…if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
— Romans 12:8 NIV
“Are you depressed?” The doctor didn’t even look up as he asked. The question caught me off guard because I hadn’t considered that possibility and, on consideration, really couldn’t tell. The answer I finally settled on was, “No, but I feel very sober. Not much is funny. Not much is light. I don’t have energy to do anything but the work in front of me. After that, there’s not much left.” Thus, my journey with thyroid disease began.
Several years later I was on the top of a Colorado mountain. The kids played tag, tossed balls with David and had a big time. I sat on a bench thinking, “I wish I had that kind of energy.” Walking back, the kids crisscrossed grass and paths while I stayed very intentionally on the paved part. “When did this start? I never used to stay on the pavement!” I didn’t realize how much of myself had been lost, not just to thyroid disease, but grief, stress, and ministry. Enthusiasm for life, joy, my love of big ole belly laughs, the capacity to notice God’s gifts and feel gratitude for them…all were scarce in my life. This realization startled me. Shook me. I hadn’t wanted to be that girl. But I was.
Just surviving, I put one foot in front of the other. Thyroid disease set the stage, but my sin nature, that chunk of me that says, “I’ll have to do this myself. Alone. Maybe God will help too,” took over. Hilarity? Laughter? Cheerful disposition? Mirth? That all felt very far away. I needed an impossible rescue from myself. And I got it.
I’m coming to learn that hilarotes (Greek for hilarity) has much more to do with a readiness of mind which grows from an ever-expanding appreciation for God’s never-ending gifts! Have you felt the surprise of His goodness? Did it bring laughter? This delight is the cornerstone and foundation of our spiritual life. It must be sought, cultivated, and received before it can be given to others. I needed (and still need) God to form hilarity, humor, glee, and cheerfulness in my soul.
What about you? What’s the rescue you need? What would you like Him to form in you?
ACTION: If someone were to describe you (the way you are with yourself, with others, with the Lord) throughout the course of a week, what do you imagine they might say? What do you long for that perhaps you might have enjoyed once but got lost along the way? Pictures are a wonderful way to connect with our longings. Perhaps you would like to either draw a picture or look for pictures that express your longing. Old photos are also a wonderful way to wake up desires we thought we had lost. Look at some photos from 5, 10, or more years ago. What do you see?