Many of us are in the depths of winter when daylight lasts for only 9-10 hours a day. And, many of those days are veiled with grey clouds, eclipsing the sun, so natural light seems even more scarce. The effect of diminished sunlight on the human body can increase anxiety and depression as Serotonin, a significant hormone, needs sunlight to help balance our emotional responses. Some of us may even suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a mood disorder related to seasonal changes. Bottom line: we need light to flourish.
As much as we need physical light, we also need spiritual light for growing our faith, inspiring hope, and building resilience. For many years, my life verse has been John 1: 5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (NLT). There is a light that is forever present, and always accessible: the light that was present before the world was ever created, and that light is Jesus, the Messiah. During really difficult and dark times in my life when I have felt overcome by sorrow, when circumstances made me feel hopeless, when my irrational perceptions left me crouched in fear, the image of Jesus as my Light is what often rescued me from my own dark despair. And, when I daily decide to let the light of Jesus shine brighter than the world around me, it is well with my heart, mind, and soul. But make no mistake, it is a daily practice to choose to walk in the light because dark clouds will inevitably try to obscure my light.
Perhaps, you have felt a bit more of the darkness in recent days. Has the darkness made you feel fearful? Grieved? Angry? Anxious? Over the next five weeks, I invite you to follow my blog as I will discuss overpowering emotions, and how these emotions can be our own dark clouds that overshadow the light. Follow along for both psycho-therapeutic interventions, and Biblical insight for regulating our emotions. In striving for a daily practice of accepting more light, our goal should be to know the light that exists around me, within me, and that shines out through me.
I recognize that for some of you, a daily practice of seeking more hopeful light may seem like a nice idea, but it doesn’t seem like enough for you. I understand that feeling. Some have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), or you may have significant and debilitating trauma responses associated with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), or the exhausting rituals of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and many other issues. These are real struggles that may always be present in your life to various degrees. If this is the case for you, I recommend that you seek a mental health professional to help you work toward better outcomes. And, I invite you, too, to keep seeking for the light, though you may be weary. Find comfort for the journey in the light of Jesus.
Next blog: Light in the Dark – Part 2 (Managing Fear)