The other day i was driving in my car and i thought to myself, “for the first time in my life, i finally feel normal.”
For those of you who have journeyed through life with me, you understand that this is a big deal. For as far back as i can remember, i remember feeling sad, angry, and frustrated all the time. Even as a child i remember not really being happy. I just assumed everyone felt this way.
Through elementary school, middle school and high school, i always seemed to have an angry attitude about me. Most of the time i was sad, and i remember trying to compensate that by trying to put things in my life that would make me temporarily happy- Dance, a boyfriend, having friends, always going out on the weekends, food. Eventually alcohol and maybe experimented with some pot. But those would eventually end. I remember I was easily frustrated, easily angered, and easily disappointed.
As i accepted Christ’s salvation and continued on to college, i started to realize that its not normal to be sad all the time, super angry, and have a horrible attitude about everything. I noticed i would cry a lot for no reason….which would make me cry more because i was confused since life was fine.
Thats when i realized i probably suffered from depression. I mean, come on…it runs on both sides of my family. The funny thing about realizing you have depression and deciding to take medication for it, is that its not very accepted in society, which makes me more depressed. We accept taking meds for inter-body issues like diabetes, or thyroid problems. But when it comes to chemical imbalances in the brain that cause sadness….all of a sudden your CrAzY!
I didnt care, i took the meds for 3 years. It helped. I saw a counselor about some inner issues and started feeling better. Not so much better that i felt “normal”. It was just enough to help me get through life and manage school and whatnot.
When you see a counselor who doesn’t really give a crap what happened to you because he cares more about your healing, you can work through your issues really quick. ”Stop playing the victim and throwing pitty parties for yourself” he would tell me. One time he told me, “you are too needy, thats your problem”. Yeesh. But i liked him. He cared about full healing. His philosophy was, “If you have to keep coming back to see me…..then im not doing my job.” He was hard on me, but i liked him, and i will always recommend him.
I eventually did work through my issues. I felt God say, “It is time to ween off of your meds and let Me heal the rest.” And i did just that about 3 years ago. Didnt feel “normal” per-se, but i was coping with life. I was fine. …….i was just……fine.
“where is this life to the fullest God?? Where is this unexplainable JOY you talk about? Im not necessarily depressed, anymore…but im not experiencing joy.”
A few months back i started falling in to depression again. Gosh, i was supper bummed becasue i was SO CONVINCED God had healed me. I finally got to a point where i told God that if He led me to go back on meds i would, but, i would rather wait for His healing if thats where He led.
“But Jesus, more then anything, more then money, a fixed nose, a big house, the right church, protection from desease – more then ANYTHING……please, i want Your joy. I will give anything to show your light though joy.”
I didnt really “hear” or “feel” Him say anything back, but, i got an impression in my heart that he would infact heal me, that he would infact give me unexplainable joy, but that it would be a fight.
So this is what i felt led to do:
- Be aware of the times i start to feel most sad, angry, depressed, irritable. I keep a close eye on my monthly cycle (sorry men who are reading this) as i know i get a little down in the dumps during that time, and irritable, and cranky, and angry and….
-Dont complain or be negative. Negativity is a breading ground for the demonic (is what i felt God say to me). Whenever i felt the urge to complain or be negative about something, i would instead find a reason to praise God for whatever it was that was bothering me. I am tempted to complain on facebook…so i made conscious decisions to try and only post positive things.
-Turn your car into a place of worship. I have about a 40 minute drive to work each way. I normally listen to Elvis Duran (which im NOT against). But i noticed the songs and what they talked about werent helping my issue. So i decided to take those 40 mins and worship my God and thank HIm for the new day head.
- Pray, Pray, Pray Pray, nuf said
- And of course, wash myself with Gods Word
I started doing this about 3 months ago. Just made these practices apart of my everyday routine. Last week my husband came up to me and said, “I wanted to tell you that you seem like a different person. I havent heard you complain in a long time, you seem so joyful and happy.” I realized that i DID feel like a different person. And that, without me even realizing it, i was feeling this unexplainable joy. This conversation caused me to reflect on the past 3 months. I realized that i have not been depressed in the past 3 months! i actually was SUPER joyful! It is as if my whole world is different- i now love my job (out of no where), love my life in cleveland (out of nowhere), and just simply love life (out of nowhere) I just feel…..finally…… normal!
Nonetheless, it was still a fight, and still is. You need to know, my circumstances have not changed. My life is still the same as it was 6 months ago, a year ago, 3 years ago. Nothing super awesome happened. What has changed is my attitude, my practices and (of course) letting God step in.
Today i was reading the book Crazy Love. Francsis Chan said this about Joy:
We tend to think of joy as something that ebbs and flows depending on life’s circumstances. But we don’t just lose joy, as though one day we have it and the next it’s gone, oh darn. Joy is something that we have to choose and then work for. Like the ability to run for an hour, it doesn’t come automatically. It needs cultivation….
….The bible teaches that true joy is formed in the midst of the difficut seasons of life….
… joy doesn’t depend on circumstances or environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that untimely comes from God.
For those of you who have stuck by me through thick and thin…thank you. To my wonderful husband Brett – you are going to have the hugest, most ginormous crown in heaven for putting up with me! JK. I love you babe. Thanks for always being patent, kind, and loving towards me in my weak times. Thanks for always encouraging me and speaking Gods grace over my life.