One of the most important questions we can ask and answer is this, “what do you want?”
If you were to spend 5 minutes quietly pondering the answer to this question what do you think your answer would be? Not the answer you think is safe to share with others. Not the Sunday School answer. Just the cold, hard, truth.
If you are feeling depressed (anxious, angry, irritable, etc.) there is a decent chance that the reason is because there is a desire that is unmet in your life.
This leads me to a four thoughts/ideas…
One, many times we are so busy in life that we are not in touch with what is truly going on in our own heart. We are feeling things, strong emotions, but we are unsure of where they are coming from because we are moving too fast. We are too distracted. This, seems to me, to be a very dangerous way to live. We must seek to understand what is truly going on in our heart and how it is impacting the way we live everyday life.
Two, we will need to prayerfully consider if this unmet desire is something that is good for us to have. There are plenty of things our sinful nature craves that we simply should not have.
Three, perhaps it is a good desire and we need to actively work towards making it a reality in our life. A desire for a better job to provide for your family. Maybe it is just to have a family in the first place. God has created us as humans with strong desires and emotions. The Christian life is not about stuffing our desires deep down and acting like they don’t exist. The poet, David Whyte, calls this the “devouring animal of our disowned desire.” Simply acting like our desires are not there, running from them, not dealing with them, will end up causing us greater pain and misery in the long run.
Four, it’s possible that it is a good desire but God, in all of his sovereignty, has decided that we should not have it. There are going to be times in life when we believe with all of our heart that what we want is a good thing. The desire to be healed of an illness is good and understandable. It certainly is appropriate to pray for these things, yet we must come to the place where we hold them with open hands. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul laid before God a very important prayer request. Each and every time Paul prayed the answer was no. If God says no we must (as hard as it might be) learn to trust in his goodness.
I guess my point is that we all need to slow down and do a better job of listening to our heart. Spend time alone with God. Communicate our longings, our desires to him. There is nothing going on inside of us that will surprise him or that he can’t handle.
What is your depression, anxiety, anger, irritability saying to you?
BTW: Clearly depression is not always caused by unmet expectations. There can be a variety of reasons (some physiological) that leads to a person feeling depressed.