Pits of Despair

Opening my front door, I paused, surveying the mess before me. Sighing, I walked pass the massive pile of coats and shoes, a sure sign we were running late for school this morning. Dropping my keys on the kitchen counter, I pushed aside dirty bowls and mugs, searching for my half finished coffee. After I rinsed out the old coffee, I began to brew another cup. Eyeing the open box of Cheerios on the table, I decided, why not? Carrying my coffee and the cereal box to the couch, I kicked off my shoes. Unzipping my jean skirt, I let it fall to the floor, shaking my pajama pants lose. Wrapping myself up in a soft, fuzzy blanket, I sat down on the couch and turned on Netflix. I strategically kept my eyes from veering to the corner of my living room, where a tall stack of laundry baskets awaited my attention.

I stayed on that couch for 5 hours, and nearly got through an entire season of The Andy Griffith Show.

 I ignored my phone. I ignored my house. I ignored my husbands cancer. For an entire 5 hours, I was living in a small town called Mayberry, laughing at the antics of Barney and Andy.

At 2:00, I finally got off the couch. I spent the next 45 minutes quickly picking up my house, throwing dishes in the dishwasher, and washing the grease out of my hair. I got dressed, and found pizza coupons from yesterday’s mail. Tonight was going to be a pizza night. My kids would love me.

Arriving at the school at exactly 3:05, guilt began to fill my entire being. What a hypocrite I am. What a loser. An entire day wasted! And what a liar, because when the kids and I finally walked through the door, the house looked clean, like I had actually done something that day. Worse yet, I offered my kids a dollar for each basket of laundry they folded. By the time my husband came home from work, he wouldn’t have the slightest clue that I had visited Mayberry that day.

Looking back, I am able to say with confidence, I had fallen into a pit. Or as Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables would say, I was in “the depths of despair”.

“I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:  Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.” – Psalms 88:4‭ & 6

Here is what I learned about being in a pit.

#1 – It happens, and it’s OK. When we go through trying times in our lives, it is common to find ourselves having a “blue” day.  It has been scientifically proven that stress effects our bodies physically and mentally. Taking a day off from the stress of life can help rejuvenate our souls, giving us the strength to continue the journey we are facing. Don’t feel guilty for needing a day off from stress.

“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path.” – Psalms 142:3a

#2 – It’s easier to get into a pit than it is to get out. It’s not like we went looking for a dark hole in the ground and said, “hey, that looks fun”, and jumped in it. Yes, there are circumstances where we actually digged the pit we fell into.  Sometimes, however, we are just walking along, not paying attention, and we fall in. Getting out is going to require some work. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are struggling to get out of a pit.

“I waited patiently for the Lord ; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” – Psalms 40:1

#3 – You can’t get out of a pit by yourself. Sometimes all it takes is meeting a friend for coffee or going to church and talking to your sisters and brothers in Christ. Strike up a conversation with someone you know will make you laugh! Maybe your pit is a little deeper and you need to consider counseling from your pastor.  If you have found yourself in a pit, you are going to need someone to throw you down a rope or a ladder. Don’t be too prideful to ask for help!

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another…” – Hebrews 10:25a

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine..” –  Proverbs 17:22a

#4 – God promised He would bring you out of your pit. He has offered His Holy Word to anyone who will accept it, and it is full of amazing truths and promises of comfort and love. Reading through Psalms is a good way to soothe and encourage yourself in the Lord. Singing songs of Praise is also good way to begin your climb out of the pit. Praising God when we find it hard to do not only lifts your spirit, it pleases God, and glorifies Him! Don’t neglect God’s offer to pull you out of your pit!

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” – Psalms 40:2

Dear reader, if you find yourself in a pit, don’t get discouraged. You won’t be there for ever! By the end of the week, the blue cloud that had been hanging around me finally lifted. I was able to get up and take better care of my crazy family. I was able to actually shower and dress for my day, shop for groceries, clean my house, and even take my husband to his doctor appointment. Oh, and I made a delicious dinner that night!

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