Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The topic I'm about to hit on today is pretty intense, and extremely personal. I've had the idea of writing this post for sometime and I've even made it a key point to study it out in my quiet times because it's a topic that I've been struggling with for quite some time. If there's anyone out there reading this who has dealt with something like I have, I hope in some ways this can encourage you, help you or teach you.

I can't say that I've been clinically deemed depressed, but even if a doctor hasn't told me so, I can't deny that for my four years in high school I've been feeling some of depressions symptoms. Now, being bullied is not fun, especially in the first year of your high school career, but that's just what ended up happening. I had no control over it, and all I could do was suffer through it.

The results of it left me pretty broken, insecure, and just really weak. In fact, it all reached pretty dangerous extremes. Back then, I was studying the bible, and this excitement for God and learning about him seemed to push my depression away (I mean amen). Though, once I had become a disciple, some feelings slowly began to creep into my heart until recently, it hit me with the weight of a dozen rocks.

I felt numb. I felt emotionless yet I couldn't even control my emotions of sadness and anger. I began overeating. I felt unmotivated to do anything, and, I lost all security in God. All of this damaged my grades, my relationships, but worst of all, it ended up creating a wall between God and I.

NOW, let's get into the nitty gritty. The other day I was just cruising the net, searching for interesting articles to read until I came across a post titled: What the Church & Christians Need to Know About Suicide & Mental Health. The interesting thing about this post was that it wasn't on the first three pages of google. No, this was on like, the eighth page when I was searching, and I never go past the third page (lol).

Anyway, this post is super, super intense, and I recommend reading it.

So, I'm sitting there reading this, literal tears flowing out of my face and I'm just amazed. The author Ann, gets very very personal in her post - which I appreciated so much - while also hitting on some very interesting and important points.

The part that made me go "Oh... wow", was when she quoted Mother Theresa:

“There is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead… I do not know how deeper will this trial go—how much pain and suffering it will bring to me...
This does not worry me any more. I leave this to Him as I leave everything else....
Let Him do with me whatever He wants as He wants for as long as He wants if my darkness is light to some soul…” (Mother Theresa)

I don't know about you, but I was amazed by her words. She was so surrendered about her depression, and knew that, even if it weren't going away, it didn't matter, because she would just give it all to God and not think twice about it.

I think that was my biggest problem. I was so focused on and obsessed with how I was feeling. I let it take over my mind. I basically let it control me. I had a thorn stabbed into my side that I didn't bother taking out. I just stared at it and did nothing.

"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Like that transition?

When I read the quotes from Mother Theresa, I instantly thought of the famous scripture of Paul's thorn in his flesh. Mother Theresa was totally surrendered about her depression, saying that God can do whatever He wants as He wants for as long as He wants.

As long as He wants! Here I am wondering when these feelings and thoughts will leave me be and disappear, but Mother Theresa is prepared to have depression all her life if that is what God wants. That's exactly what Paul was talking about. There he was with this thorn in his flesh, asking God to remove it, but with no such luck. God didn't do it to punish Paul! 

Paul even writes himself that the thorn was there to keep him from being conceited, and, through this weakness he was faced with, he learned to make it his strength!

So I sat there, thinking to myself, "How in the world will I make this my strength?"

A great example I read about making a weakness a strength was about someone who reads slowly. Not just a slower pace than usual, but someone who actually finds it hard to read and grasp words as they read, and, no matter how many classes one might take to improve this, they don't seem to get any better. A way to make something like that your strength could be, instead of reading fast, you read deeply. 

Though, with depression, I found it difficult to find what my strength could be. How could something so dark and so unwanted become a strength in ones walk with God?

"Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings." (1 Peter 5:9)

 I think the biggest thing I tend to forget is that, I'm not the only one dealing with this. And neither are you. Whatever it may be, don't convince yourself that what you're the only one with problems, because you're not.

Why am I saying this? Well, Mother Theresa said it herself ... as long as He wants if my darkness is light to some soul. There are many people who are sitting at home, drowning in their depression, unsure what to do and how to react to it. It's probably someone you know. If you condition yourself to surrender your problems to God, inspiring others, and teaching others about your problems can act as your strength. There are so many people who struggle with depression, - whether it clinical or not - and being that person who can fight through depressions darkness and see the light, that is someone who inspires.

"If you follow Christ and obey him despite your depression you are setting an example to all others, showing them that you can have faith through it all and Jesus sustains you by giving you hope!" - Abby L.

Paul mentions how the thorn he was given keeps him from being conceited, it keeps him humble. There are moments that I encounter during my week where I am stuck in my mind and left broken and weak, and feel no need to go to anyone for help. It's in these moments where we need to keep looking up to God. In ways (as stated by a friend of mine), having this thorn in our flesh can act as a way to keep us in check with our walk with God. 

We won't get through our depression (or really any problem), without the help of God. I can testify this, I can confidently say that without God, my life was slowly falling a part. But turning to God, relying on God will keep us humble and bring us out of the dark. Sometimes, we just really need to look to God and be open about everything. We need to say: "Yes, I'm struggling. Yes, I need your help. Yes, I can't do this on my own.

I can't say that I've fully conditioned myself to give my depression to God, no, I'm still learning how to do so. In fact, I'm still trying to learn about my own depression. I really wanted to share with you all everything I've been learning through my quiet times, and through the wisdom of other people.

I hope in some ways, this was helpful for not only depression, but any other thorns in our fleshes. It may seem like more than just a thorn right now, but God is in control. While Paul's thorn in his flesh was "a messenger from Satan", God's amazing plan is greater than what Satan may be throwing at you. God uses Satan's attacks to make His power greater in weakness. God is in control. He's got you. 

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  1. Lorena, your post brings fresh hope to my heart. An hour ago, I was literally on my bedroom floor begging God in tears to show me the way out of my depression. I have struggled with this for many years, in bouts, and even after coming back from a beautiful and relaxing vacation, I found myself tormented in my thoughts about my future, living with depression and chronic physical pain. I can't thank you enough for sharing this. I never thought of depression being something that God wanted me to have. I always saw it as a sign that God was opposing me, cursing or punishing me for my sins. I knew all the right things to believe in my head but it is hard to believe these things when my heart is broken. Your vulnerability and courage to share this is inspiring and I am glad that someone shared this with me! Much love & thanks to you Lorena!