When SAD Hits …

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. – 1 John 1:5 NKJV

Several years ago I spent a week in January visiting my brother in Alabama. It was nothing short of glorious for this winter-weary western Pennsylvania gal. The daytime temperature ranged from the mid-60s to the low 70s, the southern sun shone in cloudless blue skies, and a light jacket was all I needed when I ventured outside.

And outside I went every day but one, soaking in as much sunshine—and vitamin D—as I could on my daily walks. I returned home re-energized in body, mind, and spirit.

There’s energy in the sun’s rays, and for northerners like me who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), time spent in the sun is just the prescription needed to fight the lethargy, carb cravings, brain fog, low energy, and everything else associated with what’s also called the winter blues.

Living where I do, I can’t do anything about the shorter daylight hours that disrupt my body’s internal clock, but I can take steps to fight the symptoms.

Since a lack of adequate sunlight is the main cause of SAD, I spend as much time absorbing natural light during the winter months as I can. In addition to taking vitamin D supplements, I need to exercise regularly to boost my flagging metabolism and avoid the sugary and starchy foods that just create the craving for more of same.

We can suffer from spiritual SAD, too. Seasons of spiritual doldrums descend on all of us throughout life. Like with physical SAD, spiritual SAD can be overcome—but you can’t just wait it out, hoping it’ll go away on its own. You have to recognize the symptoms and make the effort to fight it.

The prescription is the same: more light, exercise, and the right food.

Get more light by spending more time with the SON.

“I am the Light of the World,” Jesus said. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). I spend time with the Son when I read the Gospels, allowing His words to soak into my spirit. All of God’s Word, for that matter, is “lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).

The second Rx is exercise. Daily walking by faith boosts a flagging spiritual metabolism, strengthening flabby spiritual muscles. I exercise faith when I trust God to provide what I need and not take matters in my own pathetic hands, when I wait for His guidance and not run ahead of Him, and when, instead of demanding my own way, I leave the choice to Him.

Finally, the proper spiritual nourishment will help us avoid craving the wrong things—the junk that too often clutters our lives and clogs our joy. “My food,” Jesus once said, “is to do the will if Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). In other words, obedience.

Have you spent time with the Son today?

When S.A.D. hits, remind me, Lord, to seek the Son, for He is always shining. Amen.

Read and reflect on John 1:1–12.

© 2015 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

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