When I started writing on Fighting Fear , one of the first people I asked is my friend, Kristi. I have only known Kristi for a year and a half, but I cannot imagine life without her. She has become one of my dearest friends. The one thing I love about Kristi is how quick she is to listen, and to speak truth. Not only do we share the same name, but we both are Pastor’s kids. We both have been Personal Assistants, and share similar ups and downs. It is honestly a joy to have a friend like Kristi. It was during one my hardest seasons that God allowed Kristi and I to meet. If every dark season brought a friend like Kristi, I have little to complain about. Thank you, Kristi, for sharing your heart with us today!
Depression is like a cancer to your soul, one that comes like a thief in the night. It steals all joy and light in its path, leaving behind a complete and utter darkness that embodies your very being.
In my very dark and lonely season, I was experiencing a world of confusion. On the outside, my life was full, filled with beauty, and people who loved me. On the inside it was like my soul was raging war against my mind, breading lies into the deepest part of my soul. “You’re worthless ” it spoke. “No one sees you” it whispered.
The voices without became drowned by the voices within. I could no longer hear the messages that spoke life into my soul, I could only feel a voice within, beckoning me to believe that my life was worthless and void of purpose.
I didn’t choose depression. I never thought a woman who loved God with all of her heart could struggle with such a dark and deep “thing”. I didn’t even know what to name it at the time. I struggled to believe I was facing depression until I went to my doctor and licensed therapist. I was diagnosed with major Depressive Disorder. I took the diagnosis as it was my new identity and wore it like a jacket. Each feeling I felt in the carousel of negativity, circling around me, I began to wear it like an article of clothing. It felt heavy. Every day I woke up, I chose to put on those same articles of clothing, until one day I realize how much weight I was carrying.
I allowed myself to sit in a state of depression for so long that I eventually believed that’s how I would always be. Medicine scared me, the therapists made me face my worst fears head on and the people around me didn’t understand. I felt trapped… totally and completely alone. The worst part about it all was that no matter where I went, it was there too. I was stuck with this deep voice that rang loud in my spirit of worthlessness. My pillow became my daily resting place to cry and moan, yell and groan. I needed help, I longed to be saved, and I only had one place to go… my room.
One early morning while the sun was still coming up and the light streamed through the curtains in the window, seeming to dance on the walls in my room. The light was radiant, bright and almost appeared to be glowing. For the months leading up to this morning I had hibernated in the darkness of my room after work and classes. I found safety in what seemed like shadows and dim lit places. I hadn’t yet realized that I was entertaining the light dancing across the walls because it seemed so majestic and brilliant. The more I sat there watching the light, the more I became intrigued at how it moved across my room. I felt a breeze move through my room suddenly. I quickly glanced over to the window to see if I had left it open. To my surprise, it was closed. I felt it again. I turned to the other side as if I had felt it brush against my back. Again, there was nothing.
Then, there in that moment, I heard him speak. “Out of the ashes and the dust you will rise, my daughter”. It was as clear as day, the voice of God rang out in my room and I audibly heard Him speak into my very soul. I fell to the floor and cried out to the Lord, who I thought had long forgotten me. He spoke again. “Awake, oh soul. I AM your victory. I AM yours and you are mine”. It was there that God spoke life into my being. It was as though He was speaking life into my depression. I felt the weight and burden and voices lift off me, and at the very same moment felt a surge of joy and peace, and renewal enter my body. Christ had redeemed me once again. He stepped in rescuing me out of the mud and the mire, and releasing me from the snare that so closely entangled my very existence. Freedom rang loud in my soul that day.
The enemy is cruel isn’t he? He thinks of himself as powerful and crafty and has a soul purpose of devouring any lovely, joyful, happy Christian. I mean, how dare he mess with me for two years!
Fighting depression is a lot like fighting a shark when fishing. When at first the shark bites the bait on the end of your line, it runs, and I mean hard. If you’re not in good shape or workout you can forget it and call it a day! He will give you a serious run for your money, and you won’t get it back. You’ll likely get dragged into the ocean and eaten alive. Okay that’s a bit dramatic, but go with me here for just a minute.
It’s not a matter of if, but when the enemy will show up. If you’re not ready, conditioned and alert, you too will be dragged out and enticed (not literally eaten, don’t worry). When shark fishing, you can almost guarantee that every shark has about 4 to 5 minute run in them until they finally tire out.
Let me break this down for you even more. The enemy is so devious. He will come at you every which way and doesn’t tire easily, so you have to be prepared to fight through at least a few runs before you can be sure he is long tired out and has decided not to mess with you anymore. Do you think if you had to reel in a 6-foot Black Tip shark today that your body is well conditioned to handle it? Well, you don’t have to worry right now if you haven’t made it to the gym in the last couple of months. The type of conditioning I’m talking about right now is spiritual.
It’s often the battle over your mind that the enemy will target first. Once he has you where he wants you, he will then target your inner core by trying to get you to believe the lies are rooted deep in who YOU are as a person. It’s all rubbish! The enemy can’t win! God is more victorious and will deliver me! These are things I hoped to believe after I was redeemed out of the pit of darkness and depression. I quickly learned that I couldn’t just stop there. This wasn’t a one shark kind of fight. I soon realized that if I was going to do this Christian life well, that I needed to be better spiritually conditioned and on guard for the next time.
For months after I feared I wouldn’t be ready or even strong enough to combat the enemy once again. I was tempted to run and hide all over again and thought maybe the shadow thing would be better. It would maybe be easier to just hide! I was so totally and completely wrong. The life God intended me to live and the one He is beckoning you to live is one that is FULL of life! I decided that no matter how many runs the enemy would try to make in my life that I wanted to be ready and totally capable to ward off his crazy nonsense. I wanted to be fully armed for the next time he would make his attack on my life. So, I did what I knew God was asking me to do. I got serious about knowing and speaking out God’s truths. I mean, I would daily walk around speaking out scripture. Sometimes I looked like I was talking to myself and I’m sure some people thought I was crazy.
You need to take every thought captive and immediately release it to Him who breathes truth and life so He can replace and renew your thought life. Lastly, just like when shark fishing how you need at least a partner or three to help you reel in the wild beast of an animal and bring it on shore, you’ll be needing the same in this game.
It’s time we come together and join forces. We are only so powerful and effective alone, so we need to round up some of our most trusted, loyal, and truth-speaking friends. Invite them on the journey with you. Doing life together will be one of them most powerful and life giving decisions you can ever make! I choose three girlfriends who I knew could battle the storms with me and who I could equally influence as well. Together we decided it was time to take a stand and live the life that God called us to, living like the fearfully and wonderfully made prized daughter of the one true King!
Song of the Week: Not Backing Down, by Blanca