President Jimmy Carter’s historically forgettable one-term spanning from 1977 to 1980 is often remembered for his infamous July 1979 “Malaise speech.”
To refresh your memory, Carter, in a prime-time address, showed extraordinary political tone-deafness warning about a national “crisis of confidence.” But the real crisis was his own presidential leadership, resulting in Carter’s 1980 landslide defeat by Ronald Reagan.
Ironically, Carter never uttered the word “malaise” in his speech — defined as a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness by a person, group, or society at large. However, over the ensuing decades, the words “malaise” and “Jimmy Carter” have morphed together to define his presidency.
Now, 38 years later, a real malaise epidemic has blanketed America. For proof, look no further than the nation’s five most frequently prescribed drug categories.
First are opioids, often initially prescribed for post-surgical pain. Subsequently, opioids are abused for their addictive high described as “being wrapped in a warm blanket of relaxation and contentment without a care in the world.” Daily headlines report a national opioid emergency with an estimated 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016 according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
The second most commonly prescribed drug category are benzodiazepines for anxiety and panic disorders with familiar names such as Valium and Xanax.
Third are antidepressants with names like Zoloft and Prozac.
Fourth are stimulants. These drugs are commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with familiar names like Adderall and Ritalin.
Rounding out the top five are insomnia drugs such as Ambien and Lunesta.
These most often prescribed drug categories imply that record numbers of Americans suffer from the physical and mental ravages of modern society with drugs being used as a refuge.
If you are included in those record numbers, here is a simple exercise that might relieve some anguish. There is even the possibility that practicing this exercise on a regular basis could lead to a new outlook on life and perhaps a reduction in prescription refills.
The exercise is based on a two-sentence Old Testament Bible passage from the Book of Isaiah — an influential Hebrew prophet who lived around 700 B.C. In fact, Jesus frequently quoted from Isaiah during his earthly ministry. The short passage is known as “Isaiah’s Commission” and appears in Isaiah (6:8).
But first, some context when Isaiah writes:
I saw the Lord seated on a throne high and exalted and the train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah (6:1)
Isaiah describes angels flying about calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah (6:3)
Upon seeing the Lord, Isaiah cries out:
“Woe to me” and “I am ruined.” Isaiah (6:5)
Isaiah is shocked, unnerved and sounds like he could use a Valium! Then he declares himself unworthy to be in the presence of the Lord saying:
“For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah (6:5)
The backstory is that the Lord is not pleased with rebellious Israel — Isaiah’s people —and needs someone to deliver warnings of His judgment.
It turns out that Isaiah is the right man at the right time, writing:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah (6:8)
God says “Go” and gives Isaiah the message he is to tell His people. Isaiah (6:9-13)
Now you ask, “How do these ancient passages have anything to do with conquering malaise, depression, and anxiety?” Here is how you can turn Isaiah’s famous words into a potential drug-reducing exercise. Reach inside yourself and say aloud to the Lord, “Here am I, send me! Then you will be prompted to finish the thought.
Here am I, send me to settle a family feud.
Here am I, send me to forgive whoever needs forgiveness.
Here am I, send me to right a wrong I have committed.
Ultimately, you will be “sent” to do whatever you are supposed to do – whatever pops into your head. The key is asking to be sent. The more you ask, the more you will be sent. Try it once and prepare to be amazed.
Furthermore, if you declare, “Here am I, send me” on a regular basis, you will find that your life will have more meaning as He draws you closer to Him.
Pray and ask Him to keep “sending you.” Then your malaise could begin to dissolve along with anxiety and depression.
The world around you will not change, but you will find more ways to cope as you discover inner peace and tranquility that comes from trusting in the Lord. Eventually, you will become emboldened and confident knowing that the Lord is using you as His servant to make Isaiah’s Commission your own.
To contemplate what you have just read, listen to this beautiful hymn viewed over 10 million times based on Isaiah’s profound words. Warning: If you reach for a Kleenex that is a sign He is touching your heart and wants to “send” you now.
Myra Adams is a media producer and writer who served on the McCain Ad Council during the 2008 McCain campaign and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team. Her writing credits include National Review, WND, Washington Examiner, and more. Contact her at [email protected] Twitter @MyraKAdams.