By: Julie Thomas
Fear…It thrives in the dark. It engulfs you in the solace of the dark. And you are so afraid and uncertain of the changes that may ensue if you step out of the shadow and gloom of depression, that you nest there. “It’s safer here in the dark,” we think. “I’m familiar with my misery.” And “what if stepping out into the light causes more pain?” And then, before you know it, the safety of your existing, familiar, dark place; becomes your hiding place.
Your heart starts to tuck itself into that dark place. “The heart truly is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out” (Jeremiah 17:9, The Message).
It is possible, to make a ‘lie’ your hiding place. When you tell yourself or when fear tells you that it’s alright to isolate yourself from everyone and everything around you, and you start to crawl into the cave of depression; that becomes your hiding place. That place is your misery and yet, has become your familiarity. There lies the ‘lie.’ Your hiding place translates itself into a place of false refuge.
Now there is nothing wrong in having a hiding place or haven. We all have our hiding places. A place of solace and comfort. I love to cuddle up in a nook of my home with my favorite blanket, a piece of chocolate and a book. My comfort nook.
But sadly, the longevity of all hiding places is fleeting. All but one. One where the more you retreat into, the more you draw strength. A strength that will not cause you to withdraw, rather a strength that will cause you to step forward and take your stride towards freedom. A strength that comes when you rest your heart, in the heart of God.
The safety we feel in our hiding place of isolation or comfort is short-lived. There’s only so much you can do when you’re battling something that is trying to subdue you. But the safety we experience when we entrust our aching hearts to God, is irrevocable.
If I were to deconstruct the supporting pedestals for fear in my life, one of them was the fear of people. My mind turned into analytical laboratory, dissecting what people ‘may’ have thought of me, why they thought of me that way. Some people just down-right terrified me. And some weren’t shy in dishing out opinions and decrees that were more vexing to an already injured soul.
But, you know, as they say, “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that” (Proverbs 29: 25, The Message). It’s true. It disabled me to the point of not wanting to see or interact with people. Routine visits to the grocery store were very unnerving. The lights, the sounds, the people, the store aisles…everything would seem like it was spinning before my eyes. The sound of my phone ringing startled me so much that I kept it on vibrate for years. Fear, all over me. The struggle seemed unbeatable and unbearable. Emotionally distraught, physically overwrought
God, calls out fear, Fear in its every guise. Fear is not something we need to carry. Unhealthy fear will nag your health miserably. It did mine. However, we do have the privilege of carrying a healthy fear. And that is the fear that stems from our adoration and reverence for our maker. When we embody the healthy, reverent fear of God, we will be enveloped by the love of God.
That can be our hiding place.
When you face trouble – let God be your hiding place
” You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble” (Psalm 32:7, ESV)
When people don’t understand your struggle and turn against you – God can still be your hiding place
” You shelter them in your presence far from accusing tongues” (Psalm 31:20, NLT)
Don’t let darkness and lies be your hiding place. That is fertile soil for your gloom to thrive further. Share your struggle. Share your story. You never know what treasures will bloom through the grim, choked, rugged path of your depression journey. Perhaps the truth of your journey will inspire hope and truth for another’s.