Dear Christian struggling with anxiety and depression,
You're not alone.
I know what it feels like to struggle.
I know what it feels like to have a bone deep exhaustion you can't shake no matter how much rest you get.
I also know how the enemy can use this against you. The condemnation you feel because we are told not to be depressed. Not to be anxious for anything. Not to worry.
Oh trust me my dear brothers and sisters, I know.
I have struggled with this for 20 years and I love the Lord with all my heart. Jesus is my all in all. My everything. But I still struggle. The good news is that we aren't the only ones and we are told God's grace is sufficient.
Ahhhhhh that precious grace!!!
In the 12th chapter of 2nd Corinthians, we read about Paul's thorn in the flesh. All we are really told about this is that it was a messenger of Satan and that God's grace is sufficient. My anxiety and depression is a thorn in my flesh. God's grace is sufficient for me too. It's also sufficient for you too!!! And like Paul, it's in our weakness that we are made strong. I know it doesn't feel that way but it's true.
Some days the truth of God's word seems like anything but the truth. Some days grace feels like a lie. I get it. I really do. If you've never felt this way, drop to your knees and Thank God because you are a rare breed.
But the truth IS the truth. God's grace IS sufficient. Christ IS our strength. He IS our ever present help in time of need. He IS our strong tower. He IS refuge. And no matter how alone we feel, He really WON'T EVER LEAVE OR FORSAKE US.
Some days I really have to think of God as my Father and myself as a child and just spiritually curl up in His lap and rest. I really go to the Father as a child because I feel as weak as one.
I have my own business. I make hand painted signs. Some days I shake to the point I can't even hold a paint brush. Some days I am so exhausted I can barely move. A bone deep, aching exhaustion but my Father promised to work all things together for the good of those of us that love Him and are called according to His purpose. I don't know always understand it but that's ok because I totally believe it.
B and I were driving home this morning and I got to thinking about the 1st Christmas I spent in this house. Underneath my tree was a present. A bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey. The following New Year, that bottle of Jameson was drank and I thought about the person I was then. I will not divulge all the sordid details. My Mammaw may read this and I don't need her to have a heart attack. Just believe me when I say that recalling that season of my life showed me just how gracious God really is and how He really won't leave us. Trust me, He would have been justified in turning His back on me then. Oh I get sick thinking about the person I was then. Gaagggggggg. But then I think about just how far He has brought me and that if His grace was sufficient for me while I was that hot mess, it's definitely sufficient now.
Some things that help me when I am overwhelmed with anxiety
1. Rest in the Father. Sometimes my anxiety gets so bad I can't pray but I can let the Lord rock me. I can let Him love on me. I can let Him hold me. I know it may sound crazy but sometimes that is all that will calm me.
2. Clean house. I know this is the LAST THING we feel like doing when we feel overwhelmed but if we can just dig deep and lean on the Lord, once we get started, it really does help. A messy house makes my anxiety like 50 times worse.
3. Exercise. Just like cleaning house, I know this is easier said than done but oh the relief!!! Whether it's cardio or strength training, it really does help TREMENDOUSLY. Strength training helps me more than cardio but everyone is different.
4. Talk to a TRUSTED but TRUTHFUL friend. I have 2 women that I go to church with that will never know how much they mean to me. They both bring different perspectives to the table but they are both iron and are both completely precious to me. I would love to share their names and publicly recognize them but I'm not sure how they would feel about that. It helps because once I get what is in my head to come out of my mouth, I begin to see how I have been deceived. It helps so much to get it out. Once I vocalize the lies I have been told, they are revealed and easier to rebuke. They seem so real in my head but once I start speaking them, I realize just what a load of crap I have been fed. It's cleansing and liberating.
5. Be productive. This is by far the hardest for me but it helps so much to SEE progress on something. Especially where my signs are concerned. As irrational as this sounds, my signs scare me sometimes.There's times when I will stare at a halfway completed sign for days before I will finish it but once I do, it feels like a weight has been lifted off me. It's so strange. I don't know if it's a lack of confidence or what it is but sometimes the thought of picking up a paint brush scares me to death but once I finally make myself get past it and get to work, a peace comes over me and then I look at a finished product and realize it awesome and then when my customers love them, I feel so blessed. It really does feel good to be gifted with the knowledge and ability to create something that makes another person smile.
If you struggle, I hope it helps you to know that you are not alone and that the Lord really is holding you and that He LOVES you so very much. His strength really is made perfect in a our weakness.