I knew it was coming but it had some nerve to appear in full regalia five minutes before the Christmas Day service. At first, I thought it was just pre-service nerves but it wasn’t – by the end of the service my confidence was in tatters and I was a puddle, muddy and blue.
For a few days prior to Christmas, I had been holding onto the hope that it was exhaustion; not being able to focus on anything and wanting merely to sit quietly staring at the wall. However I couldn’t sit, I had too much to do. So I rationalised as I so often have that it was just tiredness.
Sunday after Christmas I was preaching again but it was just pants. I felt sick before, during and after, completely and utterly that this is it. Finished.
But I have been in the desert and the pit often enough that I have coping skills for staying there and equally coping skills for getting out.
Yesterday was day one, Monday, December 29th, 2014 is the day I will mark down as the day I held my hands up to the Lord and asked for deliverance from the pit. There is part of the job that I have to do, keep busy, get physically tired, read scripture, pray and spend time outside breathing in God’s beautiful clear air.
I had to prepare a talk for Castleisland and take care of my two cared for people, cook dinner, make lunch, get some messages, make something for the meeting in Castleisland so I just added in a 3-mile walk with Lorelei thinking that would be enough. Life doesn’t ever work out how we want it and my hot water system exploded pouring muddy water all over the floor.
Chaos ensued but I have to single out the level-headedness of one DL, who came to my rescue, thanking the Lord for good Christian men and then a plumber of impeccable pedigree sorted out my pipes.
So no baking, no putting on preacher clothes, my day was spent on my knees cleaning mud and water. Arriving at the meeting covered in muck and bought confectionery, I didn’t know what to apologise for more.
But I delivered the message without notes (for the first time) and although short was well received. R. didn’t fall asleep, always a good sign!
My confidence is still low, but I am not in the pit anymore, I refuse point blank to wallow in depressive tendencies – so easy to sit in the miry pit. If I succumbed to it and sat in it, it would be only to fulfil a self-prophecy of failure, to self-sabotage – because I know and am affirmed as recently as last night that this is not God’s plan.
‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’
John 16:33 NIVUK