More Of My Book: Mending (+ free wallpaper!)

More of My Book_ Mending

Happy Tuesday, lovely readers. I hope you’ve had a wonderful week.

Tuesday always creeps up on me and I almost forgot to post. But I suppose I didn’t, since I’m here now.

 

I was inspired this week by one of Ann Voskamp’s blog posts. It made me cry (in a good way), and I highly recommend reading it. Her writing is exquisite.

 

Anyway, I wanted to share the final segment of chapter one of my book. I’m at 13k right now, and because April so far has just been chaotic and impossible, I’ve brought my goal down to 20k. That doesn’t mean anything significant – it just means I’ll be writing at a more manageable pace.

 

My book is turning out to be different than I imagined, but I’m really happy with it. And my cabin mates – Hannah, Jonathan, Hann, Jessi, Anna, Rachel, another Anna, and a few others still – are some of the most encouraging people I’ve met. I’ve accomplished more than I ever would’ve without the encouragement.

 

Today’s segment is on depression. Sound depressing? Maybe. It’s a tough topic. But instead of giving us the excuse to wade neck-high in self pity over our feelings, I want us to find hope in the truth that we have to hold onto.

 

Enjoy!

 

The word depression used to frighten me. I thought of teenagers sitting alone in their rooms, wearing all black, blasting rock music, and choosing not to be happy. It was always a touchy subject in my mind, and a bit intimidating.

But then I experienced depression of my own and my entire perspective changed.

Contrary to popular belief, depression is not a bad word, nor is it entirely a bad thing. We shouldn’t act as though topics such as depression should be avoided; rather, we should confront the problems we have without shame.

The problems arise when we allow our depression to control us. Bad things happen when we let our minds wander much too far, when we allow ourselves to think such negative, distorted thoughts, and when we trade God’s truths for our feelings.

And as much as depression has become such a cultural norm, and it should not be brushed under the rug as “a ploy for attention,” we need to face it and learn how not to be consumed by it.

 

What is Depression? Can Christians Be Depressed?

 

As I’ve said before, I have nowhere near all the answers. I’m not a professional. I’m just a girl wanting to share what I’ve experienced and what I’m learning in my crazy life, and the things that have immensely helped me.

I know that depression can have multiple forms, none of which should be taken lightly.

Whether your depression is medical, clinical, or emotional, it hurts. I know it does. It hurts to feel empty. It hurts to feel like nothing matters. It hurts to feel constantly weighted by a seemingly unshakable dark cloud. It hurts, because depression is a fog, and you can’t see anything in front of you except the inky blackness. All that’s visible is the here and now, which can seem to be so overwhelming when everything feels utterly hopeless.

People often attempt to say that Christians can’t suffer from depression for the simple reason that our lives should be in total order once we’re saved. Or, that being depressed is a sin or a petty feeling and we should just get over it.

I highly disagree.

Instead, I’d say this. Christians often suffer from depression, and torture themselves over it because they believe they shouldn’t feel the pain or numbness. This only leads to feeling worse, because you can’t just whip yourself out of a mindset or condition – especially one that’s not even a spiritual problem in the first place. Healing is a process. If it’s medical or clinical depression, a person will need medical attention, and not just lectures from someone ordering them to “snap out of it.” Similarly, those with emotional depression will need time to heal. Time to rebuild the joy in their hearts. No amount of sermons, books, blog posts, lectures, or conversations can heal a tormented soul – only God can.

 

Is There Anything I Can Do About My Depression?

 

What sets us apart from the rest of the world is the fact that we have a hope to hold onto. We know that God will hold us up when our weakness is the greatest. We know that God cares for us and loves us unconditionally. We know that in our Lord, we can find true rest. We know that God’s presence is with us always. We know that in our lowest times, God still reaches us. We know that even when life is full of torment, God loves us and wants us to rely on Him for strength.

Hearing those things doesn’t make everything instantly feel better; of course it doesn’t. It may take years to grasp those concepts, even the ones found in the verses we memorized as kids. In the middle of our depression, those truths, while comforting, may seem distant or not applicable to us. This is normal. We’ve trained our minds to think things contrary to truth, and it’s only natural for it to take time for us to come back to what’s right and good.

Nevertheless, we must keep feeding our minds with what the Bible says. Thinking the thoughts that God says about us. Reading the Scriptures over and over. Praying for God to bring us through. Meditating on verses that remind us that God has a plan through it all. Believing God for the strength and peace He promises.

And while none of these things are magic, they help. And slowly, with the proper approach and by filling our minds with truth, we can begin to mend.

 

*aj

 

Still reading? Enjoy a free wallpaper!

mend wallpaper

Lead Me When I’m Blind

Rocks and Waterfall

Do you ever just feel blind?

Sometimes I feel really blind. And… I feel like I’m lost.

Or alone.

Or afraid, because I’m dancing really close to the edge of a cliff.

Or I’m fighting for my life, blindfolded, in a gladiatorial arena. (Um… never mind.)

Sometimes I feel like my life is a mystery. Like what, I’m going to have to figure out what to do? On my own? By myself? I’m going to have to guess how to live my life, and hopefully not mess up? That’s sure what it feels like sometimes.

I feel inadequate. Do you want to know why?

I feel inadequate because I am inadequate.

By myself, I am exactly how I feel. I am blind. Lost. Alone. Afraid (and rightly so). Fighting blindfolded.

I’m never gonna make it anywhere in this life if I try to do life by myself. See, we were made for more. God made us to love Him, glorify Him, and live for Him. In doing these things, we are satisfied in Him.

He has a plan for us all. No matter what we are going through, He is with us. By our side. Fighting for us. He is our Father.

We are blind, but He is leading us. And that’s really hard for me, because I’m a visual person. I want to see it to believe it. Don’t just tell me, show me! But God doesn’t always work like that.

There’s a few verses that have really encouraged me when I feel blind.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

 

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Isaiah 42:16

And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”

 

I’m learning more and more to trust God with everything. He has a good plan for us. No matter how powerless and insecure we feel being blind, God really is leading us. He works out our lives for good, no matter how hard and horrible it may seem. Our understanding is flawed, but His is perfect. He straightens our paths. He guides us in paths we have not known. He does not ever forsake us. And He is always with us.

It’s so hard to wrap my mind around.

I mean, I’m not speaking from a bubble in happiness land. No, I’m right here, and life is hard.

It is extremely hard to trust God.

But once we give up trying to be the leaders and orchestrating our own lives, and give God the keys, it’s wonderful. Nothing we do can be done by ourselves alone.

It is God who empowers us to do the things He has planned for us, and not just what we can humanly do.

So maybe being blind is okay.

By letting God lead us, we will be so much better off.

He knows the plans He has for us. Plans for welfare and not for evil. Plans to give us a future, and a hope.

We can be strong and courageous because He is with us.

He will never leave; He is always going to be right here.

He guides us in paths we do not know.

We need Him more than ever, and He wants us to lean on Him.

God, please lead me when I’m blind.

*aj