Dealing With The Blues
If you deal with “the blues”, you are in some good company. President Abraham Lincoln, recognized as one of the greatest presidents in U.S. history, suffered from “the melancholy” as did such national leaders as presidents John Adams and Calvin Coolidge. Legendary authors Charles Dickinson, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie also dealt with mood swings. As have actors Alan Alda, Ashley Judd and Harrison Ford. And the holidays seem to exacerbate these feelings.
There are many causes behind such struggles. Among them are physical factors, genetic predisposition, great tragedy and loss. There are no easy answers or simple cures.
Still, history offers a fascinating look at how Lincoln, specifically, emerged from the gloom of one Civil War setback: meditating on the Bible. Mary Lincoln’s dressmaker told of once seeing the president drag himself into the room where she was fitting his wife for a dress. His step was slow and heavy, his face sad. Not surprisingly, he had just returned from receiving bleak news from the War Department.
However, Lincoln picked up a small Bible from a stand near the sofa and started reading. After 15 minutes, when the dressmaker looked at Lincoln, his face had brightened.
“The face of the president seemed more cheerful,” she said. “The dejected look was gone; in fact, the countenance was lighted up with new resolution and hope.” Wanting to see what he was reading, she pretended to drop something. When she got near him, she saw he had been reading the book of Job.
Lincoln would often call himself an “instrument” of a larger power, saying he had been charged with so vast and sacred a trust he had no right to shrink from his duty. That included telling friends who feared for his life, “God’s will be done.”
This isn’t to say that simply reading a particular book of the Bible will necessarily lift your mood. However, Lincoln’s experience shows how the assurance of God’s presence and direction can help you make it not just through the holidays, but through life. Anyone who has dealt with feelings of hopelessness or anxiety knows what a struggle it is to visualize how things will get better. But when you grasp the promises of God, the hope that those promises offer and let Him direct your steps, you can find the courage to make it through another day.
A Challenge For You…
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