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Winning the War of Depression

Huddled on the floor in a heap of despair, I wondered if I’d figure out how to live my own life. 

Gazing at my baby girl, I felt like a failure. I was overwhelmed, depressed, and uncertain I was cut out for this life I was living. 

It’s not that I didn’t love my life. I loved my husband, and I knew my two precious children were a gift. But was I a gift to them? This wife/mom, who consistently felt defeated in every area of life wondered what I had to offer. My sad feelings consumed me like the dark on a moonless night. I had no idea how to overcome the sense of dread looming in the pit of my stomach, and I did not understand why it lingered day after day. How could I gaze on my beautiful daughter and feel sad?

I fought my sadness like a boxer in a boxing ring. “I shouldn’t feel this way.” “Maybe if I do this or that, I’ll feel better.” “Maybe things will improve if I start exercising and completely change my life.” I firmly gripped those boxing gloves on my fists as I plotted out plans to fix myself. 

The fighter in me was not bad, yet when I fought against myself and my sadness, it was like taking blows in my face with my gloves.

Trying harder was the only method I knew, and each time I failed, I fell deeper into sadness after beating myself up incessantly.

Eventually, we lose hope after endless try-and-fail cycles. Believing the lie that we are the problem, something is wrong with us, and we’re not equipped for our life. 

Yet, I yearned for more.

I yearned for more than survival in my life. I watched family members survive (barely make it) my whole life. I hated the idea of my marriage and my family living in constant survival mode. I hated the idea of barely making it financially (living paycheck to paycheck). I hated the idea of never believing that dreams were possible. Yet, that’s all I’d known, and I had no idea how to get unstuck. That’s where depression settled in like a heavy, immovable rock in the pit of my stomach.

Inevitably, I hit rock bottom, and I knew a change had to occur. Yet, my life could not look the way it had in the past. I could not overhaul it on my own. If I did not find a way out of the struggle, the sadness and melancholic state would consume me. 

This rock bottom was a gift because there was only one direction to go. I was already at the bottom, so slowly climbing out of the pit was my only choice. 

The first step was to stop fighting against myself. Stop fighting the sadness. Stop fighting my personality (which is introspective and melancholic), stop fighting perfectionistic expectations, and relinquish the way I believe everything should look. 

My depression lingered because I was carrying the weight of the world on my young mom shoulders, terrified of my emotions. 

Isaiah 41:10 states, “so do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

What I learned in my desperate state was I feared my feelings, my sadness, and my depression. In that fear, I claimed and owned those emotions for my life. 

With acknowledgment, acceptance of my sadness, and release of perfection, I became less afraid of my emotions. Turning over these emotions to God, I could feel them rather than fear them. 

Solely by the grace of God, I was strengthened one step at a time. Slowly, steadily, and imperfectly, I began to heal. Reluctantly, I cried real tears instead of hiding them, I journaled through perfection, and I embraced my personality versus assuming something was wrong with me. 

I joined a gym and began jogging because the physical baby steps were another form of movement toward healing my deep inner sadness and sense of failure. Even though I didn’t realize it, God was guiding my steps and building my relationship with him as I practiced accepting myself through journaling and caring for my physical body. 

Eventually, applying baby steps to each area of my life, I slowly began to change internally. Seeing small amounts of progress snowballed into belief in myself and in God bit by bit.

You see, often, we assume we need to overhaul our whole lives. We endlessly beat ourselves up because we don’t have a prayer life, we don’t exercise, or our relationships are in shambles. This keeps us stuck in the vicious cycle of defeat. 

We must take one step in hope, celebrate, and let go. God has the big picture, and we can trust him with our lives. 

We don’t need to read the whole Bible. We need to read a scripture today and say a prayer. We don’t need to run a marathon today. We can start with 5 or 10-minute blocks (we can start by lacing up our tennis shoes). We don’t need to overhaul our relationships today. We can start with one smile and one word of kindness. We can schedule one event on our calendar. 

Anytime we set out to do anything new, even if we take small steps, we will experience resistance. Satan expects us to remain stuck. If the baby has a blowout right before date night, change the baby's diaper and continue. It is not a sign that you’re not supposed to date your husband.

When you commit your tiny steps to God, you will find him in the tiniest ways. He will heal you of lingering sadness. 

Depression is all-consuming, yet bit by bit, we can allow God into the hard places of our lives. He longs for us to have life and have it abundantly. 

Huddled on the floor, regularly sad, and fighting against myself and my emotions is not what God desires for me or for you. He desires us to live our own lives and live full of hope. He promises his strength and help for the journey. Be not dismayed, my friend. 

How is God walking you through sadness?


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