SAD (Seasonal affective disorder) is a mood disorder that is also known as winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, summer blues, or seasonal depression. In essence it is caused by a lack of sunshine, and so is very common in Nordic countries and Dolgellau. Symptoms of SAD include: difficulty waking up in the morning, morning sickness, a tendency to oversleep and over eat. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on completing tasks, and withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities. All of this leads to experiences of depression.
I think we can have this type of experience spiritually. We can know what it is to be lethargic, glum and isolationist in our Christian life. And I believe that this all all down to sunshine too…
24 “‘“The LORD bless you
and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’
God’s desire is to bless us by making His face shine upon us. He wants to look to us in blessing. This is something we should all desire and pray for one another and ourselves – to know the shining face/ smile (The Message) of our Heavenly Abba Father.
But, there are occasions (sometimes long periods) when we don’t know the shining smile of God and thus we are Spiritual Sad, downcast, depressed, thirsty, hungry…
Is that you?
Are you there?
If you are, many others have experienced it too. The Psalmist takes about being thirsty for God like a deer pants for water; or crying out to God; being desperate for God to turn to Him. Indeed, Jesus Himself cried out ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?‘.
Donald Whitney says:
‘it’s one thing to long for a sense of God’s presence while not experiencing it, and another to live routinely with no awareness of His absence. There is a world of difference between Jesus crying out from the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46), and Samson saying just before his capture, “`I will go out as before, at other times,’ … but he did not know that the LORD had departed from him” (Judges 16:20). One is known by its agony, the other by its apathy.’
Are you desperate for God?
If you are, there is good news, an answer.
What is the answer?
Well, scientists have come up with ‘light boxes’ for the physical/ mental SAD condition. You create a little, artificial light and attach it to you head. It may help a bit…but it doesn’t deal with the actual problem. It doesn’t compare with seating on the beach on a glorious day.
We can do a similar thing with our spiritual problem – create smaller, fake smiles:
- falling into false beliefs about God
- working long hours to earn God’s favour
- settling for a Christian life that is sad and lonely