Saturday, August 26, 2017

Stand My Ground

This year has been a unique one for sure.  I have talked with so many people who are depressed and suicidal (mostly online).  There have been more suicides that I've heard this year in my area too.  There have been over 20 suicides in my state alone this year.  Two artists I grew up listening to also killed themselves - a couple months apart.  Suicide is something that affects me deeply - it might be because I've been there myself; feeling like there is no hope left.  Feeling like I'm a problem to everyone around me.  Being in that dark place that I can't seem to be able to escape.  But there IS hope!

Jesus doesn't see us as problems.  He knows we HAVE problems, everyone has them.  He knows our anguish.  He knows our deep pains.  He knows the darkness inside us.  You feel like you're drowning, but He is our rescuer!  He is our lifeguard!  Even if you've given up hope of ever recovering, He HASN'T and WON'T give up on you!

I was talking with a friend yesterday who's very depressed.  They said the the devil was attacking them because of social problems and loneliness.  They have very dark thoughts and are often caught inside their mind.  Even if the devil attacks us, we need to remember that our God is STRONGER and GREATER than the devil and our problems.  No matter how hopeless the situation may be, there is ALWAYS hope.  We have to STAND OUR GROUND and not let the enemy defeat us - even if the enemy is ourselves.  Do NOT give up!

Someone who struggled a lot with depression once said that inside their mind has a lot of darkness and they can't stay in in their mind by themselves for very long.  This is SO true - or at least it is for me.  Our mind's can be VERY dark - our thoughts can hurt us more than anything else if we let them.  If we isolate ourselves (which I will admit I do often), the only thoughts we really listen to are our own.  Our thoughts can be our worst critics!  So what do you do in that situation?  You rely on what people who care about you think about you.  You may think "I'm such a loser," when those who care about you say you're not.  I have a lot of darkness in me, even when I'm not depressed, I still think of suicide often, and if I stay in my head for very long it takes me to dark places I need to not go in.

 Recently I was looking back at my old blog entries and I'll admit, it took me to some dark places.  I always tried to include hope in my entries, but some of the struggles I had brought back painful memories (such as abuse I was going through).  I had to not give into those thoughts though.  I reflected on how far I've come since then.  I reflected on how Jesus has helped me recover since then.  It's been a tough recovery for sure.  There have been many times where I almost hurt myself in multiple ways.  It was just last year I almost tried to hang myself.  I actually broke a glass once (I think earlier this year) because I was going to cut myself.  I am not one without struggles.  We all have our battles, we all have our demons we have to fight on a DAILY basis; but I can tell you, there IS hope!  No matter how hopeless things may appear, there is always hope in getting through it.  We do not fight these battles alone!  Even if you feel alone, you're not.  There aren't very many people that I personally know who have had all the issues I've had (though don't get me wrong, I am in NO WAY saying I suffer more than anyone else.  I know my struggles are child's play compared to other people), and it can feel very lonely when there aren't people who can relate to your struggles.  But we're not alone!  Jesus understands our despair.  Isaiah 53 says He was a "man of sorrows."  Indeed, He did know great sorrow.  There are a number of places in the Gospels where He wept.  The shortest verse in the Bible is literally "Jesus wept."

He knows our anguish.  He knows our hopelessness.  He knows our fears.  He knows our loneliness.  He actually cried out "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  Is that ever your cry?  Do you ever feel like God has turned His back on you?  I know for myself, there have been times where I've been ready to rip my hair out and I fall on my arthritic knees and in my tears just cry out "Where are you?  Why aren't you helping me?  Why have you forsaken me?"  Sometimes I wish I had no struggles (though who hasn't wished that?).  I would rather be some puppet than someone with free will.  Ask Nick, I hate making decisions for myself!  I would rather someone else make them for me because I don't want to suffer the consequences of whatever choice I choose.  You know what though?  Our experiences help us grow as people.  If we didn't have them, we wouldn't be human - we'd be robots.  Our struggles shape us into stronger people.

Whether it's the darkness in your mind or the devil is attacking you, you have to stand your ground.  You are literally fighting for your life!  This is an internal war that no one else can fight for you.  People can help, but they can only help so much.  They can't go inside your mind (which the image of that, that comes in mind is the Magic School Bus - can't you imagine Ms. Frizzle going inside your mind?) and fight for you.  They can pray for you, they can support you, they can give you advice, but the only one who can truly fight these battles is YOU.  But you're not alone.  Jesus fights them with us!  In your deep anguish, cling to His feet - He will not let you down.  That doesn't mean things will go away immediately.  They may even go on for the rest of your life!  But He gives you the strength to keep going.  So don't give up!  Keep fighting!

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