When my mom sent me the popular devotional, Jesus Calling, earlier this fall, I was grateful, but (to be honest) I didn't think much of it. I told myself I would open it daily upon waking up, and that I would do my best to let the words on the page and the Scripture included to start my day; make me better. As i'm sure you can imagine, that did not always happen. Sorry, Mom. ;)
If you know me well, you know that the last few years have been met with much despair, depression, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and confusion. My highs have felt, at best, mediocre, and my lows have been beyond any words I can, at the moment, string together. I'm not sure why talking about depression is such a taboo topic. According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, roughly 14.8 million American adults suffer from depression, and a majority of those are women. Depression feels like a falling in to a well and knowing that if you yell at the top of your lungs for help, no one will hear you. So what's the point?
If you have experienced any sort of emotional stressors, you can attest that they stop at nothing. Friendships, love, work, productivity, happiness, forgiveness... they are all at the mercy of this powerful, vast wave of paralyzation that is Depression. I am so lucky that I am surrounded by many people who did not let my obvious unhappiness affect their love for me, but I cannot say the same. I have truly been someone I do not recognize for a long, long time.
Slowly, but surely, over the last six months (or so), I have been climbing out of that well. It began with my transformation during the Beachbody Focus Group for CIZE, and has continued since. But, with no ladder, climbing out of said well feels, somewhat, like inching with your back to one wall and your feet pressed against the other. When you begin to see the sunlight grow, so does your hope for exit, but there's no guarantee that you won't get tired on the way up...or slip.
The things I have experienced over the last two years, I wouldn't wish on anyone, but I'm glad they happened because I have (thankfully) learned so, so, so, many life lessons about anger, emotion, kindness and, frankly, sanity. In my effort to return to 'normal,' I have done a lot of focusing on myself through journaling, diet, exercise, etc. It's amazing what placing energy in your own life, as opposed to focusing on others, can do for your well-being. I think I have always held generosity in the highest regard. People who are not generous with their time, energy, money and kindness, are low on my totem pole. However, I see now, more than ever, the importance of focusing on yourself and on God. That is the answer to whatever is ailing you. I feel like "Mallory" again; the version of myself I knew three years ago: motivated, forgiving, strong, happy, hungry, fierce ...unstoppable.
Today's devotional says:
Make Me the focal point of your search for security. In your private thoughts, you are still trying to order your world so that it is predictable and feels safe. Not only is this an impossible goal, but it is also counterproductive to spiritual growth. When your private world feels instead and you grip My hand for support, you are living in conscious depends on Me.
Instead of yearning for a problem-free life, rejoice that trouble can highlight your awareness of My Presence. In the darkness of adversity, you are able to see more clearly the radiance of My Face. Accept the value of problems in this life, considering them pure joy. Remember that you have an eternity of trouble-free living awaiting you in heaven.
This morning I woke up at 4:00 am, unable to go back to sleep, so I opened my devotional and began to seek guidance. Today's words spoke to me so profoundly that I began to cry (something I used to never do, but seem to be an expert on lately...it's amazing what allowing yourself to feel emotion can do). I'm continually in awe of what happens when you open your heart and mind to God and truly pray for direction. I mean, "Instead of yearning for problem-free life, rejoice that trouble can highlight your awareness of My Presence." Boom. A lot of removing yourself from Depression is re-wiring your thoughts...one by one. This morning I journaled that I vow to see the world from this focal point of positivity as often as possible. Will you? He does not give us anything we cannot handle. And if I have learned anything about myself, it is that I. will. prevail.
"So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine"
Until next time,