My carpool buddy and I pulled away from the house at an agonizing 6:23 this morning. Because daylight hours are shrinking, this means that almost our entire drive was in the pitch black of night.
I had encountered anecdotal evidence for there being more depression during these dark months, but I never understood it until last year. Last year when I started driving to work in the dark and driving back home . . . in the dark. It’s completely psychological but powerful nevertheless.
Daylight savings doesn’t help either. Not sure why it’s even called that—it doesn’t actually save any daylight. It just pushes it back. And for those of us driving to work in pitch blackness, it just makes matters worse.
Shorter days aside, last week was a rough one for me. Deadlines piling up so high I thought they were going to kill me.
But then I heard this. And it made a huge difference in my attitude.
It’s a section of Martin Lloyd-Jones book Spiritual Depression
. He discusses what we can learn from the psalmist’s example in Psalm 42.
Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you.
Now [the psalmist’s] treatment was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.”
This self of ours… has got to be handled. Do not listen to him; turn on him; speak to him; condemn him; upbraid him; exhort him; encourage him; remind him of what you know, instead of listening placidly to him and allowing him to drag you down and depress you. For that is what he will always do if you allow him to be in control . . . We must stand up as this man did and say, “Why art thou cast down? Why are thou disquieted within me? Stop being so! Hope though in God, for I shall yet praise Him.”
I think this is especially important in light of our modern tendencies to “believe in ourselves,” which can easily slip into “believing ourselves” when we think things that are simply not true in light of God’s truth.
So this morning, stumbling around in the dark getting ready for work, I started talking to myself. And things got a little brighter.