Open up

“Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble." — Psalm 25:16-18

It’s no time for lockdown

Many of us are not very good at opening up. We’re happy to dive into our caves, clam up like a … well, a clam, bring the shutters down, and withdraw into our own world. Of course, at times, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But when you are struggling, when you are suffering, when you are hurting; it’s not the best thing to do. How else is anyone going to know that you need help? How else is there anyone going to reach out to you? How else is there anyone going to offer you some comfort? 

But it’s not just that when you lock yourself down nobody will know that you need help and come to your rescue, or at least offer some support; it’s that you often make things worse for yourself. The worries on your mind keep going round and around in your mind, and escalate and grow and build up, with no release or relief. It’s a dark and dangerous spiral, especially for those who suffer with mental health issues. But even for those with no history of mental health issues, it can escalate and develop further.

I have to hold my hand up – I am one of the worse! Whenever I am struggling with something, I go quiet, withdraw, become less outgoing and sociable (not that I am particularly sociable anyway!), dive into my cave, stay at home, wallow in my loneliness and my despair. At times, all I want is for someone to call me, visit me, drag me out, give me a hug, tell me I am wanted; but they will never know how I feel. So I create my own self-fulfilling prophesy – I generate the very situation that I am moaning about. I’m lonely, so I don’t make an effort and don’t go out, which makes me lonely, so I feel more lonely, so I don’t go out any more … and it goes round and around, a spiral into despair and despondency.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t often feel like this, and on the whole I am an optimist. But I do have moments like this, which – thank God – are not often or long-lasting.

The current coronacrisis lockdown – national or local – has aggravated the whole situation. We are told to lockdown, so we do. But even though we need to adhere to government guidelines in terms of where we go, and who we meet, this is no time for lockdown in terms of who we meet and who we talk to. No – it’s time to open up.

It’s time to open up and be honest about how we feel, where we are emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. It’s time to open up and be honest about our struggles and our suffering. It’s time to open up about our despair and despondency. It’s time to open up to others, however difficult or uncomfortable this makes us feel initially. Because when we do open up, it releases us. It releases us to relate to others – to talk to others – and even if they (or when they) don’t have any answers, it helps to have someone listening to us. Those emotions are released, and release leads to recovery. 

When you are literally alone, when you live alone and others are unable to visit, you do have a Father in heaven who cares for you – and never leaves you or forsakes you. The psalms – many of them – are lamentations, a crying out, a weeping, mourning, a calling out to God in the deepest depths of despair. And He is faithful, He will always answer – one way or another, sometimes in ways we never expect or could ever predict – to bring you some relief or respite from your despair. Maybe you don’t know Him yet; but perhaps this is not the time for lockdown, but a time to open up – to Him. 

May we pray: Thank You, Lord, that You never leave us or forsake us. Help us now during this time of lockdown, and help us open up. We ask this in the precious name of our Saviour, Christ Jesus; Amen.

If you’re struggling with lockdown and need to open up, we would like to pray for you – please get in touch. Don’t feel as though you have to battle alone. May God Bless You.

Have you had your copy of ‘DARE to Hope!’ yet? You can download it here.