Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)
TITLE: Chains of Glory
By Helen Murray
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The disease of the age is depression. When I was young it was not diagnosed. I was anorexic for three years. This also was unknown and unidentifiable by the medical profession. I suspect it is a form of depression. It seems very connected with constant criticism. For me it ended when someone remarked on my loss of muscular tissue. As an athlete of sorts, I valued my muscle tissue and began to eat again immediately, observing to myself that I had gone too far with this thing. Why did I do it? Father knows but I do not.. Family communications were at an all time low, but they did not improve when I stopped having anorexia and started eating custard! (I still love it). I did receive Jesus around about that time, but I can’t remember whether the two events coincided closely.
I’d never have gone through all that if there were joy in the family, if I felt important and valued. Truly laughter is the best medicine and sets up chemical and electronic pathways in the brain that establish laughter (and joy) as systemic. This is no different than developing any speech pattern (eg language, optimism or pessimism, or imitations of Elvis Presley or riding a bicycle). Everything we do establishes brain patterns to facilitate that function – good or bad! This is why practice makes perfect and why we spend hours at piano practice.
Once those patterns are established they are very difficult to remove or replace. Indeed, after forty years my piano playing skills were still able to be gradually resurrected when my church home group needed them. How then to obliterate the entrenched patterns of depression once established?
Perhaps the need is for depression over-ride.
I notice the little boys around here all ride bicycles or scooters. However, when hey grow up, they tend to drive motorbikes, cars, or even aeroplanes, and the excitement of scooters is dissipated and has less effect on them. The funny thought here is that if they transgress or in some way lose their licences for these bigger vehicles, they’ll often revert to the bicycle again.
So I think that the answer to depression is to install something that over-rides it and is very much more powerful. So we need to find a joy that can over-ride depression that has been firmly established by years of practice and which will occupy the mind to a much greater degree than depression, so that where depression debilitates, joy will predominate.
JESUS IS THE JOY OF LIVING.
He’s the King of Life to me.
Unto Him my all I’m giving,
His forever more to be.
I will do what He commands me.
Anywhere He leads I’ll go.
JESUS IS THE JOY OF LIVING.
He’s the dearest friend I know!
Currently I find that when I am fully engaged in Jesus I have no trouble at all relating to people, (which my depression took away from me). When I pay less attention to my closest times with Him, then I find the old patterns of depression and isolation chiming in again. The very minute I take time to be with Him and just be in love with him (as distinct from the times when I am praying for others or asking for my needs) is the minute in which my life is restored to me. In fact I seem to be two people, unrecognisable to each other. One is the old self, unable to communicate and isolated. The other is full of life and ideas, engaging people and generally having a ball. That is my “Jesus” person. I live in constant choice between them. One will dominate me if permitted. The other is there by invitation and never lets me down!
It’s interesting that if I offend Jesus (by not giving Him the time of day, which is like losing my driving licence by committing a driving offence) then I’m back in the old cycles (not bicycles, although as a parable it works! Let the reader understand!) of depression.
Once while praying in church, I saw, in a vision, people silhouetted on a hill, like a chain gang in the glorious golden sunset. But they were all there by choice, the chains were golden, and just as the scene was bathed in magnificent golden light, so the people were immersed in joy. They were the chains of attachment to Jesus, the risen Lord.
I, too, choose the golden chains of glory.
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