I specifically recall sitting on the edge of my bed a few years ago, dwelling on my depression.
“I don’t get it,” I said to myself. “I try to be a good person. I have a great family, a good job that pays the bills. I have a running car in the driveway and a little change in my pocket. Why is there still darkness in my spirit?”
After my little pity party, I began to look around, specifically on “my side of the bed,” which is a disaster, according to my wife. Ok, she might have a small point about that.
But I noticed a small stack of CDs, all with dark imagery and lyrics.
I read the movie title from the DVD I’d just watched the night before, which was a horror flick (can’t recall which one now).
Instead of a photo album or a self-help book (most of which bore me to sleep, I must admit), I had a copy of “The Crow” graphic novel on my bedside table, which, even for well-adjusted people, is a freaking DISMAL, depressing read.
“Good grief,” I thought, “I’ve surrounded myself with darkness.”
Now, before I go any further, please note: I am NOT preaching against any of the aforementioned entertainment avenues. My son and I still watch horror movies together. I still listen to what some call “secular” heavy metal. I still read books by guys like Edward Lee and Brom.
Just not as much these days. And, that being said, I balance it out with much more positive entertainment.
I’m not raging against any of that. My point is, I suddenly became aware that I was a living, breathing example of the “garbage in, garbage out” ideology. Except, with me, it was…
“Darkness in, darkness out.”
I am friends with good-hearted, God-fearing people who share nothing on Facebook but angry rants against liberals, dreadful ISIS videos (designed to instill fear in the masses) and posts about how screwed up our country is.
I jumped on that bandwagon for a while, but now I try (note: TRY) to share only positive, uplifting or interesting posts. I share pictures of my kids and grandkids. I share inspiring stories and quotes.
Yeah, I post other stuff, too, but I’m trying very hard to focus on the positive, not the negative.
Some of these God-fearing people I just mentioned are depressed, and you can see it in their downtrodden expressions. Hey, I STILL struggle with depression, so I get it. But filling our minds with gloom only breeds gloominess.
So which beast are you feeding?
Are you sitting around wondering why you’re angry and depressed, all the while filling your mind and spirit with bleak movies, dismal books and somber music? Do you mope around the house, bemoaning life’s emptiness, all the while feeding your despair with more despair?
What are you feeding your mind and spirit with?
If you eat nothing but greasy, fatty junk food, your body is going to go to pot, right? It’s going to show in your splotchy skin and amplified girth.
I’m overweight, so I can’t say TOO much about this, but you get the point.
Likewise, we cannot have a positive spirit as long as we’re feasting on negativity.
Laughter cannot be wrought by people who continually immerse themselves in tears.
Light will not permeate the mind of one who insists on living in darkness.
That’s a lesson for me as well, which is why I’m sharing it, I guess.
I recently created a music folder on my phone—and a CD for my car—entitled “Uplifting Songs.” I find that dark music brings me down, but this music revitalizes my spirit. It’s not exclusively “Christian” or “worship” music; there are non-Christian bands which lift me up as well.
Doesn’t matter what lifts OTHERS up; what lifts YOU up? If listening to Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan or even Bon Jovi puts a smile on your face, then let your inner beast dine on it. If you get really jazzed about Blake Shelton or, well, I don’t know country music, so any of those other artists, listen to them.
All I’m saying is, try and be mindful of what you listen to, watch and read. Darkness breeds darkness. Light breeds light. It’s that simple.
Being mindful of this will make a WORLD of difference in what type of mood you carry through your day.
Your friends and family will thank you, I’m sure. And so will your soul.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. (Philippians 4:8a)”