when I am weak, then I am strong
I've struggled with depression and anxiety for some time now. It started in the teen years but it really hit hard after Liam was born. The postpartum depression I experienced felt like a wave crashing down on all my motherhood dreams. Instead of reveling in my new role as a mom I retreated inside of myself unsure of how to even deal with life. I'm still feeling the ramifications of that period of my life today.
Here's the thing about my depression...I've never given into it. I know that sounds weird. Why would I give in to depression? What does that even mean? Is this a cry for help? Not really, but kind of.
I think most of us struggle with projecting a certain image of ourselves, especially Christians. We know about grace but we still want the world to think we have all our stuff together. We share perfect-looking instagram posts and tell everyone we're fine when they ask how we're doing. Instead of sharing our struggles and an ugly cry with a trusted friend we indulge in retail therapy...and maybe a bit of ice cream therapy as well. C'mon, I know I'm not the only one. But why? We know better! I know better! I have a master's in Biblical Counseling and still one of my biggest struggles is receiving counseling during times of trouble. I have an incredibly hard time telling people that I'm struggling. Even my own husband barely realizes when I am feeling all the feelings because I just can't get them out. I can't say out loud that I need help.
And here's the other thing, I keep lamenting about my struggles and weaknesses. I keep telling myself, "Be stronger! What is wrong with you? Why must you be so weak? Why do you struggle with the same things day after day, year after year? Can't you just change already?! People are going to start wondering about you." I have prayed and prayed for God to change me and take away my anxious, obsessive, depressive thoughts. The rational side of my brain has reminded me of the countless abundant blessings in my life...but I just can't shake it. Yes, I have improved greatly but it's still there, it's always there.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 grabs me by the face and forces me to pay attention. Paul says, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
It's okay. It's okay this this is my struggle. It's okay that God doesn't make the depression and anxiety magically vanish. Instead of fighting my weaknesses I need to find a way to let God display is awesome strength through them. That's real faith. It's not about being perfect and having no more struggles - that will only happen when Jesus comes back. It's about embracing your weaknesses and allowing God to carry you through the pain. It's about trusting in Him more and more. It's about finding true joy and contentment in Christ and not in your circumstances.
I realized the other day, I mean really realized, that it doesn't matter where I live or who is in my life or what I do for a living...if I'm not running after Christ and looking to Him for my satisfaction I will never be happy. I want to do that. I want to be happy living in a cave, as long as I have Jesus.
I know these things in my head, but I want to know them in my heart and in my spirit. I'm praying for radical faith. I'm praying for the Holy Spirit to really show up. And I'm praying for myself. I'm praying that instead of fighting my weaknesses I will allow God's strength to shine through. For nothing will be impossible with God.