It’s not depression, but may be a pathway to situational depression. It’s not like lack of sleep that makes one tired all day, but tired is certainly a good adjective . It’s not a feeling of hopelessness, but at times it seems like there is no hope. It’s not true burnout that causes incapacitating anxiety or break downs, but it may well be just a little further up river. It’s not a feeling of being overwhelmed by busyness beyond ones control, but out of control is a real feeling. One does feel like all these things are a possibility or at least like one is on the road to one or all of those destinations in the fog. Like real fog, the fog is a condition caused by the right atmospheric conditions. It obstructs views. It makes life go slower. The fog restricts but doesn’t incapacitate.
First, there are medical reasons that cause depression and anxiety and there is no shame or guilt in having to seek professional medical help. Second, I am not trying to suggest in anyway that depression or anxiety are a result of the fog or could have been avoided with what I will later describe as defogging practices. Depression and anxiety are medical conditions. The fog on the other hand is situational, self-induced, and possibly seasonal.
I’m in the fog and I am able to do my daily tasks that include work and home routines and responsibilities without difficulty. I’m in the fog and I can pull it together to do whatever I need or want to do. I’m in the fog and I experience happiness and a since of accomplishment. I’m in the fog and I’m experiencing a lack of joy.
Perhaps it is due to my age a form of midlife crisis. I am content with who I am and what I’m doing. Perhaps it is due to my station in life as pastor who is the first generation that has had cell phones, email, and social media and I don’t know how to unplug. I know my calling and I am “all in” on being one who is set aside by God for a special purpose, full-time ministry. What I’m lacking is joy.
Life is routine, reactive, boring, and when I get a chance I shut down. The kind of shutting down that nothing constructive is going on; I’m not resting, I’m not recharging, and I’m not readying myself for what’s next. Before you start in on what will dissipate the fog, let me say – I exercise, eat pretty good, get enough sleep, have close friends, and have a happy marriage. I pray and read the Bible on a regular basis. I’m not guilt ridden because of something in my past or even my present. I’m in the fog and there is a lack of joy.
Can you resonate? Are you in the fog? Then hang with me over the next few weeks and let’s work through this together. First read John 15:1-17 and do some research on what it means to abide in Jesus. I’m by seeking joy, deep and wide joy, Jesus joy. I’ll try to write about my experience and findings on Wednesday.