For a while now, I have struggled with some depression. It’s that kind where you can’t really put a finger on what’s wrong, you just know that something isn’t right. For whatever reason, the things that should bring you joy don’t and its a struggle to get through a day without feeling like you had wasted it completely on meaningless tasks. Whenever I get into this state of mind, I find myself staying up very late basically to avoid going to sleep and just having to do the same day over again. Does anyone else fall in this hole? The walls of the hole seem so steep that you feel like you will never be able to climb out. Over the last year I have started to be able to identify when this depression is settling in on me. The common denominator seems to be my current job. I say that knowing that some people from work may be reading this. I haven’t shied away from honesty in the past and I won’t start now.
My main duty at work is to be a web application developer. It’s really a great job, with a great company, a great boss, and fair pay. I can’t complain about any of that. What makes my heart ache is the day in, day out, same old routine of going to my desk and programming for a day, then back home, get a couple hours with the kids and wife, dink around on the computer for a while, back to bed and up in the morning to start the whole thing over again. I have this overwhelming desire to be having some sort of impact on peoples lives, but in sitting at my desk 8 or 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, I feel like I have very little impact on those around me for God. Let alone the fact that my attitude is terrible at work most days so even when I get a chance to impact someone I blow it with my stressed out, impatient attitude. I kind of fell into this job and now I have been here for 6 years, in those 6 years the wife and I have had 3 kids, we have a healthy mortgage, college payments and other debt, and no time. So I really can’t go back to school for anything, and if I could go back to school, what would I go back for? No school has what I am looking for.
So the feeling I get is that I am trapped. I have worked myself into a situation that I can no longer see a way out of. I think of my dad, who when he was very young (18) started a family and had to get a good job quick, and managed to get into General Motors building cars. It wasn’t necessarily a dream job, but it paid the bills. He ended up working there for 32 years or something like that. He didn’t enjoy it, but he worked himself into that situation where he had no other options. He had to do it to provide for his family. That is where I am. I have to work to provide for my family.
Then comes this taste of what could possibly be a way out. This minor bit of local celebrity. This fleeting moment of acknowledgment. God how I want that to be my path. God how I want to be out there doing music, talking and interacting with people on an intimate basis. I pray everyday that it is where He is leading me, knowing full well that it may very well never happen, other than the local shows I do (which by the way thanks to everyone who comes to those, they are seriously what keep me going sometimes). He has it all in His hands and I have to wait. My friend Mike wrote a post in his blog recently that relates to this somewhat. His loneliness is to his longing for relationships that are real, as my depression is to my desire for a life that is real. I want a life that matters.
I realize very quickly what you are thinking to yourself… “all lives and occupations matter in the kingdom.” I know. I understand that God has me in the position I am in for a reason. He is teaching me something. I am where I am for a reason, and until that reason is accomplished He isn’t going to move me. But anyone who has been in my position knows what I am saying. It is hard to see how anything I am doing on a daily basis could possibly matter for the Kingdom of God. But I know it does. Somehow in ways I may never know or understand, what I am doing in my life matters to God, and He is teaching me and molding me through it.
Occasionally I will hear stories from some friends who really have similar stories to what I have just shared. The difference is that they have God in their sights and even when things seem desperate, they don’t let it get to them, at least they don’t show it. God I want that kind of attitude. Lord help me to see you in all the details and not to struggle anymore with my petty problems. I feel homesick.
Here is a quick quote… again from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, June 10:
“You can never give to another person that which you have found, but you can make him homesick for what you have.”