I have put in a lifetime of work accepting myself. It has been a constant battle with my own negative self-talk: you’re a fraud, you’ll never be good enough, you don’t belong here, you’re worthless, and so on. I have only really been good at replacing those lies with God’s truth in the last few years by focusing in on His word and listening – really listening – for His voice in my life. He has placed a calling on me and I am listening.
I have said this before, but one of my favourite people in The Bible is David. He is my go-to guy for when I am feeling like a screw-up. Man, that guy knew how to worship God like no other. Never caring what others were concerned with, David put everything he had into his worship: “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14). Now I don’t know exactly what a linen ephod is, so I googled it. The internet tells me that it is anything from a loincloth to a man-nighty. Either way, it’s not something you wear to street dance. Maybe it’s my inner entertainer speaking, but THIS is how I want to worship: to truly not-care-what-people-are-thinking-because-Jesus-is-awesome-and-that’s-that and let ‘er rip. This is the level I want to be at.
But I am socially awkward and hyper and go through bouts of depression and torture myself with my own thoughts sometimes.
And I fall.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12
Depression and I have been on good terms for a while, and I have been able to focus on what is true in my life. I am involved, I push through isolating myself, I volunteer in ways that I feel freedom. I have been able to fully rely on God to bring me to this calling He has placed on me. In the grand scheme of things, I am doing pretty good. And that is where the attack starts.
I began thinking I was okay; I was standing firm with no protection from a fall. Just recently, the fall began. I started quietly second-guessing the actions of the people closest to me (but I could get through it by myself – it wasn’t serious). I was feeling perturbed by negative comments (but I could talk myself through them; no big deal). I started worrying about what others thought of me (but I could shake it off – I’m stronger than that). My focus was slowly shifting from my creator and saviour to myself, and ultimately, my pride.
Then, as if blindsided, it happened. An innocent remark about something that shouldn’t have mattered. And that’s when the darkness pounced. It invaded my thoughts and set up camp, wreaking havoc on the truths that God had set out before me. My David-esque approach to life was stalled – or better yet – starting to wane and wither away.
And I fell.
It was nothing short of that feeling when someone sneaks up and pushes you into the deep end of the pool. Except there’s seemingly no bottom. I never saw it coming. Except that I did. I was making microsteps away from the hard work: I still had the desire to do the good work, but I was looking to myself for the bigger picture, not God.
For it is God who works in you to will and act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
So now what? I have stumbled a bit in my walk. I have some things that I still need to work on – my pride was the problem in this story. Now I need to stand back up, dust off, and get back to what God has asked me to do.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
It’s not a smooth road; there are plenty of obstacles along the way. I have started making small changes that I can handle right now: mostly self-care at the moment. When I can celebrate progress, I will move on. I do know one thing: relying on God’s truth will pull me out of this deep end. But only if I let it.
Let the word of God dwell in you richly. Colossians 3:16a