By Karen Adams
After a several-month long battle with depression, among smaller inconveniences like seasonal colds, unexpected car repairs etc., I found myself reflecting on how different I felt this morning. In the predawn hours, walking to my bus stop, I thought, Mmm…I think this might be the first day in awhile that I’ve felt like myself…I wonder how long it has been.
In typical Karen fashion I thought, Well, skip dee doo, la dee da, gee aren’t I special. And awesome. Yeah…awesome. I’m awesome. I got this “life” thing down.
Then I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me with a question: What does that phrase “feeling like myself again” really mean? Who is- or what is- “feeling like myself”?
What if “feeling like myself again” isn’t such a good thing?
There is a war waging between my selves: the new and the old. Feeling like myself, is feeling the tug of the old self. The old self-sufficient, head honcho, MBA-swaggering jerk that still fights for dominance.
Feeling like my new self is drastically different. In Colossians, Paul states that we have “put off the old self and its practices” (Col 3:9, Eph 4:22), and to put on our new self. The self that is being renewed and remade to a greater and greater degree in the image of Christ. The self that lives out daily the truth that has already been accomplished.
This is not to say that the new self is uncomfortable- but it can be. The new self is not driven by feelings or categories. The new self is hidden in Christ. The new self stops and says “It is not I that live, but Christ in me.” (Gal 2:20)
I do not need to “feel like myself” or feel anything in particular for that matter, to hold securely to the promises made to all of us who believe. In the extraordinary “ordinary” moments, like my bus stop musings, relying on feelings is a desperate, dangerous, and unfulfilling trap. I am my “new self” in both depression and in mentally stable (well mostly) seasons; in seasons of suffering and of joy.
The promises of Christ supersede the feelings of the day and it is in hindsight that we see our suffering as the deepest form of grace and sanctification. It is also in hindsight that we can remind ourselves and rejoice in that fact that we are no longer the old self.