I use to think if someone went to church, read their bible, and loved Jesus they didn’t struggle as much as others.
Bless it. I was so naive.
Jesus made it clear He came for the sick did He not?
You will find sin and brokenness in every soul who walks on this planet, some are just better at hiding it than others.
Why do I say this?
Because God never wants us to feel alone.
He never wants us to feel we’re the only ones struggling with a certain issue. I always say we all have issues, they just have different names.
When I finally decided to get on medication for my depression and anxiety, I discovered feeling alone and ashamed was worse than the actual depression.
It felt I was the only Believer struggling with mental illness.
I would search endlessly on the web for other Christians suffering with a chemical imbalance and there just weren’t many stories.
I desperately needed someone to put their arm around me, weep with me, and to reassure me I was not alone.
As I continued looking for stories I kept feeling the Holy Spirit whisper to me:
The day I finally decided to call U of M and make my appointment to get help, I was angry with God that He wouldn’t heal me. I had said all the prayers, believed for healing, and had jumped through every spiritual hoop.
Still, the healing did not come.
In anger one day I told the Lord I would never be His poster child for depression and would never share my story.
(Just a side note, you don’t ever tell God what you are going to do and not do. It’s really just not a good idea.)
By the time I got over my pride and ego, I decided God was not asking me to be a poster child for mental illness.
He was simply asking me to share my story and offer my weaknesses and brokenness as an extension of His love and grace.
The enemy of our souls knows that when we share our stories, we become free. So his goal is to continue to whisper lies to keep us bound. I wonder if you’ve heard any of these lies:
“Keep quiet. Stay silent. No one will ever accept the real you.”
“No one has the problems your marriage has….
“No one has kids that talk back like yours…
“If people only knew that secret thing you struggle with…
“You must not really love Jesus because you struggle with…
These were the lies I believed for years which prevented me from getting the help I needed.
I finally got the clue that no one has this thing called life figured out. We are all walking with limps and sometimes the only remedy in not feeling alone is to go first, to give away what your soul is craving.
So I asked my Heavenly Father for the courage to help me give away what I was needing.
When I shared my story of mental illness with my sisters, I had the honor to hear their stories and to hear the two words my ears had been dying to hear:
I have wept with my sisters, prayed with them, and we have shared in the glorious hope of Christ together.
If that alone is the reason God decided not to heal me, then what a gift of grace.
I know that sounds crazy, but I truly feel that way. If I can help one sister feel less alone and breathe some courage into her then Jesus have your way.
Friend, what are you feeling alone in?
The next time God puts someone in your path you will have a decision to make: Will you give away what you are needing and trust God for it?
It may be risky.
It may feel embarrassing.
It may cost you some pride.
But, if you decide to go first I promise you will be set free.
Maybe not of your ailment or circumstance, but free to be yourself and loved just as you are. And, you and your friend will both feel a little less alone in this world.
What a beautiful gift we can give to one another.
(Image source: canstockphoto.com)