This morning was a rough morning, not unlike many others as of late. Only a precious few know that I’m currently struggling with depression and anxiety. It’s a battle I have fought more than a few times in my life. It runs in the family. It’s familiar. Yet, I still haven’t found the best solution. I have tried my best to deal with the issue appropriately, but I have often acted my worst in the midst of trying to find balance. Before balance has been found, friends have been hurt, annoyed, and confused by my erratic behavior. In response, drama is stirred and I develop legitimate feelings of hurt, anxiety, and confusion.
This morning I woke up fighting. From the moment I opened my eyes, I was engaged in another mental war. My soul found reason to despair. I spent hours praying and trying to use truth to extinguish the fire of hurt and anger which was easily started by a small spark. I did just about everything I could do to make myself happy. I watched a TV show that I loved, ate something tasty, reminisced with a dear friend, prayed, and tried to read my Bible. One verse into Romans 12 and I had to stop and pray again. I just felt like the words were sliding off of me. I couldn’t hold them.
In that moment, Matt Maher’s song Lord, I Need You came to mind. I found the song on my iPad and began to weep as I listened to it on repeat. Every stanza brought more tears. This song became my cry before the Lord. These were the words that I could grasp.
Something happened. I was having a cathartic moment and I felt Jesus meet me there. I didn’t feel happy. I still don’t feel happy. I felt content though. I imagined myself curled up in His lap, like a child. I just needed His embrace.
The song changed. I don’t know how. I had it on repeat. Lord, I Need You had already repeated a few times. Unexpectedly, Come Thou Fount came on. Before I could change the song back, the words “tune my heart to sing thy grace” rang out. Suddenly I had some clarity. My depression and anxiety were not simply a chemical imbalance, although it had certainly played a part. God was tuning my heart to sing of His grace.
I had just played bass through a 2 hour band practice, a couple of nights ago. Our guitarist was a young girl, whom I love very much. She’s talented and fun to be with. Our time together was no different on Tuesday. We laughed together and worshipped together. The practice was not without annoyance though. Her guitar kept slipping out of tune. She had just replaced the strings. The constant tuning we all endured was to be expected, but it slowed us down more than once.
This morning, I realized that my heart had some new strings. I have been wading through areas of my life that I had been content to leave in the dark. Like new strings, I kept finding myself out of tune. Others have had to endure my tuning with patience. It has been a process though. Tuning does more than fix the horrible sound for the moment. It trains the strings. After the strings have worn a little, and tuning has stretched the strings, the need to tune comes about less frequently.
The retuning pulls the strings hard. They must be tight. When the tuning finally sticks, the result is beautiful. There’s a bright ring to the new strings that could no longer be heard with the old ones. As an amateur guitarist, this process has always caused me to keep my old strings on longer. I have made the choice to live happily with the dull sound of the old strings, rather than go through the constant retuning struggle that must occur when new strings are installed.
This year, I got tired of my old heartstrings. I ripped them off and applied the new set, with the help of friends and mentors. These moments of tuning have been hard. Stretching. Yet, I am confident that God is doing a work in me. He is tuning my heart to sing of His grace.
The need to tune is constant right now, but it will soon happen less frequently. His story will ring out in a fresh way and I will be better for the process.