Before I experienced anxiety and depression for myself, I was clueless! It’s extremely hard to relate to a person in the midst of a mental war. You simply just don’t get it unless you’ve experienced it yourself.
Now that I have walked through a journey of anxiety and depression I can relate to those around me who are in the valley. Our situations may not be exactly the same but I still get you. I get what you’re going through. I get how awful it is and how it sucks your life away from you.
People often look at my life (from the social media glamour) :o) and compliment me on how great my faith is. They assume that my closeness with God is why God healed me. God certainly healed me … but not because of me… because of Him. Because He’s good and He’s faithful. That healing was not set aside for me alone. That healing belongs to you as well!
I think it’s easy to look at someone else’s life from the outside, see glimpses of their struggle, and then see their victory. What we don’t see are the super hard days in the valley. Each minute the claws of fear digging deeper and deeper into you. Minutes feel like hours when your mind is throwing unreal thoughts at you and your body is reacting with ‘fight or flight’ for no reason at all. Days last FOREVER and you feel tortured non-stop. We don’t usually see this part. We hear about it in hindsight after the victim has overcome and sees everything for how amazing it was and sees God for how good and faithful He is. There is a very real journey that takes place and that journey is messy and ugly … and that’s okay.
I follow a woman on Facebook who met cancer face to face last year. She is healed now! Praise The Lord! It’s easy to see her story this way – “Cancer diagnoses. God is good though and I’m going to get through this. Today was hard but God is incredibly faithful. Going for treatment today. Having a blast with my friends and support group. Up and at ’em today! Going on with my everyday life. Praise God for His nearness! I’m healed!!!! Give God all the glory and honor!” …. THE. END.
This is how we often see other people’s struggles so when we get into the trenches of our own ugly messiness and it doesn’t look like that above – it’s easy to feel lost and drifting out to sea by yourself, headed for destruction. It’s easy to feel there is no hope for you or your situation.
When I think back about my journey, although the healing is very real, what I remember are days of confusion. I remember lying on my living room floor, bedroom floor, kitchen floor (I seemed to be face to the ground often) and grieving with all my soul. Some days it was just too much to physically stand up. I remember days of lying in my bed, cover over my head, and wanting to die. I remember the frustration of sitting in the car when I really needed to go into the grocery store and buy food for my family but I just couldn’t get myself out of the car because I was terrified.
I remember being snippy with my husband and daughter because when you’re on edge for days on end EVERYONE and EVERYTHING gets on your nerves. Trinity would be singing in the car and then we would get stuck in traffic and I would snap off on her for singing. “Just be quiet and sit still!” I’d shout at her. I remember crying a lot and being so mad at everyone because they couldn’t fix me or take my pain away. It was a hard season of life. In fact, it was so hard I didn’t think I would survive it.
But you know what? I did survive it and you’re going to survive too! Even though the journey hurts and the bottom of the bottom is messy- there is hope that sings in the valley low. The light will always overcome the darkness. The darkness cannot remain. It just can’t! Get excited!!! You have the victory! You have the healing! You just need to meet yourself over there on the other side and that’s the journey.
You have to wake up each morning and know, even when you’re face to the ground and mad at everyone around you, that you’re already standing on the other side completely healed! That’s faith! That’s hope. It’s chasing after something you can’t see. It’s standing back up and inching forward when there is no end in sight. It’s dancing in the mirror when you feel like dying! It’s laughing, belly laughing, through the tears! It’s speaking life over yourself and your situation and proclaiming the faithfulness of God when you feel like you’ve been abandoned.
God is truer than how you feel. Don’t let those feelings take you under. Don’t let those feelings control your thoughts and actions. Feelings are strong. They create strong thoughts too – but you have a choice whether to listen and believe them or not. Choose NOT to listen and believe them. Choose life. Choose hope. Choose faith. Choose love. Choose Jesus.
No one can make you choose. You have to do that on your own.
The journey is ugly and messy. The journey is very real and very hard. BUT GOD – God is faithful and He is near … even in the messy, ugly, and real… Especially in the messy, ugly, and real. Actually, I experienced the love of God in such real ways in the messiness that once I walked out of it all – I longed to go back to being captive because I missed that closeness, that ‘desperate – here, you can have all of me’ closeness that I experienced while I was in the pit. Now that’s crazy, right? But it’s true.
The truth about the journey is that it doesn’t have to fit the pretty Christian bubble of “hardship” that’s been presented to us. The truth about the journey is that most likely it is a hot mess! The truth about the journey is that God doesn’t change just because we’ve hit a rough patch in life. I am so grateful for that. Let the Spirit of God meet you in your mess and prepare to have your world rocked.
Hang on! It’s a bumpy ride – but it’s so worth it. Get excited and know that if your world is being shaken this much then the enemy sees you as a real threat. You were created with a plan and purpose attached to you. We need you. The world needs you. Your family needs you.
You got this!