I’ve shared that I struggled with a good dose of anxiety and depression as a young adult. It is something I don’t discuss often, because I don’t like looking backwards, and it can be embarrassing. I am also terrified that I’ll experience it again if I normalize my flaws. But the reality is that the more I talk about it, the less power it has over me. It shows that my “inner demons” are powerless, because I am not afraid of their imagined control over my thoughts and actions. It also allows me the opportunity to show my humanity, the chinks in my armor, and my imperfections. Ironically, as I share my struggles with others, not only does it help them, but it helps me process my thoughts and feelings outside of me. It allows me to see them as separate from me and that although they affect me, they are not me.
When I’ve wondered why I deal with mental illness, I can get petty, blame God, and become angry. On the other hand, I’ve had glimpses of myself without struggle. I quickly become very arrogant and self-centered. No matter how many years I’ve struggled, I tend to quickly forget my own suffering and wonder why others are still struggling. Then I remember Paul and the thorn in his flesh. Although I cannot begin to compare my struggles to Paul’s, I realize that sometimes Christ leaves us with certain scars and struggles as our stamp of humanity. This helps us remember that during our short span on earth our mission is to be a living example of Christ and His love.
When I am on an “up” in life, I forget my mission, my purpose, and my reason, and I quickly forget who gave me all life and attributes. So, I thank Him for my struggles, because they remind me of my need for His daily guidance. I know that if life was easy, I’d likely not seek His guidance and gradually slide back into the abyss of depression and isolation, because I wouldn’t see a need for the people around me either.
So my struggles guide me, they direct me, and they give me purpose among fellow warriors fighting to keep His light shining for all men to see Him on earth as He commands in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” For He wouldn’t give us struggle without a reason. He is a loving father that wants to tell us, “. . . Well done, good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things. I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Like any loving parent, He will give us what we need to succeed. (Matthew 25:21,23).
If you are struggling to hold onto the peace the Christ promises, find one person you trust. Find one person that you know will respect your privacy and not shame you for having flaws. Discuss your fears, your worries, and how you want to change. I think you’ll be surprised that even if they do not know what to do, they can at least be a shoulder to cry on and walk forward with. You may even realize they have fears as well.
I leave you with Christ’s response to Paul asking that the thorn in his flesh be removed. Paul concluded that he’d rather have Christ than to live without the thorn in his flesh.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you. For My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
As always, we pray that you continue your walk with Christ at your side, and let us know when you need encouragement.
— Written by Kati
The picture is Kati & her top 5 reasons to keep fighting. Yes, at 12 & 13 years old, the kiddos begin to outgrow Kati.