The winter of the soul


Sometimes the winter seems too much for my soul to handle.

The signs are subtle, but they are recognizable. Like when my mom asked me how I was doing today, and I felt the tears brim too close to the surface. And I could feel the heaviness in my chest again. Or when my dad asked me what I was looking forward to in the next month or so and I couldn’t think of anything.

Or when I focus on my thoughts and I hear things like “You are ugly”    “Why do you think you are capable of doing this?”  “Nice work. You blew it again”

… the old feeling of anxiety and fear as I face another day with the kids.

…  when I have so many ideas and thoughts and great intentions that go left undone. Why can I not just find the energy to do what I want to do? I plan and ponder and research and read but then don’t put into action all of the wonderful plans that I have.

… less patience and tolerance for the kids; more blow ups.

Another subtle sign of the darkness of winter in my soul is my inability to connect with others. It feels as if I cannot really connect with them on a meaningful level. Their words seem hollow, the topics of conversation feel shallow or superficial somehow. Or I just don’t seem to be able to muster the energy to participate in conversation. An example would be the get together that Dave and I attended last weekend. We hadn’t been together with these people in a whole year. We were hearing wonderful stories of amazing biking trips and travels by the others. I wanted to share about our most amazing bike trip to les Iles de la Madeleines, but there was no space, no air time… and I didn’t want to fight for it. I felt too tired, too uninspired. I felt like they didn’t care, which is probably not the case. It’s more like I didn’t care. I didn’t care enough to share.

It feels hard to get out of bed in the morning. And I am so tired by the end of the day that I could fall into bed and sleep even as early as 8:00. And I want to go running, but I just can’t find the energy to do it after a long day. And I read seemingly “inspirational” articles in a running magazine about finding your motivation and read about the doctor who works at the hospital until 12 midnight and then gets up at 4am in order to have enough time to train for his next race.

Inspiration?  Good on ya, doc, but … that feels discouraging to me. I am too tired to give up sleep.

I tend to find that a coffee can lift my spirits for a while … and so does chocolate… and so I visit those sources for help to get through the day rather than visiting the feet of the One whose words offer true life. Why are the accusing thoughts, the negative thoughts louder than God’s voice?  Is it because I haven’t spent enough time in His presence of late?

Like a few weeks ago when I took time to listen in His presence and heard,

“You forget your beauty”

It’s true. I do forget.

So I’m struggling to remember those words of life on these grey January days in the grip of winter.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone, my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on God, he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”    Ps. 61: 5-8

He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron”     Ps. 107: 14-16


2 responses »

  1. I SO relate to this post. I start a downhill slide around October, and don’t come out of it until around April or May. Some years are worse than others. This year hasn’t been too awful. I recognized myself in this post, so thank you for letting me know I’m in good company.

    • I’m sorry that you feel the darkness of the season as well. I think it is quite common for many of us. I pray peace, glimmers of hope and moments of joy for you… Blessings.

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