Living in the Light

The days are pretty short in December. We don’t trust our solar charger to stay charged. The chickens are laying few eggs as we don’t provide artificial light, preferring to just let them have a little time off each winter. Before long they’ll be laying eggs again. It’s just part of the annual cycle.

Another part of the cycle, for me, is depression. Right now, I get up around 5, get a little housework done then head to work. Sometimes the sun peeks at me while I drive but not enough to make an impact. I sit in an office all day (well, not an office…a cubicle. Well, not a cubicle, a shared work space.) Anyway. I sit inside all day and pack my lunch most days. I don’t get out. I don’t see the sun for days on end and it gets me down.

Let me describe what a week looks like for me right now. We’ll start on Saturday. Saturday morning I reluctantly get out of bed and begin doing chores outside. Then I find place to cut some firewood or some other irregular outdoor chore to occupy my day and end up staying outside all day long. By the end of the day I feel …recharged! energetic! Sunday I often realize I overdid it on Saturday but spend a significant amount of time outside again. On Monday I get into the office feeling good but lose a little of that energy. Tuesday I’m still functional. Wednesday is the third day of living in the dark and I begin to get snippy with the children. By Friday I only talk to my co-workers, only when I have to and only because I am paid to. Everyone else needs to leave me alone.

5 days in the dark and I’m a wreck.

You know those voices in your head that compete for your attention? Picture the little angel on one shoulder saying, “You can do it!” starts losing to the devil on the other saying “You are a loser!” By Friday I can only hear the little devil and I’m ready to sell the farm, move to town and do something crazy like register to vote. That’s right. I said it. By 10:00 on Saturday I’m “me” again.

Sunrise

I am not made to live in the dark. I have to take specific action for my health to prevent this from happening. And, really, I believe the light specifically has to shine on my eyes, not just my skin.

It is Sunday and I have categorized this with the rare “Sunday Devotional” category so let me bring this around. All of that stuff above addresses my physical needs. But I am an eternal creature. I will only have physical needs for another 40 or 50 years at most. The eternal me has needs as well. And that “eternal me” is the real “me”. So what do I really need?

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

I need to see and follow that light. On a daily basis. I can’t walk for 6 days in spiritual darkness.

By February I’ll be back into healthy day length cycles. Between now and then I have to make it a point to see the sun for physical and mental health. My spiritual self has similar needs but less seasonality. Church is entirely optional. Voluntary. Not only do I have to get myself there, I have to study daily on my own. I have to get the light in my eyes. I have to walk in the light. I have to BE the light. If not, I walk in darkness. And I don’t like what happens to me there.

From Ephesians 5:

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

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6 thoughts on “Living in the Light

  1. I retired seven years ago and now live in the “light” every day on the homestead we started in April of 2006. Looking back at our lives working for corporate America, I can that we suffered the same eating away of our joy. We didn’t know a better way back then. If I could go back to when the children were little, I would have found a way to homestead back then. Not only for me but for my children mostly. We all survived. Children all raised and sane and sober…. But the regret is that we didn’t get to teach them a real life while they were young. So many years wasted on earning a “living” wage, instead of living.

  2. So many truths in this post. When we are walking in light, we begin to see the “hidden” truths from God. When in the dark, we see rules to follow, not remembering the wisdom and protection that we saw earlier.

    As Shannon said, “so many years wasted” by not seeing the light and living in the dark.

  3. Leading an Advent Season Bible study has given me the opportunity to receive light from those who attend. It is a very enlightening experience. I haven’t led a Bible Study group in years, but am really glad I took this opportunity. The friends I meet with each week teach me so much beyond what I learn preparing to lead this group. It is like a ray of sunshine to start the week.

  4. I live in an area described as rainforest. We don’t see the sun for weeks at a time in winter – it’s light out, but not sunny. I was raised here, so I’m used to it, but many, including my husband really struggle with it. There is an actual disorder related to this, called SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you have a sufficient lunch break, can you step outside for 15 minutes during the day, just go for a walk? Requires a little self discipline, especially when it’s snowy or icy or windy or rainy out there – ie, winter.

    I know what you mean about having to work on the Light within. I’ve committed to an Advent devotional this month in an attempt to address this issue. I do find that my Light is fed by being around others with Christ filled light. I taught a Sunday school lesson once in which I used candles with each child, and we watched how you could light another person’s candle without losing any of your own candle’s light. It was a powerful lesson to me – I don’t know if the kids got it, but I sure did.

  5. Thanks Chris for another great post and for sharing so openly. I too can quickly get down and depressed this time of year. It’s surprising how in the summer I can work all day at the day job, come home and work outside until 9:30 and fill tired, but energized at the same time. In the winter, there are some nights I could go to bed at 7:00!

    The same is true with my spiritual walk. Without being in the ‘light’ for a period of time, I feel weak and full of self doubt.

    We have a plaque in our kitchen that I read daily, ‘Nothing worth doing is easy’. The Father certainly never said it would be easy.

    “The way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14);

    “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23)

    But, when it’s all said and done, I simply want to hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

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