I still have sad days.
Sometimes I lose focus. I look with my eyes both at the world around me and within me and despite constantly blinking to adjust my clarity I can’t seem to register what it is I’m doing. Blurry, like a lonesome morning in January that started too early, those moments when it’s cold and the rest of the world hasn’t woken up yet. Foggy. My thoughts are deceiving, I try to grasp something real and ignore what I know to be true as it exits my brain and tickles down my spine, the threads of my reality unraveling, “what is this?”
It all becomes too much too fast, as if I'm stuck on life's merry-go-round and someone hit the fast forward button. All of a sudden I'm wondering how I've made it this far without breaking. To be forever caged in something as fragile as the body of a human being, the human heart, my body and spirit, my mind and soul. Sometimes it takes everything in me just to get out of bed, and as I start to wonder why this is or what's happening to me the answer presents itself. Time and time again.
My anxiety and my depression are a part of me. Not in a ball and chain sort of way, but in a "that's my middle name" sort of way. Like the signature prints on each of my finger tips or the birth mark on my rib cage. It is part of who I am. They have shaped my fears, and navigated my growth. That is not to say that I am grateful for these things, the fears and the darkness that they embody and possess. Too many nights have been spent curled into a ball, crying with such a force that my eyes become swollen shut at a pain so unbearable it causes me to turn on my own body and hurt myself, a pain that has seemingly no cause or trigger but a passionate hunger for destruction. My destruction. My anxiety was not something that could be cured by a pill or mastered on a sofa but something that was constantly surrounding me, reminding me, calling me. And despite valiant efforts to escape, and believe me I tried, you cannot run from yourself. That fact only fueled my anxiety. How can I try and fix myself when it is me that is broken?
The fact of the matter is, you can't. And while it may sound simple, it took me a whole lot of pain and a lot of sleepless nights to realize that. I was a teenager. Crying in my bed, begging for it to stop. For the pain to stop. To not feel so alone anymore. Wondering what I had ever done to feel this way, why I felt nothing and seemingly everything all at once. Wondering why I was so overwhelmed, as if I was on the brink of a breakdown every second of every day, trying to keep it together and not knowing why I was on edge in the first place but being terrified to let that fear go and end up free falling. Holding onto guilt from mistakes past and afraid of repeating them, afraid of relying on myself and not being strong enough, unable to decipher my emotions and my truth, my brain and my heart. I was tired of losing the fight against myself. I was tired of being alone. I knew Jesus, I was very familiar with Him and I had grown up surrounded by people who loved and worshipped Him. I was taught at a young age that my relationship with Christ would be my own choice, nothing would be shoved down my throat or pressured upon me, because that's not what Jesus is about. It wasn't until that very night that I reached out to Him in my own doing, by my own choice, that I finally began to understand.
I got out of bed one night, a night like so many before, and fell to my knees crying out to Him,
"Jesus, please hear me, I call out to you. Please help me. God I can't do this alone anymore. Spirit please enter my heart, I want to live my life for you, to serve you. I can't do this alone anymore. I can't be alone anymore."
And immediately my tears changed. I continued to cry but it came from a place in my heart I had not yet explored, a foreign land to me entirely and yet it was there all along. He was there all along. Waiting, watching, loving, and caring for me. The reason I hadn’t fallen off of that cliff edge. I felt His overpowering love, His unconditional love shower over me, and from my knees I laid down on the ground and I wept. I wept because my burden was gone. My pain was gone. And my mind was quiet.
Jesus is the refuge for the lost, the comfort and the peace. And while my anxiety is a part of me, and my depression is a part of me, it does not rule me. It does not define me. I will never have to cry alone or feel lost again because I know my Savior is with me always. I do not need to fear tomorrow because my tomorrow is in His hands.
That's Jesus. He takes us at our dirtiest, our craziest, and our most shameful. When we are scared and afraid. And He redeems. He picks you up out of your misery, out of your mess, and reminds you of who you are. A human being, yes, but through Christ so much more! A child of God, the reason for the cross and the ultimate sacrifice, so that we may be forgiven and bask in the freedom that showers the earth every second of every day. Oh you are so much more than just a human being you are loved by a God that is as present as the air that you breathe as you read these words, a God that is constantly rooting for you during gray skies and sunny, a God that loves every single inch of you. A God who was there when you were first conceived and has never, not for a single second, left your side. A God that created you in His image, He who designed things as seemingly simple as your laugh to things as complex and overwhelming as the entire timeline of your life. And He cherishes you. The Creator of all of the heavens and the earth, all that you see and do, and He created you. And He chooses you. Oh you are so much more than a human being, you are His beloved.
Jesus wants to take your burdens and rid you of them. He is waiting to show you His unconditional love. Because of Christ you are forgiven and you can have forgiveness. Then, now, and tomorrow. He is with you now and forever, and He loves you in ways you or I can’t even comprehend. Please, friends, rest in His arms. Rest in His peace.
Five verses on overcoming anxiety & giving your burdens to Jesus:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God."
"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous."
"In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul."
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways submit to Him,
and He will make your paths straight."
1 Peter 5:7
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."
"Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us;
He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds."