I found this tweet by Eugene Peterson (most notable for the popular Bible paraphrase The Message) to be quite agreeable:
The language ‘fire in the bones’ comes from Jeremiah 20:
If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
The best hobbies are the ones you’re passionate about. Try a lot of things, and if you find one where your personal energy levels are raised, go after it. My ‘thing’ is writing. If I’m in a good mood, there’s a creative spark there, and if there’s the creative spark, I can write all day long.
I find that I am at my most creative when I’m happy. There’s a chapter in Scott Adams’ book on happiness. The whole chapter, indeed, the entire book, is great, but here’s a tiny snippet:
Let’s start by defining happiness and agreeing on what causes it. My definition of happiness is that it’s a feeling you get when your body chemistry is producing pleasant sensations in your mind. That definition is compatible with the science of happiness…
Based on a lifetime of observation, my best estimate is that 80 percent of your mood is based on how your body feels and only 20 percent is based on your genes and your circumstances, particularly your health.
While Adams discounts antidepressants because of their side effects–and believe me, I totally understand that–I’ve found them to be necessary in my life in order to function day-to-day. Apparently I have a chemical imbalance that causes me to be depressed and anxious as a baseline. It doesn’t help that my diet has been poor and I’m far too overweight, but I am gradually improving my diet and exercise habits. Long-term, I expect my mood to get better as a baseline so that the medicine will work better. Perhaps someday I won’t need medicine at all, but I don’t condemn myself for needing it. Apparently many, many people are on some sort of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication. I’m just one of many.
When I’m miserable, I find that I can write occasionally, but the times where I’m most miserable are generally my least productive times. Through this blog, I genuinely want to help people, and if I am just posting depressing stuff all the time, how will that help anyone? But if I can post scripturally sound articles that come from a place of emotional balance–a place of strength–then I can genuinely help people.
I encourage all of you–especially Christians–that if you’re not happy, that you work out why you’re not happy. Get a physical. Talk to a doctor. Talk to a counselor. If your baseline reading in life is ‘unhappy’ or ‘depressed’, there is something wrong. People of a creative bent–and I believe everyone is creative, but some folks don’t know it–will always be unhappy if they’re not creating. And if you’re unhappy, I believe you’ll ultimately be less creative, in a long-term, positive sense. We all know plenty of stories of unhappy creative geniuses who died of drug overdoses because of their misery. Perhaps if they were physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy, they would have been happier, and they would have lived longer, even more creative lives, producing artwork out of that happiness that made others happy instead of depressed.