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)”
8 comments on “Feeding the Beast”
Insofar as human health the 20th Century provided two conspicuous characteristics that might turn out to be truths: First, almost all physical illness can eventually probably be overcome by medical science. Secondly, problems of the mind and soul [and the associated human behaviors] don’t lend themselves to cure by outside influence of academics nor other professionals. If we’re to survive severe depression the answers are going to have to come from within, even though in the unlikely event that, should we listen, we can learn valuable techniques, methods, tricks, from others that might help. But of course, when we’re depressed we ‘know’ what might have worked for others won’t work for us because our egos demand that this misery we’re wallowing in be uniquely our own, different.
Well said. As a Christian, it infuriates me when people tell those of us who suffer with depression to pray more or read the Bible more. Of course those are good things, but to tell somebody that is simply ineffective. I have certain things that work for me, as you say, “tricks,” that help me, but which may be completely ineffective for somebody else. With me, it was a major revelation to realize I was feeding my spirit, that is, my emotions, heart and attitude, with darkness and negativity. When I put this together, it made a huge difference in my road to recovery.
Well said Rob. I have been doing my best to follow the spirits leading regards to this also. TV shows I used to love, music I used to love and movies are the things that God has prompted me to let go of. I won’t name them because we are each on our own journey. For the first time in many years this prodigal listened. In listening I opened my heart and God has moved back in….
Thank you for your comment! It is very difficult to let go of some things we are passionate about, like some music, movies and books. That being said, however, it is amazing how much better we feel after we follow God’s heart on this one.
Brother Rob, you make some very good points here and your posts are an encouragement. May I offer something though? There is power with agenda in dark imagery, more than we can spiritually and psychologically understand. Porno, violence and demonic depictions are contaminating. How can we “guard our heart” or “renew our mind” if we have an open door to these things?
“My son and I still watch horror movies together….” Brom? Anyone acquainted with the many forms of witchcraft will recognize the spiritual source of these demonic images. I pray that you receive this with Christian love from a sister. (Psalm 101:2-3)
Oh, I TOTALLY get what you’re saying. This is not an every day or even an every week thing. My son and I are both artistic, and appreciate art in its many forms. We’re all on our own journey, and what is merely “entertainment” for me is a stumbling block to others. This is my journey, and it changes daily. I ask the Holy Spirit to lead me, and when I get that “funky feeling” about something, I don’t do it. It’s that simple. What’s right for one isn’t right for another, so I trudge on, trying to figure out God’s will. Thanks for your comment!
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Thanks Rob, appreciate your response. Well, let’s just continue to look out for each other as brethren and encourage one another as we follow the Lord. ☺
Agreed. Many blessings on you, and thanks again.