when I fear I have lost my flavor

Sometimes, discouragement knocks hard on your door and it takes everything in you not to invite it in to share a giant piece of chocolate cake.

Sometimes, you let it in. And you eat the cake. And the leftover spaghetti.

Sometimes, discouragement crawls into your bed and keeps it warm while you drag yourself to make breakfast and get kids to school and return to pull the covers over your head and shut out the world.

Sometimes, it sits beside you on the couch and watches brain-sucking cartoons all day while your toddlers run around in their diapers and cowboy boots and stop stinky and goobery in front of your face to wipe away your tears.

Sometimes, discouragement drives you to work, sits uncomfortably in your chair, stares at a blank screen . . .

When you’ve been sick and it’s gone on for a long time and no one has answers.

When you’ve been fighting battles with your child and every conflict throws failure in your face.

When you’ve worked overtime to finally get ahead and come home to a pile of bills that will set you way back.

When you can’t seem to find where you fit and no one invites and no one asks and no one notices.

When you finally take a deep breath only to discover your addict is at it again.

Discouragement knocks hard, relentless.

Discouragement whispers worthlessness and failure in your ear and tells you you can’t.

Discouragement spins a friend’s success or happy post into a jealousy or regret.

Discouragement suffocates in the darkness with questions and tears.

Discouragement chokes out life-giving words and seasons speech with self.

Discouragement tells me I have lost my flavor and am of no good but to be tossed out and trampled.

Can salt be made salty again?

I wonder . . .

When I fear I have lost my flavor, I disappear.

Disappear like Moses — to be alone with God.

Disappear like Jonah — a long shadow of fear, jealousy, envy or discontent has eclipsed joy.

Disappear like a leper — to heal and seek a doctor for a cure.

* * * * *

Sunshine beckons me. 

I lie on the trampoline in the yard, soaking in afternoon light, sifting through sickness, disappointment, hurt, regret. I hear nothing. No words of comfort.

Somewhere below me, the tide is out.

A breeze passes over sun-warmed sand, mud, shells, carrying the sea to me and I breathe deep . . .

One day I will look back on this season. A season of physical breakdown, a season of letting go of a child, a season of wordlessness, a season of discouragement.

But I am not in the looking back.

* * * * *

Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. Psalm 25:16

Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8

* * * * *

This morning I remember the thing about discouragement.

How sickness, exhaustion, anger, hurt and loneliness open the door to it.

How it wallows in the past, thrives on lies, heaps on guilt, compares and finds wanting.

How it sucks everything into its mire and drains the world of sunlight and sea-salt air.

How you could drown in it. How you need to be pulled out.

If you are sinking, reach out. If a sinking friend reaches for you, take her hand. Do kindnesses for her. Listen.

And if words are necessary, let them be always with grace, seasoned with salt.

* * * * *

Grace has been shaken over my life.

I am grateful for the one who sits beside me for long hours in a waiting room. For the one who draws me away from my solitude to get some lunch. For the one who shares tears over tea. For the one who brings dinner. For parents who call just to hear my voice. For children who bend down to wrap their arms around me. For a husband who listens in the middle of the night. For a doctor determined to help me get well, starting with removing my gallbladder.

I am grateful for Sarah Young, for Philip Yancey, for Ann VosKamp whose little books have become a permanent fixture on my nightstand, and remind me that a flavorless season is survivable and can become a beautiful and encouraging thing.

I say thanks out loud to God for blessings and ask Him to sift the rocks and dirt from my little bowl of salt.

And then I hear it — the gentle whisper of love I couldn’t hear over the beating on my door.

* * * * *

* * * * *

Are you discouraged? Feel free to comment — anonymously if you wish. And I will pray for you. It will be good to take a little sabbatical from myself.

23 thoughts on “when I fear I have lost my flavor

  1. Oh, Deb. I just want to hug you. Thanks again for the eloquent words you put to things so many of us have felt and thought. Your insights ring so true. I miss you and would love to get together sometime. Meanwhile, I’ll pray for you in this challenging season. Take care, my friend. I love you!

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  2. This is so beautiful and so true, Deb. I just love it and love that you are not afraid to share the dark moments with the light, because we all have them. Love you!

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    1. Thank you, Tam. I feel like several people I know are in really discouraging places right now, so I thought I’d open up the floor. . . Honestly, it made me feel so much better to write out all those times in the past and present when I have felt heavy with discouragement. And to remind myself that I am not alone, no matter how convincing the voice of discouragement is.

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  3. Thank you Deb for sharing! Your words were such a blessing to me tonight and helped me gain perspective right after praying that God would show me what was wrong with my thoughts.

    Tina MacCuish

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    1. Me, too, Mysie. It was really hard to write, and I did not know where it would end. But I went ahead and poured out my lament and it ended with recognizing what God has blessed me with. And now I just realized why some of the Psalms read the way they do. . .

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  4. Deb you are truly a special person, with such a gift of words. I swear you’ve been in my heard and pulled these things out. I am fighting my own battles …….. of never feeling good enough & deserving enough. Remnants of a difficult childhood & disastrous marriage. Now I am so lucky to have found a wonderful man & I sometime feel like I don’t deserve him. Add my 3 boys being grown, and starting their own lives….. and soooo many regets…… Thanks for your words, they are comforting. It helps knowing others have been to these dark places also. I’m trying to find my own path back to god….. it’s difficult sometimes.

    Thanks again,
    Becky

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    1. Thank you Becky. Regrets are real joy killers, I think. Especially when it comes to your kids, and you know some of what is now is because of where you were when they were growing. It can just suck the life out of all that is good now. I hear you, Becky. Some days, for me, it really comes back to the recovery mantra of “living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time” which really does boil down to moments. I have to learn how to live in the moment better. So glad you commented, Becky. It really does help to know I am not alone.

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  5. Thank you for these beautiful words. I don’t need them right now (I am currently in the looking back) but I’m pretty darn sure I will need them again. Because life is like that. God bless you.

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    1. Seasons, right? We go through seasons.
      I am in a sort of looking back season — some days, I forget my husband was ever an addict. Five years ago, I hoped for today.

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