My Broken Zester

There must be something in the body or mind (or the two combined), an organ maybe, or some lobe that manufactures zest. Not the lemon or orange variety – the zest-for-life variety. Zest is defined as a liveliness and energy, the spirit that animates us. It is a hearty enjoyment or gusto. It’s related to passion and motivation.

Zest, this gusto for life involves anticipation – a savoring of what the future might bring. It’s a bit like reading a menu and drooling because you can already “see” the dishes arriving and begin to salivate in advance.

Somehow, depression has killed my zest. I find getting motivated to do anything really difficult. It’s like wearing those lead suits that the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team wore in Hurt Locker. It’s like I’m staggering through my own private desolated war-torn streets lugging 28kgs of plate armor on my sad and sorry carcass.

I mean there are things that need to be done. I need to do the laundry, but getting the zest to do it, is like yelling at a sloth to wake up, get down out of that leafy canopy and do fifty push ups – NOW! The sloth just looks down, if it can get the energy to turn its’ head, and slowly closes it’s eyelids and resumes its comatose slumber.

It’s so hard for me to just get it done. The stuff that’s normal; paying bills, tidying the house, doing the groceries, taking a phone call  – even things I normally enjoy like going fishing. It takes a huge effort to do just the simplest things. I rarely ever look forward to tomorrow. I’m not enamored with today. I refuse to look at the past because that’s too depressing, so I’m not sure where that leaves me.

I do remember what it’s like to have zest though. I could run off that and get amazing amounts of stuff done. I had copious amounts of the stuff. No matter what happened, I could pull myself up by the bootstraps and take a positive outlook. I was always looking forward to something or other. I was going somewhere. But maybe it’s like alcohol. Makes you feel great, but destroys your liver in the process. Maybe I O.D’d on zest and broke my zester?

I wonder how to fix this? Surely just giving in to the malaise and just waiting for it to come good won’t work. But then again, if there was a fix, I probably wouldn’t have the motivation to do it.

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10 Responses

  1. In my expereince it has to fix itself….and it takes a long time….

  2. hmmm I feared as much reddirt…. thanks for the tip-off…..

  3. NO, NO, NO!

    It doesn’t fix itself!

    You must seek the Lord, but here’s how. The old standby is the best way …

    Are you not thankful to God in your heart at all?

    You’re a guy who’s conscious of the seconds ticking by. So, do this: Hold your breath. Hold your breath, not looking at your watch just as long as you can. Hold it. Hold it. …. keep holding it. Then, when you can’t hold it anymore, say five minutes or so, look at your watch and hold it 10 seconds more. Go ahead.

    Now, if you partidicpated instead of merely reading and thinking about this, you will note that you desperately needed air, you probably did not make it anywhere near 10 seconds, if you did it right, but you were quite relieved when the air resumed.

    Now thank God for that breath. You thank Him for every breath. And you thank Him for each and everything that you have received from Him. For you have received it all from Him. Yes, those looks, that brain, that wife, those kids, that ministry, that pen, this computer, … need I go on.

    Repent, if you want times of refreshing to come. Repent of your taking Him and all that He’s given you for granted, for your arrogant pride, for your expectation that you would matter and do something gratifying and important, something that fulfilled your great talents … whose talents?

    Do you agree with God on anything at all in your heart?

    Then, Repent in dust and ashes, because you thought you were more than dust and ashes.

    I don’t know you, so maybe you already feel like dust and ashes, great writer that you are. But you feel sorry for yourself that that is all that you are. Like Job, you are demanding that God Himself come down here and chastise you, making you lose control of your bowels, before you will repent.

    Yea. Chemical (clinical) depression is of the Lord, and it sucks. It’s an opportunity to see what God wants you to see, to grab hold of what He’s been wanting you to grab hold of from the start, but which has been choked out by your competing hopes: Self-sufficiency, self-promotion, self-gratification, self-absorbtion, self-worship, … self-pity.

    Every little thing is good and from the Lord. Thank Him, and rest in Him. Receive each moment and each inclination of something rather than nothing as His invitation to commune with Him, continually. For whether you are the king or the slave, you are always no more free and satisfied than if you are conscious in His provision, large or small. What makes it great is that it is His, and you are granted to commune with Him.

    Seek His repentance. Ja 4:7-10. Seek to feel gratitude again. You aren’t repentant until you are laid low in humility with the depth of the gratitude you owe your Lord. Prove your faith by seeking His repentance. If you’ve lost your faith, seek His face, by your repentance. Then ask Him what you should do in keeping with it, that you may bear its fruit.

    Anyway, that’s my experience, and that’s the Word on my heart for you. tw

  4. Hey TW, having been a fundamental, orthodox, pentecostal for 20 years, half of that in the AG, i’m very familiar with your ideas.

    I think gratitude is really powerful, but oddly depression seems to taint even one’s ability to be grateful.

    As far as repentance goes, in the literal sense of the word – “a change of mind” i’ve changed from being a fundamental, religious, pseudo spiritual, modern pastor to possibly a little more calvinistic perhaps and trusting more in God’s grace, compassion, mercy, love and ability to reach me, than my own feeble efforts to tick the boxes of repent, pray, get into the word, renounce, humble myself, believe more, seek Him harder, and all the other things that I’m “supposed” to do. It’s just too formulaic and not relational enough right now.

  5. Right, so what does He have to say about all this?

  6. And really, you seem to have enough zest to respond indignantly to my fiery post. How about using a little of that excess energy to praise and thank God, broken before Him, each day, even if you don’t feel like it?

    I know why, because that’s me. When you don’t feel like it, you don’t feel like it. So, what if God sends you something a lot bigger to make you feel indignant about?

    Can you hear Him far off? “Now, don’t make me come down there!”

  7. Maybe what I’m trying to say is that I hear you apostasizing from churchianity, but I hope I’m not hearing you apostasizing from Christ.

    When you’ve lived believing you had the real thing, and then all the signs the real thing in fact is the real thing collapse, it is easy to feel like the whole thing was a lie, a sham, a big waste of time.

    You know the passage in 1 cor 3 where the foundation is always Christ, and no one can lay any other.

    “12Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

    Thankfully, this process goes on in part during our lives, that we would be able to wake up and repent of our ways (not just our thoughts). You say you’ve done that. But doesn’t the foundation remain? And ought you to force your stubborn heart to the floor and start giving Him thanks, especially when you don’t feel like it?

    And doesn’t that relational approach — relating to God — invite Him to heal you?

    Be an apostate of the church, but don’t turn away from God just because your heart needs the companionship, fellowship and encouragement of just being a regular guy with some other regular guys who refreshingly don’t have it in their character to even consider playing church.

    You need that. But do not permit your heart to be disaffected with God. When you put yourself in a position of thankfulness, He will, in his mercy and grace you hope in, grant it to you.

    Yea, that part does depend on you. tw

  8. Of course, I’m probably wrong about all this. tw

  9. Whoa. Just read these comments.

    I must say that they sound very formulaic and written by a person who has not experienced what Jack has been going through.

    Jack: Take your time. God is patient. I think a lot of what we go through now is to help us have a different view of God than what we have know through the fundamentalist branch of Christianity.

    Hang in there.

  10. Thanks RS, I also agree that we’re seeing God more as Abba, daddy – a patient merciful, loving God, rather than an Old Testament God of law and judgment.

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