One Day at a Time
Like most people, I am an instant gratification freak! Experiencing anxiety and depression for a year was really hard. If I had to walk through a tough time I wanted it to last for 24 hours and then move on. Spending a year in bondage to anxiety and depression was pure torture for me.
During my journey I struggled not just with anxiety and depression but with the fact that I was a Christian who was suffering from anxiety and depression. I believed in God, I attended church, I loved studying the Word. How did I succumb to such bondage?
I didn’t struggle with depression growing up. I was the type of kid that didn’t hold a grudge. If I was wronged, I forgave quickly and moved on. When I would meet people who were depressed I could never figure out why they just didn’t choose to be happy.
My depression began with a single panic attack which was something I had never experienced before. I have never felt so out of control in my life. After the first panic attack I immediately had GAD (General Anxiety Disorder). GAD is basically where you’re caught in a loop of anxiety. You never really feel at ease.
I’m very active and an extrovert but when you’re anxious all the time you don’t want to go anywhere. I removed myself from gatherings and social fun, I stopped going to the grocery store (I know I’m weird but I LOVE grocery shopping) and I just wanted to sit at home all the time. After a few months this led to depression. I felt as though my life would never return to me and if it did what would “normal” look like going forward?
Well, friends, my life did return to me and it is now better than ever because I live in the COMPLETE freedom that Christ has given to me! Jesus set me free on the cross. He said, “It is finished.” and it was finished! So, if Jesus has set us free then why do so many Christ Followers live in bondage?
I know we all have a story but I personally believe the reason we wind up in bondage is not because we’re not “Christian enough” (trust me, I thought this was the reason for my year of bondage) but because we don’t truly believe that we are free.
Now if you’re like me when I was going through anxiety and depression I DID believe in Jesus! I think that’s what made me feel the most defeated was because I knew God, I walked in relationship with Jesus daily, I read the Word, I taught the Word to women, I attended church.
The truth is I did believe as much as I knew how to believe but deep down in the deepest inner parts of my heart I had fear plaguing me. Fear of death, fear of people, fear of losing, fear of not being good enough, fear of losing control. On top of fear I had guilt and shame. The enemy had me so bound and had been weaving his web of deception for years in my life and one day he decided to pull the rope as tight as he could and my whole world came crashing down.
There are seeds of deception that fall our way daily and when we don’t tend to those seeds they turn into weeds in our flower beds of life. Those weeds grow deep, strong roots and we can chop them down at the surface but the roots still remain. It’s not until we get on our knees, down in the mud, and dig those weeds out of our flower bed that we experience the true freedom that Jesus has given us.
God is so gracious and the word that He gave me during my year of “crazy” was, “One day at a time.” Oh! I wanted it to be over so badly but each morning I would wake up with hope that yesterday was my last day of anxiety/depression and then that sick feeling would hit me in the stomach and I would realize that the “crazy” was still there. I had to choose to get up that morning and go through the motions of my life as though I was normal and press forward. I overcame one day at a time and because I walked through the darkest year of my life I stand on the other side now in complete freedom because I understand that Jesus paid it all but I have a choice in whether I believe that He paid it all and whether or not I operate in the freedom that He has given me.
I think we make ourselves an exception to the scripture. I used to make a joke when I was going through anxiety and depression that the fine writing in the side notes of the Bible did not say, “Except April”. God’s Word applied to me just as much as it did to anyone else. When God says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” There is no fine writing beside that verse that says, “Except April”. This scripture applies to me as well as everyone else. The scripture applies to you too so don’t give up on reading scripture.
I have had a few conversations with different people over the past few years about their experiences with anxiety/depression and I just don’t want them to give up because tomorrow could be their day of finally walking out in freedom.
Anxiety and depression are very real. Believers experience it, non believers experience it… it’s very real but it’s not forever! I can only speak from my personal experience and I’m not a doctor but I do know Jesus and He heals, restores, and comforts. Although He could completely remove the darkness from you, sometimes He needs you to get into the flower bed with Him and dig out those roots so that you don’t return to the darkness. With each root that I discovered, God helped me deal with grief, shame, guilt, and anger. There were things from my past that I had not thought about since I was a kid… I didn’t even know it was there but God did and He knew I couldn’t fully operate in freedom with those ugly roots attached to me. If God would have exposed all of those roots to me in one day I probably would have been admitted to a mental hospital. He knew what He was doing and He knew we had to take it one root at a time.
I’m now experiencing true freedom because I don’t have roots of deception holding me captive anymore. I pray that you take hold of your freedom by pressing forward one day at a time.