February 10, 2013: Dealing with the Dumps

The other day, I was in “the dumps”.  You know what I mean, that time when you are feeling down, but you’re not crying-in-your-Wheaties depressed…just flat, emotionless, numb-to-the-world-but-still-functional kind of funk.  Things just weren’t right.  And I wasn’t sure how to fix it.  Now, I’ve been working (not very hard) on losing weight, so I’m still a little addicted to food.  When I drove past some red, poultry-styled scrollwork and my 3 year-old squealed “Chicken Flay!”, I was very tempted to blow twenty bucks on some fried goods which would undoubtedly temporarily reduce my blues but less-temporarily inflate my waistline.  I passed it up, and as I munched on a good old peanut butter and honey sandwich I wondered if there was a better way to deal with a case of the dumps.

As I read in my time with God today, Moses had a similar issue and handled it poorly.  In Numbers 20:1-13, Moses and Aaron are handling a bevy of complaints from the some-odd 2 million Israelite nomads they are leading through the desert.  The people are screaming and whining that their food isn’t good enough and there isn’t enough water.  God then miraculously makes a way for Moses to bring forth water from a rock near a place called Meribah by simply speaking to the rock…how cool is that?  But Moses doesn’t give God credit and just hits the rock.  God still made water flow from the rock in a crazy-awesome show of his power and love but Moses and Aaron are punished for not following instructions.

I’m sure Moses was having a pretty cruddy day. I’m sure he was tired.  I’m sure he was frustrated.  Plus, his sister just died so he was grieving.  Moses was in the dumps, in a big way.  But when God gave him a way out of his dumpy situation, he decided not to pay attention.  Striking the rock was done in an act of upset frustration: “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?!”  I’m sure this gushing rock rewarded Moses with a few “oohs” and “aahs”, but it put distance between him and the One who could’ve fixed the whole thing, and not only did he regret it for the rest of his life, this Meribah Mess was highlighted for generations as a famous failure of faith.

When the dumps descend, it’s tempting to go for the easy fix, especially the one you do on your own.  Like an addict who thinks they can just “white knuckle” it instead of hitting up the AA group, we think that the situation we worked ourselves into we can work ourselves out of.  We forget that we need a Savior, and not just to go to heaven when we die.  We need a Savior when the budget is covered in red ink.  We need a Savior when our spouse isn’t giving us the love/respect/time we think we deserve.  We need a Savior when we’re burned by church.  We need a Savior when the car won’t start, when the A/C goes out, when the promotion doesn’t come, and when the diagnosis does.  We need a Savior, every day.

The dumps are an opportunity to return to the One who created happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction.  Run to Him, listen to Him, and follow instructions.  It’s the longest lasting dumps defense I know.

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