Eternity Will Smile On Me

I never said I was honest
I never said I was honest
But I am true
And I am true

I know that my tweets are sad and you’ve probably noticed. I’ve said a LOT via social media in the past week or so. But it’s hard to really explain things in 140 character segments, so it only makes sense to write about it in detail. So here it goes.

I’m Joseph Craven, and I want to be honest. I want to be honest about my struggle with depression.

You may have noticed in that past year or so a lot more serious posts on this site. A lot of that is because of having a desire to approach rough situations with an effort to understand them and process them. That’s true. Another side of it, though, has to deal with not being able to process harsh situations and letting them eventually control me.

About a year ago, I was very motivated. I wanted my life to move forward and I was excited about chasing all of that. I was making an effort, and all the while I was trusting God with what was ahead. I was honest about my desires and my goals and my life. But then a few rough things started happening to me and my family. It was no big deal, it just meant that some of that ambition had to take a backseat to helping out those who needed help. It was all fine.

But something went wrong. When I should have moved on and continued advanced in my life, I froze. I locked up. Situations and circumstances still weren’t great, and because of that, I panicked. I let circumstances control me when I never should have. Simply put, I caved to fear and depression.

You see, when those bad things started to happen, a seed was planted. A seed of bitterness in my heart. Over the past year, it has grown and controlled me. It has led me to give up without ever realizing I had given up. It has been something that I have had to fight against for most of my life, and over the past year, I failed to do so.

On my time I’ve walked a fine old line
I held a vacant sign upon my eyelids
On my time, oh Lord, I’ve been so blind
But now I see the light below my doorjamb

I cared about the people in my life. I did. But somehow I had gotten things mixed up and my priorities switched from caring about them to some sort of selfish desire to hold onto an awful level of immaturity. Instead of advancing in life and becoming a better person, I buried my life in video games and drinking. All the while, I never was aware of how I was destroying my life. Which is funny, because I was a person who said I loved people so much, yet I refused to actually hang out with my friends. I refused to tell them anything that was going on in my head and in my heart. I spent all of my free time alone in my room. I locked up, held it all in, and disregarded the thirst for honesty that had driven me up until that point in time.

That’s what depression does. It blinds us. It covers our brain in a fog, putting a vacancy where our thoughts and convictions should be. I couldn’t see what lay ahead anymore, and instead of fighting, I panicked. People called me out on it. People I love. Friends and family. But I refused to listen. I walked my fine old line that I was set upon, never once opening my eyes.

Without realizing it, I sabotaged myself. I threw everything important away. It was only a matter of time before it caught up to me.

It finally has, and boy has it sucked. I’ve had moments of isolation, plenty of unprovoked anger, and a lot of that bitterness that started to grow last year. I’ve hit rock bottom, which was something I felt coming but did nothing to stop. I’ve had moments in which I made myself aware of where the sharp knives in my house were so that I wouldn’t allow myself to enter those rooms alone. It’s been a hard, weird time.

And the weirdest thing of all is that hitting rock bottom has been a wonderful thing.

Hallelujah, it will be gone soon, yeah
It will be gone soon, yeah
It will be gone soon, yeah
It’s just an empty room
This is our darkest cave
We’ll never see the day
But slowly make our way up to the mouth

I’m pretty sure Jonah wasn’t looking forward to being eaten by some fish. All he wanted to do was to run away from the God who was directing him and guiding him. I can honestly say I can relate to Jonah quite a bit. I hope my story has the same redemption to it as his.

It took losing everything to realize what I had done to get me in this situation. The weirdest thing about it is that I never felt like I had to beat myself up about anything. I never felt like I had to hate myself for what I had done or what had happened. Instead, it made me realize the impermanence of my pain.

It’s not the end. We worship the God of second, third, and in my case, 100th chances. He has given me another one now. A chance to grow the way I should have been already. A chance to do the things I should have done already. A chance to make the forward motion I should have been making since last year.

This is my chance to grow. Finally. To look at the things and places around me that I have clung SO TIGHTLY to and realize that they have nothing for me anymore. That’s not a negative thing by any means. That’s an awakening.

I can grow. I will grow. God willing, I will also have a chance to make things right.

Depression has taken away a year of my life. God has given me back my direction. It has been through things that have made me question my desire to continue with anything. The moments where I’ve wanted to totally give up on everything. But now? Now I have a chance to be honest again: with myself, with those I care about, and yes, with all of you on Twitter. I have a chance to be honest. Be real. And that’s invaluable.

You’re gonna piss and moan
You let the devil in your home
You let the devil in your home
You let the devil in your home

It’s a long road ahead. One with a lot of pain and a lot of hope. One that I’m just flat out not looking forward to at all, but one that will lead me to the responsibility and maturity I need. One that will hopefully lead me to the opportunities to fix what I’ve destroyed, both in my life and in others. To repair friendships I let go of over the past year. To start caring again. It’s a path that will take me where I need to go.

This path sucks. It hurts. A lot. And I don’t write any of this or share any of this to try to earn anybody’s sympathy. I hope that’s perfectly clear. Depression is a lie, but it’s also a lie that I chose to believe. Even now, I am a nervous wreck. I worry about the things I’ve done and the people I’ve shunned. But talking about the future? About being spit back up onto the beach near Ninevah, where I’ve run away from? It is refreshing. It is encouraging. It clears the fog.

Simply put, God is fighting my depression for me. Too often we, as believers, take these issues and blame them on lack of faith or worse yet, we hide the issues all away. We can’t. So this is why I will be so honest: because it’s about time we stopped pretending that believers don’t struggle. It’s about time we were true and honest. With ourselves, with others, and with God. So be real, my friends. You aren’t any more broken or any less loved than any other believer out there. Take that much from my silly words.

When I look back on my life, I see God’s guidance. I see Him leading me to great and important things that mean everything to me. Things that have such great odds working against them that they never should have happened. I see Him leading me through awful rough patches like this one, so that I will finally have my eyes opened again. It makes me excited for whatever happens next.

What happens next. Boy, that’s terrifying to think about. Whatever happens next, though, I will grow. I let the devil into my home, my heart, by accepting this bitterness and fear. I spent the past year as some stranger that I don’t even know. Thank God, I am not the man now that I have been for the past year. I’m not even the man I was a year ago. I am being made new. No matter if I have the chance to correct my mistakes and continue, or if I have to start over, I will grow.

That’s a promise. To myself. To you. To God. I will grow. Before anything else happens, I will grow. And I will not whine about the bitterness I allowed into my heart. But instead I will rejoice in being delivered from it.

Hallelujah, it will be gone soon. Pray for me, my friends. Depression took away the past year of my life, so now I pray for growth. And I pray I can make amends. To you. To those that matter. To myself. To God.

It’s just an empty room. Hallelujah, it will be gone soon.

“Anything that is worth doing is worth doing imperfectly the first time.” – Tim Keller

Just you wait, world. Just you wait.


10 thoughts on “Eternity Will Smile On Me

  1. Great first steps. I’m praying for you, Joseph. Been through my own version of depression. Plan now for how you’ll handle the setbacks that are going to come, so that they’ll be speed bumps and not mountains.

    Call if you need to talk. You’ll get an ear and not a know-it-all, I promise.

  2. Dang. Thanks for your honesty. What’s funny is that it seems that, in a world growing in the social media realm, true honesty and vulnerability takes a backseat. Thanks for fighting against that. For what it’s worth, I think you’re pretty awesome and I’m rooting for you!

  3. You are awesome. A few years ago I was taught the painful mantra of “bringing darkness to light.” Despite various triumphs along the way, confession and accountability remains a struggle to this day. It’s a constant battle. What an inspiring reminder to continue into the light and away from the darkness.

    Much love, brother. Here for you if you ever need to exchange any thoughts.

  4. Depression sucks. I go through periods of mild depression two or three times a year. But I’ve been writing about them too, and that’s helped me in many ways. Not least of which is the emotional support. But a great unexpected side effect has been a better recognition of the depressions as they’re coming on. So I’ve been able to fight against them faster and they now don’t last as long.

    But I’ve only had a couple real big soul-sucking ones. Even the little ones make me disappear, you know. Withdraw inside myself and keep away from people I care about. But the big ones kind of obliterate me. It’s like I just dug a hole and crawled in it for six months. I’m not sad really, I’m just gone. Non-existent.

    I’m glad you’re coming through this – big changes, you know what I mean, can shock your mind/emotions out of the fog. But as you know, that’s just the beginning of the crawl out of that hole. Keep reaching out to your friends and God. You’re doing great, and you will get back to yourself again!

  5. This was just so beautifully and truthfully put.
    I’m hoping you’re doing well with everything and encourage you to be an amazing person and continue to put your trust in God.
    On a side note, such an amazing song.

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