What Gets You Out of Bed?
There was a period in my life when I felt like I had no reason or the desire to get out of my bed.
Why should I when there was nothing I wanted to do and nobody I wanted to see? I felt aimless, without purpose. I'd create mental checklists that I failed every day to begin or complete. I spent hours and hours in my mind thinking and thinking, but all that thinking brought me closer to the doorstep of depression than it did to the doorstep of clarity.
So whenever I was dragged out of bed for some lame obligation, job, errand, or chore, I'd ask as many smart people I could find what got them out of bed. I was hoping to find something special - like the meaning of life. To my surprise, I was satisfied with absolutely zero of the answers I received. Maybe they'll help you as I recount the most memorable ones:
Coffee - makes sense for the coffee lover, but I'm not one so next...
Job/career - yeah, and they say slavery doesn't exist.
Family/Children - no children, next...
Because I have to - This was the wisest answer of them all, in my opinion, but not satisfying enough.
For those of us in a desperate search of a reason to wake up and plant our feet on the bare floor, these weren't satisfying responses, were they? If they were for you, kudos! You got a few ideas to take home with you.
If not, continue reading.
So if everyone's answers didn't satisfy me, it was time I generated some of my own. The search required reaching DEEP down into the depths of the dark sad abyss that was my soul.
I started listing things like:
1. Anger - I would have dreams of arguing with gummy old ladies thirsting for a sip of gossip and business to stick their noses in - ugh!
2. Anxiety - My mind would race at 100 mph, knots tied up in my stomach and I'd panic for no reason!
3. Feeling Rushed - when there was nothing I needed to be doing.
4. The need to find my purpose or meaning in life - though I didn't even know where to start looking.
I don't know if any of you resonate with these emotions, but these got me no closer to the answer I wanted. Plus, these are not the mental states for any wake-up routine!
"I realized the more I looked inside myself for answers, the more confused and annoyed I became. When I looked to others for answers, the more misunderstood I felt. So I began looking outward and upward."
Now, I've been a Christian for many years. I've struggled through my doubts and overcame them. I've prayed and seen prayers answered. I've even had seasons of discouragement before, but never as deep and depressing as this particular time. It felt as if prayer wasn't enough, going to church wasn't enough, reading the Bible wasn't enough. Being a Christian, y'all, it didn't seem to be enough! What got me through a lot of my days was music, movies, anime, and great crying sessions with Mr. Blanket, and Mrs. Pillow.
One day, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was fed up with not knowing the meaning of life. I had to find my reason to get up out of bed! I had to find a way to be brave enough to open my eyes and take on the day! I told God, "I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THIS AND I WON'T GO TO SLEEP UNLESS THIS FEELING OF HEAVINESS GOES AWAY!!! WHY DID YOU PUT ME HERE!!! WHAT IS MY PURPOSE!!!"
Determined, I opened the Bible and began to search. It was my first attempt in a while to read my Bible. As I said before, it didn't seem like it would be enough to stop my searching, cease my anxiety, or take away the weights circumstances had piled on me.
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the teacher. Utterly Meaningless! Everything is Meaningless!" - Ecclesiastes 1:2
Out of the 66 books in the Bible, I chose to read Ecclesiastes. If the Bible is truly God speaking to His creation, then He sure does have a sense of humor!
The very first line in Ecclesiastes goes something like this, "Everything is meaningless." After being unsatisfied with everything else, this statement piqued my interest so much that I read the entire book.
Never had a book of the Bible resonated with how I felt or confirmed the feelings I failed to articulate within my own heart. Needless to say, but I got some good sleep that night.
The book never gave me the pretty and prim answer I had hoped for, but it gave me the most down to Earth truth I needed.
From the sum of the book, I learned that God doesn't expect much of humankind. Instead, humans make themselves busy with crafts, culture, and establishments that may be beautiful in their time, but will eventually fade away. We place unnecessary hurdles, labels, and expectations on ourselves and others. The only thing God requires of us is our attention.
If that's all He expects of me, then why do I have to measure up to society's expectations of me? Why would I have to measure up to my own? All of it's unattainable anyways. The day and the ability to enjoy the work of our hands is all a gift of God. The least I could do is give Him my attention. From there, He promises to guide my steps and counsel me.
In that mental framework, I took one step at a time, then one day at a time. Now two years later, I can share this story with anyone passing through searching for something to wake them up in the morning. And here's my answer - there's absolutely nothing you need except a clean slate - no measuring sticks, no checklists. If we give attention to the source of our lives, surely direction will follow.
I learned that battling depression and discouragement is a process and it's different for everyone. It takes time, inner healing, and a willingness to take steps forward. In all, be gracious to yourself, and give God your attention. From there, lose the measuring sticks and take each step at your own pace.