If you are reading this right now, I first of all want you to know that depression and anxiety do not define you. You were created for so much more than a life where their deathly grips control you and rob so much from you. In fact, I pray right now that they have their last say in your relationships. And I need you to believe that a life without them both is something you can and will step into.
Someone prayed over me recently and she spoke the word “joy” for my life- she said that joy defines me, and is going to define my 2017. And I am writing this right now because I believe wholeheartedly that no matter how deep your pit of depression is, or how long you have lived with anxiety, joy can define your 2017 too. In fact, I believe this is Gods will for your year.
Something about that sweet moment of prayer (and hearing the word joy) overcame me. Because in that moment I realized how free I am – I realized how entirely joy-filled my life is.
Maybe you do not understand the utter beauty of this. But the thing is, as I was living in my anxiety ridden depression for 6 years, I never thought I’d see a day without it. I never imagined that one day I would wake up and realize I dont even remember what that darkness feels like. But somewhere along the way, Hope found me again, took me on a journey, and here I am today- free.
Two years free.
God is so good.
My grandpa asked me a few months ago if I believe someone can be a Christian, yet live their entire lives without ever breaking free of depression.
Of course the thought of this hits home for me. It makes my stomach flip upside down and makes me incredibly angry. So I’ve spent many months crying and praying regarding it. And I think I’ve settled on an answer to that question.
Yes, I believe that, unfortunately, there are probably many Christians who live their entire lives and do not break free of depression and/or anxiety. And I absolutely hate this.. it breaks my heart.. because it breaks the heart of God.
But I say boldly that there is freedom in God from any addiction, sin struggle, or burden. It does not have to be this way, friends. You were created to overcome, to be victorious, to be free, and to walk in your fullest potential and in abundance.
I believe wholeheartedly I would have lived under their nasty control my entire life if I wouldn’t have pressed into the Lord. But I ran after Him. And I want to tell you a little bit about what that looked like.
Because, you know what, I was a Christian the entire time that depression and anxiety ruled my life. And if that doesn’t make sense to you.. then good.. it shouldn’t. I shouldn’t have lived with my depression that long.. and I didn’t have to. But the reason it was this way is because, yes, I was a Christian, but I did not know God. For too long I didn’t give full effort to my relationship with him and I turned to everything else for my every need and desire before turning to Him. I couldn’t walk in freedom until I was really walking with Him.. because freedom is found in Him.
It was in deciding to make Him my whole world that my journey began.
I know people who have stories of one moment with God that changed everything. One moment and they were healed of cancer.. one moment and their back was healed.. one moment and they were free of depression forever.
I think that’s absolutely beautiful. One moment with God has more power in it than our minds can fully understand. It is impossible to sit in His presence and leave the same as you walked in.
You could sit with Him and ask Him to free you right now, in fact, and if you have a desire to do so, I encourage you to talk to Him about that. It is possible for Him to free you entirely in this moment, now.
However, that is not what my story looked like. My story was a journey. It was a journey comprised of many moments. He didn’t just free me, He continued to free me. Really, he still continues to, I guess. He didn’t just save me, he continues to save me. He didn’t make me new, He continues to make me new. He didn’t just heal me, He has already begun to redeem me for every pain and for more than was ever stolen from me in the first place.
Maybe the “one moment” freedom deal seems better to you, but honestly, I thank Him all of the time that He didn’t heal me in an instant.
I’m continuously brought to tears in remembrance of all the sweet depths that the journey allowed me to meet Him in, as well as, all of the lessons it taught me along the way. It is in the journey that I found intimacy with Him. Those memories are so precious to me.
& the thing is, He was the one in charge of my journey.. I didn’t even realize I was on it at first. All I knew is that I was seeking Him and clinging to Him with my entire being. Healing and freedom was simply a natural outcome of walking with the Lord.
And I think that’s the secret. Just walk with the Lord, my friends.
No, run after Him with all you have within you. It is the best (and most adventurous) decision you will ever make.
No distractions or excuses. I don’t care how busy you are.. you don’t have time to not make time for your relationship with Him. I’m not talking about just going to church on Sundays. I’m not talking about making God and church a cool part of your identity (millennials seem to be so into what makes them a unique individual). Don’t let God become just another thing in your life that defines you like your top knot or your love for craft beer. Also don’t just let it be another thing you cross off of your to-do list.
I’m talking about coming to a point where you make Him your life and your all. Where you finally throw down all of the things of this world that have continuously promised you everything and have time and time again left you with nothing. And then, instead, turn wholeheartedly to the Father who has a life of abundance waiting for you.
And I urge you, my beautiful friend, to begin this journey today.
I’m not sure what your journey of healing and running after God will look like. But I promise you this.. I know that it will be an adventure and I know that it ends in joy.
Or.. maybe when you find Joy, that’s actually the beginning of the real journey.
You can not fathom all He has in store for you.
[if this post hits home for you today, please contact me.. let me buy you a cup of coffee]
3Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.