Note from Joanna: It is a privilege to introduce you to my dear friend and fellow writer Jodi Detrick, who will be sharing a guest post with us today! Please make sure to connect with her at the bottom of the post and check out her new book, The Jesus-Hearted Woman.
Finally! The sun is shining brightly here again in the often gray and rain-drenched Pacific Northwest where I live. What is it about light that makes such a difference in our attitudes and ability to cope with life?
It’s hard to overestimate the effect of light, and its importance, to our existence. We plan our lives around its presence or absence. Light helps us navigate (think stars for sailors on a pathless sea, or the lighted dial on your alarm clock that helps you make it back to bed without losing a toe in the middle of the night!). As a crime deterrent it provides safety, and will also signal welcome on a few million front porches this evening. It brings growth and health and is used to treat diseases.
We also see and appreciate beauty because of light. Even the most stunning art depends on good lighting to reveal the genius of the artist. In fact, color and light are indivisibly linked. There is no color without light. Life on planet Earth would not only be quite miserable, but entirely impossible, without light.
A while back I talked to a friend who had, under her doctor’s recommendation, purchased a special light to help with a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder. The acronym, quite aptly, is SAD, because those with this disorder suffer from an increase in depressive symptoms when natural light is scarce.
Sometimes I think that, because of the dark seasons we walk through, our spirits experience their own versions of SAD. Car accidents, violence, life-threatening illness, divorce, job loss, conflict, disappointment…life can grow pretty dark when these are your realities.
Something has helped me through my own light-deprived seasons and, oddly enough, I can describe it best by explaining something I’ll call “light memory.” We’ve all had times when we have to flip off the light and afterwards navigate in total darkness through an unfamiliar space…perhaps when leaving an office, or going to bed in a hotel room at night (where the light switch is always on the far wall). Usually our eyes haven’t had enough time to adjust, so we grope along and often run into a few sharp edges. UNLESS…unless, before the light went out, we intentionally set our eyes on some point of reference that gets fixed in our minds. With this light memory, we can almost “see” what things were like before it all went dark. And somehow, we find our way without getting hurt.
Ephesians 1:18-19a (NIV) says: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
If you are in your own SAD season, head toward the last good place you saw when there was still light. In the meantime, realize that, especially on the darkest nights, even the smallest pinpoints of light will make a difference and can help you find your way. Ask God to enlighten the eyes of your heart, as Paul wrote, by fixing them upon the hope and inheritance that is yours, along with the incomparably great power that will sustain in the meantime. You’ll get there and, by God’s grace, things will be bright again.
Dr. Jodi Detrick is an author and religion columnist for The Seattle Times, one of America’s leading newspapers. Her new book, The Jesus-Hearted Woman, is just being released this summer. As a certified personal coach and a speaker for many groups across America, Jodi loves to talk to people at heart-level about things that matter most. She serves as national Chairperson for the Network for Women in Ministry and is an adjunct professor at Northwest University. Jodi lives with her husband, Don, in the rainy Pacific Northwest where lattes are always a good idea. You can check out her new book here or learn more about her at her website. She’d love to have you follow her on FB or Twitter, too!