February is one of the hardest months for those who struggle with any level of seasonal depression. It is a little strange to me that the shortest month of the year is also one of the hardest. Pastor Tim and I often joke that the only good thing about February is that Tim was born. The days are cold and often cloudy. The natural world is hibernating. Bad weather threatens our well laid out plans, as Pastor Tim talked about in his Pastor’s Pen for January. It’s no wonder February is a difficult month for so many. here are a few suggestions I have to get through this next month:
1. Seek out help if you need it
While mental health concerns have become less taboo in the last few years, people still resist the idea that to get help from a professional may be something that you need. It is not a sign of weakness to admit that you may need help but a sign of strength. Whether the season that has you struggling is truly winter, or it is a season of life that is causing pain and frustration, both are perfectly acceptable reason to seek out help from a trusted friend, family, or a professional. In Exodus 18, Moses has a conversation with his Father-in-law Jethro about all the work he is doing for the people of Israel. Jethro says to Moses, “What you are doing is not good. You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone” (Exodus 18:17-18). There is no shame in admitting that you need help when something is too heavy for you to bear alone.
2. Remember that this is temporary
In winter, it is sometimes hard to remember what it was like in summer and spring when the beauty of nature was all around bringing us joy and sustenance. As it says in Ecclesiastes, “for everything there is a season.” The word “season” is a word that we use to describe a moment in time that we are moving through that has an end. We talk about walking through a “season of life.” If this season is a difficult one, it is helpful to remember that the season will pass. That doesn’t always mean that we leave it completely behind. We cannot help but carry the previous season of life with us into the new one. The snow that lays and slowly melts into the field prepares the ground for the next growing season. Likewise, each season prepares us for what comes next.
3. God is in the process of transformation
The hymn “In the bulb (Hymn of Promise)” sings of the way God works through seasons. It talks about flowers in bulbs and trees in seeds. It speaks of hidden promises and mysteries. Each thing is “unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.” This is the hope that we can hold on to when we are walking through difficult seasons. The season of winter is a necessary time of preparation. So too, this may be a season to work on preparing ourselves for God’s transformation. An end to one thing brings a new beginning to another. From this season will sprout and grow a new one, full of new life and joy. But it is something that we may be unable to see until it is revealed. Work on preparing yourself to be transformed through the current season and be open to what God will bring next.
Pastor Tim and I are always available to talk with anyone who is struggling. Do not hesitate to set-up a meeting or pull us aside. And we pray that during this winter season, you will feel God’s presence and love.