Lately, inspiration has been so fleeting. It comes, teases me for a moment, then leaves me behind with a half finished paragraph that almost makes sense. I have about 2 more drafts sitting, waiting for inspiration to hit again. Writing has always come easy to me but lately, inspiration is so rare I have to jump on the opportunity whenever it presents itself even if I’m in bed with the lights out. When depression hits, I often read my writing and don’t understand how someone in this state can write something so creative (in my humble opinion ;)).
There is a battle going on inside of me, a battle between the flesh and the soul. Every part of my body is trying to destroy me by telling me something is wrong, something is wrong, I’m messed up, I’m messed up. Most of the time, I believe it. It seems today, my soul has the victory as I rest in the peace of God that surpasses all understanding and in my case, all mental disorders and side effects of new medication. Today, I made a decision to let go of some people in my life who were tearing me down through this journey. It was not an easy decision since part of me still cared but I know that right now I have to be selfish. I’m guilty of people pleaser disease so taking a break from people I care about is extremely difficult. I’m afraid of hurting them and starting an argument but my decision was met with what seemed like welcome arms. I don’t know what hurt more, letting them go for good or the fact that those relationships ending were so welcomed. As the decisions were finalized and the conversations came to a close, I expected to drown in sorrow and a hundred different emotions but what I received was endless grace and a peace I still don’t understand. I gently heard God whisper, “Now I can REALLY do my work” and couldn’t help but smile in response. I can honestly say after joyfully leaping into my Father’s arms after wiping off every last bit of destruction hanging over me, I am at peace. Saying goodbye is never easy especially to those you thought you could count on most, but saying hello to healing and a new found peace in my loving God makes me want to say goodbye to destructive people everyday for the rest of my life. Sometimes, being selfish isn’t a bad thing. I often forget my self worth should come from God and God alone. I often place it in other people that know how to say the right things and act the right way for a certain period of time. When they walk away or do something to hurt me, I blame myself and believe I am not good enough. Today however, I decided to actively choose to believe that I get my self worth from God alone and decided for myself that other people’s behaviors and actions towards me do not define my self worth. My soul believes that 110% but my body is still clinging onto old shame and doubt. It’s an odd state to be in, self hatred and self love both at the exact same time with the exact same intensity. I don’t quite understand it but instead sit in the middle of both with my eyes locked on self love. I refuse to turn my head towards self hatred any longer. It’s ruled my life for so long and prevented me from chasing so many dreams! Oh how freeing it is to look away!
Tonight at a staff meeting for my leadership team, we did a devotional and focused in on Hebrews 4:14-16:
“14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (ESV translation)
When we first read this passage, the phrase “hold fast” from verse 14 stuck out to me completely out of context. I saw the two words and thought “Yes! That’s exactly what I’ve been doing!” and I know I will continue to do so. Verse 16 pulled me in deeply as well. The phrase “throne of grace” made my soul fly in joy knowing I serve a God whose throne is made of grace, not simply power. My mind pulled me back towards verse 15 and tried to stay stuck on the last part, “yet without sin”, and I couldn’t help but think that Jesus is so perfect. He went through what I’m going through and did it without sin… so why can’t I be that great? I try don’t I? Yet I fail all the time. What’s the point? My mind began to tap my shoulder and try and turn my face towards self hatred but a gentle whisper reminded me of verse 16, that beautiful verse. I smiled and kept my eyes locked on self love and His beautiful throne of grace and mercy. His blessings help me walk through the fire purifying myself of the pain, damage and evil inside of me. My heart is on fire yet I am not burnt, only freed. I so humbly accept these gifts of grace and mercy from my Father even if I don’t receive it from anyone else and for that I drop to my knees in thanks. Part of me refuses to forgive myself and hangs onto shame while the other half sings freely and flies. The constant conflict between my body and soul draws me closer to God as I desperately cling to His throne of loving grace and know that He is for me even if my own body is against me. That is a reason to rejoice! The peace was overwhelmingly strong and other passages began to pass through my mind. As I have felt like I was drowning, Isaiah 54 and Lamentations 3 have been my life lines. I always have one or the other pulled up on my Bible app on my iPhone and quickly read it when I am in a time of need.
Isaiah 54, The Eternal Covenant of Peace has easily become one of my favorite passages. The parts that stuck with me tonight are verses 4-6:
“4 ‘Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5 For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. 6 For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off,’ says your God.” (ESV translation)
This passage reminds me that God truly is a God of grace. When I approach His great throne, I can be confident in the fact that I will not be shamed, disgraced, or confounded. Instead, He pulls me in as His bride even when I feel deserted and am grieved in spirit. How humbling it is to know that the creator of everything above, below and next to me calls me even when I am in distress. I knew that not everyone around me would handle my diagnosis well. Depression and anxiety are mental disorders which come with a horrible stigma. I don’t blame people around me for being uncomfortable, heck even I have trouble admitting that I have not one but two mental disorders. That doesn’t mean I am any different though. I’m still me. Goofy, weird, silly me. My chemicals just don’t really want to function properly and my emotions can be a bit haywire. When people around me give me that, “Oh I’m so sorry” look and pat me on the head like a pitiful child, I can’t help but feel like I’m being kicked. I didn’t ask for pity or condescending words. Just because I have depression and anxiety doesn’t make me less human and it certainly doesn’t make me less intelligent. Isaiah 54 reminds me that God alone promises to never shame me, confound me or disgrace me even when there are people around me that do. It’s hard to rise above sometimes but I find that with practice, it’s getting easier. I’m learning where my self worth comes from and can’t help but smile knowing that I get to approach the throne of my beautiful God not as a pitiful child, but as His beloved daughter.
Lamentations 3:22-24 are the verses that I have been relying on particularly today.
“22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.'” (ESV translation)
Man! I feel like this was written for me specifically. It’s mind blowing to know that words written thousands of years ago are the very words I need to hear in this moment. My soul echoes those words every five minutes to remind me who’s really in charge. How humbling to know that I can be so at peace and find hope in my God who sits on such a glorious throne. Even now, I find myself beaming like a fool at the computer screen and am tempted to put in about a thousand smiley faces after each sentence.
After a moment of self reflection, we split off into our prayer partners to chat for about 25 minutes. We went to her room and I shared everything I wrote above. She pointed me towards Galatians 5:16-26 which talks about keeping in step with the spirit. The verse that really stuck out to me was 17.
“17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” (ESV translation)
How blessed am I to have a partner who could point me to the scripture that summed up the last couple weeks of hell I’ve walked through! My body has been a battle ground and is embodying this verse. My flesh and Spirit are at war and she informed me she could see it but also encouraged me that God is working through it. The fruits are evident from this hard season of harvesting and that was all I needed to hear to know that I can continue onward.
I find it funny that in the midst of this turmoil, chaos and warfare going on inside of me, I can honestly say this is the time in my life where I’ve felt the most whole. Sure my mind is plaguing me with thoughts of doubt, shame, anger and hatred, yes my body wakes me up in the middle of the night, is exhausted and refuses food, and yes my heart can still feel broken occasionally, but my soul knows God so intimately that it covers every aspect of warfare and is slowly bringing each death that has happened inside of me back to life. I can still say it is well with my soul. It feels great allowing it to slowly leak into every other aspect of my life. I may be broken physically but spiritually, I’ve never been more whole.
Depression & Anxiety: 0