It is 2am. You went to bed hours ago, but your eyes are open, staring at the ceiling. Sleep escapes you because your brain is telling you all of the reasons you should dread getting up in the morning.
You go about your day and you can’t help but snap at your mom, dad, sister, or brother even though they were asking a simple question.
You are not hungry some days. You are lethargic. You walk around in your biggest sweatshirt with the hood pulled down so they can’t see your puffy eyes from crying yourself to sleep the night before. That is a bad day, but there are worse. Ones where the pain is so debilitating that you cannot drag yourself out of bed.
You feel heavy, broken, and alone. It is sneaky, dark, looming, and lonely. This is depression.
My depression started in 8th grade and I did not crush it until the middle of senior year. For five years, there was not a day that went by where I did not think about ending my life. By God’s grace, I have moved past this and am living my best life. Here are some things that I finally realized that were the key to breaking my depression down.
#1. You are not alone.
Depression comes from a place of feeling trapped. It is caused by two things: hopelessness and helplessness. I remember feeling completely and utterly stuck. Most of the time, you don’t feel hopeless or helpless when you are surrounded by people who relate to you or know how to help. There are SO many people who have felt what you feel. Now, that does not take away from your experience or make it any less real. I remember thinking that, so, I will explain it like this. Two people with depression are wearing the exact same style of sneaker, but if you were to put your foot in their shoe, the places their foot filled in the shoe would be different than yours. They could be more worn than yours and they may have even put colorful shoelaces on them. They are still the same shoes, each as relevant as the other. I had the hardest time sharing my struggles because I thought my suffering was unworthy because I had things going for me. Your struggle is real and relevant. You matter. What you feel is worth someone else’s time and if you cannot find a person to talk to, God most certainly cares. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 See. This verse literally tells you that God wants to hear about your problems. Talk to God, talk to a therapist, talk to your best friend, talk to your mom, talk to your pastor. Talk to someone, because the second you do, you realize that you do not have to be stuck and you don’t have to suffer alone. Repeat after me: “I am not alone. I am not alone. I am not alone!”
#2. It is ok not to be ok.
Do you feel like you are supposed to have everything figured out? As a daughter of God, do you feel like your struggle makes you less of a Christian? Do you feel as though this depression makes you weak? That is how I felt. Depression has a not-so-funny funny way of spiraling back around to keep you trapped in a cycle of emotion. You have the depression and the fact that you have depression makes you depressed. It never ends. You are a human being and sometimes, life stinks. That is a fact. People let you down, you lose your job, someone dies. We are constantly put in situations where we are not in control and for some of us, that is so scary. God knew it. He knows that we can get discouraged. John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me ye might have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Basically, He’s saying, “Life stinks sometimes. But don’t worry, I got you.” So, have a good cry, scream, get it out, but at the end of the day, look up and say, “Ok, God. This isn’t how I wanted this to go, but you’ve got this. I can’t be ok by myself. I need your peace.” He’ll give it to you if you’re willing to accept it!
#3. It is ok to define your happiness, pursue it, and take it.
This one was a HUGE light bulb moment for me. I get to decide my own happiness. I get to decide if I get my butt out of bed and do something. No one is holding me hostage. I am. My way of thinking is keeping me trapped. I can change that. I can take control. This is not how I am going to live anymore. I am sick. I need help. I need to tell someone. I do not deserve this. I do not want this. I DO NOT WANT THIS! Depression makes you hate yourself. It makes everything so dark and warped. It perverts the way you see the things you used to love! It is a ploy of the devil and one day I woke up and I decided I was SO DONE living like that. So, I talked to my mom because she didn’t know. I needed to tell her because I needed help. I needed to tell her because I could not claw myself out of that pit and my first step was to ask someone for help. That day I decided I deserved happiness. You do too. Take it. You get to decide. You do not have to live like that anymore. Define your happiness, whatever that means to you. Take the necessary steps to properly pursue your goal. Once you achieve it, never look back. Demolish your depression. You don’t deserve it. So, crush it.
If you or a loved one needs help, call National Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255
Written By: Kristen
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 6:34
A life free of worry is something we all contend for, but it’s easier said than done when we are faced with unfinished work and unresolved situations on a daily basis. Whether we’re wearing an outfit that’s out of our comfort zone or we are deciding where to go to college, there will always be a situation where we can choose to worry or choose to trust God.
And that’s the thing about worry -- it’s a choice. A choice to give power to the troubles of life or give power to the one who is going to use those troubles for good. A choice to let anxiety become an idol or let God be first in life. A choice that is easily explained but not easily made. When we are confronted with a situation that we don’t know the outcome of, we desperately assess how it may go, what we may say, etc. It becomes an obsession, a constant presence looming over our hearts. More often than not, worry seems entirely unavoidable.
So how is it possible to avoid worry in the first place? And how can we “crush it” after it starts? For me, the answer lies in knowing who God is and how much he really loves us. We are his children, whom he found worthy of creating and to whom he extends his unending grace. His love for us is unfathomable! What, then, is the purpose of worry? If our God is the creator of all things, how dare we worry about anything? We know that he has our best interests at heart, and when have we not found deliverance in the past?
Imagine you’re attending a play. You’ve been waiting for the curtains to open for a while, and you’re starting to wonder whether or not the show will go on. Of course, nothing has been said about the play being cancelled, but it’s a thought that you allow to enter your mind. After waiting for what felt like forever, the curtains open to reveal the set. It’s beautiful. More than you ever expected. And you realize that had the cast not spent as much time as they did on the set, the entire play would be different.
This is how worry works. We may see only the curtains, or the situation. But we have to realize that God is working behind the scenes to make something for you that you never expected nor imagined. No matter how bad it is, God always prevails.
Of course, trusting God is difficult. When you can only see the curtains and all you can hear is the murmuring of the crowd, it’s hard to have faith. Personally, I find my faith when I fall to my knees. I always seem to find God in this type of surrender. For example, I recently went through a situation where I found out that some girls were talking about how much they disliked me; something that would normally crush my spirit and fill me with worry. However, I got on my knees and was real with God. I told him how it felt. I told him how much I wanted to forgive them and move on. I told him that I didn’t want a seed of resentment to enter my heart. I asked him to take this situation from me and to show me deliverance.
I walked away from that time with God without any worry about the situation or unforgiveness in my heart. God wants to take your burden, all you have to do is give it to him. God is putting the finishing touches on the set that is your life/situation. He is resolving the unresolved and the unresolvable. The curtains are about to be pulled back! Ask him to take your worry, and he will. He has your best interests at heart and his love for you is so great that we can’t even fathom it!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
Written By: Chloe
Anxiety- it’s crippling. It’s inhibiting, obstructing, and most obnoxiously, it’s a preventative tactic utilized by the enemy to keep you from achieving the Lord’s destiny. Think of anxiety like some sort of shape-shifter. Picture it as some crazy weapon the enemy has created to adjust to your daily life:
Got a big pile of homework all due tomorrow morning? Anxiety.
Friend troubles? Anxiety.
Long Starbucks line? Anxiety.
Whether it be something you have been diagnosed with by a professional, or if your anxiety stems from expectations, school work, or relationships, you deserve more. In fact, the Lord says in His Word to “…not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
When the enemy is dangling the overwhelming feeling of anxiety in front of your face, I invite you to remember this little secret- you’ve already won. That’s right. You’re already a victor! Whatever “thing” Satan has used to trigger your anxiety won’t defeat you. Your victory has already been found. In truth, your victory was found a couple of thousand years ago on the hill of Calvary, hanging upon two pieces of wood, perpetuated by Jesus’ selfless love. By giving Himself up to the Pharisees, He set you free from the curse of sin AND anxiety. He crushed anxiety in its place. His love is so big that there is no longer room for anxiety in your life. The enemy knows that, and he wants you to temporarily forget that fact in order to distract you from God’s glory.
With that truth established, how on Earth are you supposed crush anxiety? Thankfully, Paul laid it out simply in the last chapter of Ephesians:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV)
The armor of God? Halloween costumes can be cool and all, and hey, if that image helps you prioritize the truth, that rocks! But metaphorically speaking, continuing in verses 13-16, Paul describes dressing oneself in preparation for battle. Spiritual battle that you could face daily. Whom may you face at the battle lines? Anxiety. What attributes has the Lord prepared within you to, by grace and through faith, to CRUSH anxiety?
YOUR BELT OF TRUTH
YOUR BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
THE HELMET OF SALVATION
THE SWORD OF SPIRIT (THE WORD)
With these in mind, I urge you to prepare yourself daily. Remember the battle tools you’ve been given to stomp Satan’s flame as he may attack you in different forms. Sweet children of God, embrace these gifts the Lord has given you. Embrace the truth. Embrace your redemption. Most importantly, embrace and accept that anxiety was crushed for you by the mightiest King of Kings. Your battle was fought, your battle was won, you’ve been set free. Adorned with love, He crushed anxiety for you and for me!
Written By: Grace
've never been a fan of flying. The first time I rode on a plane, I was taking a trip to Pennsylvania with my family, and I was so nervous, I was crying and shaking the entire flight. At 22, almost 23, years old, those fears haven't gone away. I still cry leading up to the flight, my chest is still tight the entire duration, it just never gets easier for me.
Every time I fly anywhere. Same tears, same chest pains, same fears. People always say, "it gets easier the more you fly," but for me, it never seems to. Every time I fly, we land and I reach my destination safely. I know it always turns out okay, but every time, I ask myself, "what if this is the time it doesn't?"
I cling to fear instead because in that moment, it's what I know, and it's easier.
How often do we do this with the Lord?
We cling to fear instead of safety and peace the Lord places right in front of us - Jesus. Something happens in life; school work piles up, we lose our job, we receive a diagnosis, we experience fear.
One time, I was flying home and journaled on this topic of fear. As I sat on the plane watching Parks and Recreation and writing out some ideas, I looked out the window and began to talk to God.
"God, I need to hear You speak into my fear."
I overlooked the city below, and since it was a night flight, the darkness below is illuminated with the lights of whatever town we're flying over. I saw how far the lights went, how much ground we were covering, and how quickly we were. Then this phrase came into my mind.
"Carrie, I'm bigger than all of this."
Okay God. Bigger than my fear? Yes.
What about my crazy school work load? Yes.
Fear of flying? Yes.
Anything I see from up here? Yes.
Oh. That's big.
It's easy to forget how big God is. We board the plane of fear, cling to the armrests, tense our shoulders, and tighten our seatbelt. But God says rest.
Why is that? Why is it that the second we face a trial we tense up out of fear?
If I was sitting on the street that the plane is flying over right now, all I'd see is a few street lamps, a couple other cars, the usual things you see on a road. That's all. But 30,000 feet give you a little perspective (cue the Ben Rector song now). You see it all.
Jesus sees the whole picture. I don't. Not yet, at least. There comes a time we need to let go of the armrest and rest in the promise that Jesus is safe.
Friends, maybe you're living in fear. Maybe life is taking off and things are happening that terrify you. You know God has been faithful before, but you're convincing yourself that this could be the time He isn't.
But that's the thing with God. It's never a question of when He's going to fail, because He never will. His provision is coming, ready to blossom, ready to flourish, but we have to be brave and trusting in the harvest.
As you come face to face with fear, stare it down, say bring it on, because there is a God standing behind you that's already on your side.
Peter walked on water (Matthew 14). Wouldn’t that be terrifying? To step out in the faith and walk on waters where the waves stood several times your height. But Jesus calls him out.
What are your fears right now? What is your airplane you’re boarding right now? What is the storm you’re walking on now?
I’ll make you a promise. Jesus is there on the plane. Jesus is there on the seas. He’s before you, He’s behind you, He’s holding you. There is no reason to fear, because you have a powerful God who is already victorious. Who or what then shall you fear? (Psalm 27:1)
Rebekah Lyons wrote a book called “You Are Free,” and each chapter is a different free to be topic. Chapter 13 is about bravery, and in it, she writes:
“There comes a moment for each of us wherein we must decide - will we be brave, or will we remain enslaved to fear? Will we be brave enough to confess? Will we be brave enough to walk into God’s calling? Being brave means no shrinking back or blaming obstacles. A lifetime of sweaty palms and racing heartbeats has shown me the plain truth: Bravery is moving scared. Bravery requires stepping out.” (Lyons, 199).
There is no fear you will encounter in which God is not big enough. He's bigger than any fear, trial, or situation you face.
It's time to let go of the armrests and rest in the arms of Jesus. Rest in the security of His love. Rest in knowing He is bigger than any fear we face. Let’s be brave.
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7
"So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'” Hebrews 13:6
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
Written By: Carrie