January is traditionally the dry season in SVG, which means we don’t get a lot of rain. But since Christmas we have been getting massive amounts of it!
Along with the rain I’ve experienced more than one dark day recently
Dark days are times when I experience discouragement or depression. This emotional struggle usually comes through lack of ministry opportunities, setbacks, or challenges that cannot be overcome. Lack of ministry lately because of the rain is enough to darken my mood.
The thing about dark days is you usually can’t see them coming. Everything is going great and then wham! You experience a setback and everything falls apart.
So dark days though painful teach a very important point….
We cannot overlook emotional health.
It’s easy to emphasize being strong spiritually through a strong walk with the Lord, and physically since missions is exhausting. But emotional strength is often overlooked. Maybe it’s because we think it will never become a problem, but as a missionary let me tell you, the dark days (and depression with them) will come!
The question isn’t will you be depressed?
It’s how you will respond to depression.
That’s why building up emotional strength (or having a positive outlook on dark days) is so incredibly important.
- By praying about everything (turning to God instead of bearing the burden ourselves)
- Focusing on the blessings God provides
- Having trusted friends who we can share our burdens with
- Having healthy responses to stress (taking a walk)
- Unplugging from technology
- Read a good book
I view my emotional life like a gas tank. It must be filled with these kinds of healthy habits so that when the dark days come there’s plenty emotional strength to spare. Of course, if my emotional tank is 1/4 full then the dark days will have no problem putting me down for the count!
Sadly, I’ve hit rock bottom at least once since Christmas because my emotional tank is running low. This is probably because my focus was on ministry and busyness kept me from taking time to rest and minister to my own heart.
The Lord through that experience and others reminded me that it’s okay to take care of myself. More than okay, it’s absolutely necessary.
May the Lord help us refill our emotional tanks daily in preparation for the dark days that are sure to come.