

This time of year is tough for me and it shouldn’t come as any surprise. All of my adult life I have suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder. The fact that I know it’s coming doesn’t ever make it better. I know I’m going to feel terrible and then I feel terrible. The prophet in me rejoices as my angst. Honestly, this is the time of year I like to hide in the corner and weep. I just can’t seem to get myself motivated about anything. I’m sad. I’m depressed. I’m wiped out.

The worst is how I treat those around me. I snap at them and nit-pick. I argue, lament, and wallow simultaneously.  I’m a wreck.

And then Advent starts…I’m supposed to somehow pull it all together and preach about “hope” this week.

“Hope…” What a ridiculous concept, eh? What is there to hope for in the face of riots in Ferguson? What is there to hope for when I’m burying  yet another brother, wife, spouse, friend, or child or someone in the congregation? What is there to hope for when all I feel is remorse, distress, and anger?

Yet that is supposed to be the point.

I want to hope in the resurrection…but how?

I want to hope in the love…but where?

I want to hope in hope but it seems like the world is telling me it’s not worth the struggle.

This past week I was in a rough place. I was sad and couldn’t take the seemingly endless string of complaints and critiques from parishioners about decorations, flowers, stirring sticks, and colors. Stuff that is very important to them but felt so utterly irrelevant to me. I was apathetic and then got on my high horse about why they shouldn’t be complaining about these things. Why didn’t they care about hunger, racism. and domestic abuse with the same self-righteous indignation the felt over Christmas trees, colors, and trappings? Why can’t I motivate people to hear the gospel instead of hearing my griping and inconsistencies?

I’m at a loss, folks. This year hurts.

I CRAVE the incarnation. God with us – Emmanuel. I need that. I want that. Why can’t I see or feel that?

Part of the journey in Advent is the approach of Christ. God with us, almost but not yet. We wait for God’s return just as we celebrate Jesus’ birth. That is what I want to remember but can’t seem to shake my feeling of loss, loneliness, and anxiety.

So, I’m asking you. What do you do? How do you believe when there is doubt? How do you love where there is pain? How do you hope when you feel helpless? What is there for us now and how do we enter into what is to come? I welcome your responses and covet your prayers.

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2 responses to “Self-Righteous Seasonal Affective Disorder

  1. Pastor Andrew,
    I have kept a Blessings Journal in the past around this time of year, wherein I would list three things that I was thankful for each day. This seemed to help me during a rough patch….usually around the holidays for some reason. In fact, I think I’ll do it again this year since I’m going through a few changes and adjustments in my life right now, along with missing my church family at The Peoples Church of East Lansing. I also know that there are folks out there in the world whose life is far worse than mine, and I know I probably shouldn’t compare, but it makes me feel grateful in some strange way….and, well, less ungrateful. I do believe that maintaining a spirit of gratitude is the key to inner joy and happiness anyway. Take care and may God bless you and your beautiful family during this upcoming holiday season!!
    Rachel Day

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  2. There’s nothing here that an ounce of a good malt cannot cure. As for belief and love, just ask any theologically inclined dog for answers. Humans, my dog told me, think too much.

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