Today is a good day. I love good days. They are days when I discover what it means to be myself. I learn truths about who I am and how he world works. I learn about things that cannot change. I learn about patterns of health. I learn about relationships. I learn what is true.
The good days are when I often learn that I am loved by the people around me. I remember that there are millions of people who have overcome depression. I remember that I matter, and that I have value. I learn that God is always at work, and He is desperately loving.
Then times get hard.
When times are hard, sometimes I forget what I have learned. I forget that I am loved. I forget that I matter. I forget that God is still at work. During the times when life gets hard, ironically, all of the things which do not change, all of those truths mentioned above, all of them lose their power.
Instead of knowing that I am loved, when times have been hard, I have begun to believe that I do not matter. I have have begun, at times, to think that I had nothing to offer the world. I have begun to believe all sorts of lies. I have begun to believe that the things that cannot change, somehow, have.
This change does not happen all at once. It happens one bit at a time. At the beginning of hard times, I feel like this test is something I can conquer. All of the truths I have learned permeate my being. Then things slowly erode. One by one, all of these truths that I have come to believe begin to fall away. They lose their power, and as these truths are worn away, I lose hope.
So what then?
In those times, I have often felt weak and broken, unworthy and unwound, trepidatious and slow.
Where is hope in the middle of all that? It is in the same place it has always been. Those truths I have learned are still true. I still have value. I am still loved. God is still working, even when I cannot see it. All of the things that have always been true still are, even when my perception of them has changed.
In those times, I have found a lifeline in my journals. I try to keep a journal of the profound things I have been learning. I will confess that I am not the best journaler in the world. I am pretty bad at it. However, when my perception falls apart, I do not need a comprehensive digest of everything I have learned. Even my shoddy attempt at journaling gives me the truths I need to hear. It gives me a lifeline.
Likewise, I have found that my friends, my wife, and my family are the reminder of the truths I need. They know the things that are true, and in the hard times, they can remind me of what is.
This is the truth about hope: it is always there. God is not going anywhere. My value is not going anywhere. My perception changes, but that does not undo the truth.
The key in the dark times is to remember: things that cannot change, don’t.