My adult life has been peppered with bouts of anxiety and depression. (That’s such a nice, cheery way to start a post. Don’t you think?) In the past, I have been able to contribute it to a specific circumstance in my life. But lately, I’ve been blue, and I haven’t a clue as to why.
Not only have I been blue, but I’ve been incredibly anxious. I wake up almost every single morning nauseas and dreadful of what the day might bring. Nothing seems to satisfy me or ease my discontent. I have no energy. No appetite. I have waves of anxiety for no reason at all. It’s baffling, uncomfortable and almost paralyzing. I just want to feel normal again.
Or at least that is what I thought I wanted.
Now…I’m not quite so sure.
You see, I’ve been fascinated with the Holy Spirit, lately. I’ve been praying for God to fill me up with His Spirit, to teach me about who He is, and how He works. We know so little about Him, and yet He is predominately how the God-head interacts with us today. Does that seem ironic to anyone but me?
In my search to know the seemingly enigmatic Holy Spirit, I stumbled across a collection of sermons by A.W. Tozer aptly titled Mystery of the Holy Spirit and this sentence caught my attention:
“I am not sure anyone was ever filled with the Spirit without first having a time of disturbance and anxiety.”
Come again, A.W. What was that?
“…before [the Holy Spirit] can fill us, there must be a disturbance and an anxiety. Adam has to die.”
Think about this with me for a second.
Let’s say you have a box full of junk, but you want to make it a box full of treasures. In order to make it a box full of treasures, you have to empty the box of the junk. Right? You have to pour out the contents of the box in order to fill it with the things that are valuable.
It is the same with the Holy Spirit!
We cannot be filled by the Holy Spirit until we are empty of our self and of the things of this world: the junk.
Wait! There is more.
When God turns our boxes upside down to empty us out, our internal self screams in discomfort creating feelings of anxiety and distress. Y’all! This could change my life!
Eventually, the box has to run out of junk, right? Eventually, those feelings of anxiety and despair will disappear when the box is turned right side up. And then look what happens! We get filled with the treasure of the Holy Spirit!
“But when you reach that place of despair, when nobody can help you; when you’ve gone to the last person, you’ve written the last editor, and followed the last evangelist around, and hunted up the last fellow to counsel with him, and when nobody can help you any more you’re in a state of inward despair; that’s when you should never despair, because you’re near the kingdom. That is getting close, getting near the place where God can do something for you.”
Do you see it? Oh, please tell me that you see it!
We try so hard in our society to be comfortable, to not feel pain, to not hurt or be anxious. We seek counsel in anything – and from anyone – but God.
We talk to friends,
surf the internet,
distract ourselves with more and more activities.
We pop pills,
or drink another glass of wine,
or work longer hours.
We numb ourselves with the television,
or quit our jobs,
or move on to another relationship.
But what would happen if we welcomed the pain? What would happen if we embraced the opportunity to be emptied of the junk so that God could fill us with His Treasure?