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Friday, February 10, 2012

If everyone else were doing it...

Photo credit here via ACH.
Much to the chagrin of my mama, I’ve always been a huge sucker for peer pressure. My search for significance has been a dichotomy of trying fit in and trying to stand out. If everyone else were doing it,  I was too.

That’s why God brought me to a crowd doing all the right stuff.

I was drawn to people who candidly shared their struggle with clinical depression. I drew courage from their testimonies of victory. Admitting my need for help has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

God’s girls have played a tremendous role in this step. My friend, Sandy, not only prayed for me, she candidly shared her own story. Author Renee Swope’s message in A Confident Heart has also played a huge role in my own brokenness and admission that I need medication to make it through each day. These ladies held me accountable until I had the courage to ask a doctor for help.

God has proved so faithful, good and trustworthy through this journey. The first medication my doctor prescribed was the one my friend actually told me I needed!

After starting antidepressants, I immediately noticed three changes:
1.     I woke up each day excited to get out of bed and live each day. Sleep used to be my favorite pastime.
2.     I felt hopeful again for the first time in many months. I didn’t even know I was hopeless until I felt hopeful.
3.     I suddenly noticed I no longer felt guilty. I used to think all my troubles whether relational, financial, emotional or spiritual were all due to my lack of faith. I tried to hear God, search His Word for wisdom and seek godly counsel, yet my life always seemed to end up in a tangled mess of failure. I daily confessed to God how sorry I was that I just didn’t seem to be able to hear Him clearly and obey Him completely.

These three changes gave me courage to believe the failures of my past do not determine the success of my future.

Still, I was more than a little peeved at God. I did not like this part of my story. I did not want very many people to know I needed to take medication. I didn’t even tell my husband until he quipped, “The girl I engaged has returned!”

I was a prideful mess unwilling to receive God’s message:
I could never walk in the fullness of God’s grace until I received the fullness of God’s love.

I have been a believer for 35 years. It has taken me 35 years of tiptoe-y baby-steps up the side of a rocky cliff stumbling in blingy flip flops and dragging a designer bag full of heavy burdens to reach the edge of the cliff and sneak a peek at the canyon.

Once I dared look down, the final step into the vastness of God’s love was not a timid, shaky, fearful sidestep. No! I threw down my purse, kicked off my shoes and did a giant swan dive into the abyss as God’s love completely overwhelmed me.

After all, everyone else is doing it.

And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:18-19

Please share a story about your own leap of faith.


Sonja said...

I'm so proud of you Lisa! The way we cover up our fears and personal emotions to protect ourselves, so often gets in the way of the very things we long for.

You have begun yet another chapter, and God is every bit as much the author of this one as the ones leading up to it.

Good going!


Kaye @House on Oak Street said...

Lisa, over the years I too have struggled with depression. I heard a pastor once say "Our goal is not to be free, Our goal is to be like Jesus!" . That made so much sense to me and I was able to accept the face that I did in fact need medication at the time to "be more like Jesus". I am always a little surprised that women that I know that take medication are constantly trying to get off of it! I trusted that He would let me know if and when I would be able to stop and He did! But it was after many years! I am so grateful that you are speaking out! Nobody needs to suffer from depression! There is help!

Renee Swope said...

LOVE your willingness to be so honest and real. From another girl who LOVES Jesus and needs a little extra help to balance my hormones and chemistry - I'm so glad you are set free!! Not only from the pride and shame but from the fog, the doubt, the confusion and the uncertainty.

God is using you so powerfully to lead others to Him for grace and truth!

Renee Swope said...

PS. I love you!!

Sandy @ God Speaks Today said...

Oh sweet girl...I read your post on Friday and then my weekend unraveled and I forgot to come back and comment. (thank you for praying, by the way)

It is my honor to share candidly my struggles with you. You are so precious to me. I am thankful that my crud is able to help people with their crud.

I am thankful we live in an era where depression doesn't have to be a death sentence or the final word on our emotional state. We have access to wonderful aids, from meds to supplements to counselors to trusted friends--God uses all of it to help us in our recovery and usher us toward wholeness.

I will always pray for you. You are my sister forever.

I love you.