Struggling

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.”

A Much Needed Break…

It’s been a while since I posted anything so I thought I should get on that. Last week the family and I took a much needed vacation. We were offered the use of a cabin on Lake Bellaire which is right next to Torch Lake up towards Traverse City in the northern region of Michigan’s lower peninsula. It was a really good time. We hadn’t gotten to take a real vacation in the last 5 years since Derek our oldest was born. We purposely didn’t plan anything to do up there. Each day consisted of sitting around on the beach, watching the kids play in the water, going out for ice cream, having a nice dinner together, and the best part was naps. It was quiet and uneventful, which is exactly what we have needed. With so much going on lately it seemed like the wife and I were on the brink of losing our minds.
One thing I had planned on doing while on vacation was using some of that extra time I had to get caught up on some devotional stuff, reading more of the Bible, spending lots of time in prayer, working on new songs, and generally just reconnecting with God. That did not happen. I didn’t read anything, except for The Chronicles Of Narnia (The Magician’s Nephew, my current favorite in the series). I didn’t even crack open my Bible, or devotional book, and set large amounts of time aside to pray. I really didn’t play my guitar that much or work on any new tunes. In some aspects I was disappointed in myself for allowing that to happen, but in other ways I wasn’t so concerned. I don’t know that God meant for the vacation to be a time where I completely focused on myself. It was a great time to connect with the wife and kids that I don’t get to hang out with nearly as much as I would like to. I got to have fun with the kids building sand castles and watching them play all over. I got to hang out with my wife in an environment that didn’t have a schedule, or deadlines, or alarm clocks. It was a much needed vacation from the responsibilities of home and work. All we had to do was make sure the kids were fed and put to bed.
The one thing I did that I regret was that I couldn’t resist the temptation to sneak away from the cabin while everyone was sleeping, get to a local coffee house with my laptop, and aimlessly surf around the internet for a while. I have had this addiction to the internet, or my computer I should say, for quite a while. I depend on it a little too much. I have to have it with me at all times. One day later in the week I was suddenly hit with the conviction and realization that I had made special time to spend with myself on the internet, but I hadn’t set aside any time I had originally wanted to use to reconnect with God. One of the many weaknesses I have that came out on vacation… selfishness. I want my time for me. I want to do, what I want to do. Not what you want to do.
So even though I decided not to set time aside with God on my vacation, He was with me teaching me something about myself that needs some work. Another area where the Spirit doesn’t quite have the free reign He desires to have.

On another note, thanks to everyone who came out to the Baker Book House show. It was a really great time and I appreciate you all being there to support me and listen to what I had to say. The crowd was extremely attentive and responsive which made the show extremely intimate and an amazing personal experience for me. Also thanks to the few of you who got up early last Sunday to come see me at Festival Of The Arts in Grand Rapids. There wasn’t a lot of you there, but it was a lot of fun getting to sing for you on that enormous sound system in the middle of downtown with my voice and guitar echoing all over the place.

Another quick note, I am working on a new cd, sort of. When asked about my current cd and why I wrote it, it really came down to just wanting to have something physical that proved I had written songs. I wasn’t expecting it to get out there as much as it has. So in response to the fact that people are enjoying the songs, I have gotten a band together, and we are re-recording many of the songs with full band arrangements. We also are adding a few new songs. I am very excited for it because I think its going to turn out very well. We are trying to get it done as quickly as possible and I would anticipate it being done and ready by the end of July, but I can’t give an exact date just yet. Keep checking back for updates.

That’s it for me now. It’s late and I need some sleep.