you remember cousin eddie, don’t you? he’s the crazy, unpredictable, annoying, embarrassing, rude, obnoxious, insufferable, detestable cousin of clark griswold, in national lampoon’s christmas vacation (the greatest holiday flic of all time).
eddie has this thing about showing up unannounced. he catches the family by surprise. and then he just stays… inflicting his brand of torture on those he loves. clark tries to ignore him…rebuff him…reason with him…avoid him… correct him…but nothing works.
so he’s reduced to trying to hide him. from his neighbors. from his family. from himself.
my cousin eddie has been busting into my world…uninvited…for the past 25 years! he comes in and makes himself at home. he interferes with my sleep. he steals my attention when i try to study. he grabs the remote and robs my television watching enjoyment.
he worms his way into my friendships and dominates how i interact with them. he even works his way into my psyche… sucking away my confidence. he has this way of getting in my head and my heart. i know we’re related. he’s my cousin, for crying out loud. but by the time he finally packs his bags and leaves, i can honestly say i hope i never see him again.
oh yeah. my cousin eddie’s real name is depression.
(i’ve chronicled my journey with depression for years. if you’re interested, you can check it out here. if it catches your attention, you can read the whole series. feel free to contact me personally, if you want a friend to talk to about it.)
i know how the door got opened for cousin eddie a couple of months ago. i got blindsided by his intrusion. something happened that totally exposed my weakness. depression, just like cousin eddie, doesn’t ask for my permission to come in. it just busts the door in.
i’ve been around a bunch of people lately who are battling various degrees of depression. some of them are just sad. others are angry. some are gripped by fear. most have some form of emotional paralysis. all of us wrestle with an emptiness or darkness of the soul.
some depression is acute and debilitating…and it needs help bad. right now. other depression is more low-grade and most people would never know there is a war going on. that’s my cousin eddie.
the good news is i know eddie really well. when he shows up, i know there are things i need to do. my emotional stability is influenced by what i eat and how much exercise i get and what my sleep patterns are. so i usually get right to work on those things. it’s also affected by my work habits and relationships and spiritual disciplines (or lack of). so i will always have more to work on. sitting and doing nothing is simply not an option for me, if i’m going to get cousin eddie out of the house.
but those things are all peripheral. the core issue is about what i believe. depression controls what i believe about myself…about others…about god…about my world. depression screams at me that i’m a failure. that i don’t know what i’m doing. that i’m inadequate. that people don’t like me. that my life isn’t worthwhile. that i’m not successful. that my future is insecure. or a host of other self condemnations.
so i circle back to a basic question. is jesus enough?
the fact is, at times any of those statements may be true about me. failure…loser…inadequate…afraid…worthless… whatever. but because of jesus, those words will not…no, cannot…define me.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
either i believe it or not.
either you believe it or not.