Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
Hebrews 2:14-15 (NASB)
I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t afraid. And not in the normal little kid sense of the term, where you’re afraid of things everyone ought to be afraid of. Since I was very young I have struggled with anxiety in a way that has been debilitating at times, and nearly always focused on my overwhelming fear of death. As I grew up, my fears multiplied exponentially, branching out to the fear of loss of control, fear of failure, fear of being alone, fear of (fill in the blank because if you can be afraid of it, I probably have been or am currently).
I was raised in a Christian home and in a loving church, accepted Jesus as my Savior at 8 years old, and rededicated my life to Him in earnest at age 13. I knew what Heaven was supposed to be like, knew that Jesus was the Prince of Peace, could recite all the Bible verses about casting your cares, etc…Unfortunately, none of that could ease my mind one iota. Four years in a Bible college, a degree in ministry, and marriage to a pastor didn’t take the fear away, either.
One of my main goals with this blog is to be able to address the very flawed perception Christians have of anxiety and depression and the many forms that they take. I spent years living under the assumption that I was doing something wrong because it wasn’t going away. I must not have enough faith, I must not pray enough, I must not really be saved, I must not be doing enough. THE WORD “ENOUGH” IS A WOMAN’S WORST ENEMY. (But that’s a post for another day.)
I was 21 years old, a junior in college in the middle of completing a ministry degree and a counseling psychology minor, and literally falling apart before everyone’s eyes before I sought the help I desperately needed. Even then, it took me months to admit to myself that I wasn’t a failure for having to ask for it. People in helping professions have a terribly difficult time admitting they are the ones in need. I would sit in my therapy sessions and apologize to the counselor the whole time for “being such a mess.”
I still struggle with my anxiety on a daily basis (and thankfully much less so with depression), but I refuse to continue to be silent and ashamed of it. Jesus Christ didn’t just die for my sins to be forgiven–HE DIED TO SAVE ME FROM MYSELF. And He keeps rescuing me every day, because, like Paul with his “thorn in the flesh”, I fully believe that this is something I will struggle with every day for the rest of my life so that I can live out the Lord’s grace being sufficient for me, FOR HIS POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS.
It’s time to take the mask off, and to empower others to do the same, especially in our churches. Thank you all for the amazing amount of support you’ve given me in starting to share through this blog. I never, ever would have imagined it would be received the way it has been, and I am just overcome with gratitude. May the Lord, not me, be glorified in every word of it.