“Most mornings I wake up happy and optimistic, looking forward to another day. I’ve never been a depressed kind of guy. But in 1999, I had the worst year of my life.”
It’s with that opening that Chris Hodges begins his inspirational book Fresh Air: trading stale spiritual obligation for a life-altering, energizing, experience-it-everyday relationship with God. Normally, I wait until after I’ve completed reading an entire book before sharing quotes and a review on my blog, but this particular one so immediately pierced my heart, right from the opening chapter, that I had to share some of the quotes with you right away!
Quotes from Fresh Air:
In the deepest part of me I wondered, Is this all there is?
As the weeks dragged on, I became mired in a swamp of unpleasant emotions that I wasn’t used to feeling – at least not all at once and not with such increasing intensity. I was deeply sad, but I wasn’t sure why. I sensed anger and frustration, but that was probably because I felt so stuck in my sadness. And then there was the fear. I had never experienced anything like this and didn’t know what to make of it.
So I hid it as long as I could and tried to pretend there wasn’t a storm cloud constantly rolling around inside of me. It seemed to grow darker, with more thunder rumblings and lightning strikes of acute emotion, yet the storm never broke and continued to gather itself over and over again inside my mind and heart.
I knew I was depressed but hated to admit that even to myself. I had never been depressed before and had even been quietly critical of those who seemed to fight an ongoing battle with it. I had always thought, Just choose to be happy and get on with your life, buddy! But now those thoughts mocked me because I wasn’t sure how to change what I felt inside. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what my feelings were, but I knew I couldn’t change them simply by telling myself, Don’t worry, be happy…
God used that time of desperation and depression to get my attention in the most dramatic way possible. Apparently, it often takes something painful, sometimes even tragic, to get us to listen to God…
We feel like there’s no one to talk to, no one who understands all the responsibility we carry. We’re so unbearably lonely, even when there are dozens of people around. We bury our emotions just below the surface because we’re afraid that if we release them, they will overwhelm us and we’ll never function again. We’ve lost our sense of balance and now neglect the basics. In fact, we’ve lost not only a sense of balance in our lives but a sense of purpose. The joy of knowing who we are and what God created us to do seems like a distant memory at best.
We’re burned out, weary to the bone, scared and anxious – and there’s no end in sight.
I know those few quotes from the first chapter of this book may not sound all that encouraging, but as someone who went through a period of intense depression earlier in my life, I can relate too well to what the author has written here! In the coming weeks, I will share more quotes from the rest of the book, but I am also going to share a post that chronicles my personal journey through a deep and overwhelming depression, some of the things I experienced during this dark season of my life, and some of the things that helped me on my journey through to joy and freedom.
Do YOU need a little fresh air in your spiritual journey today?