“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” - CS Lewis
On a particularly rough moment in my life, I sought a counselor whose one advise helped me climb out of the pit of depression. She said that I should, renew my thoughts daily.
"Start with positive affirmations," she said. "It doesn't have to be big and grand, maybe just that you will have Joy today."
And so I began my day with a short prayer that I would have Joy. It seemed simple enough but on days when it was hard to pull myself out of bed I thought - fake it till you make it!
And so I prayed, "Fill me with Joy, Lord." And I pushed through another day. Every day I prayed for Joy, I felt tensions releasing. Another day I survived a destructing habit, was a victory which filled me with hope.
The Lord's word says in Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
In the New Living Translation it says, "...let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
I knew that I was not intended to live a life of despair and I should be living a victorious life. But here I was writing morose poetry about being lost in the dark and realising that I was in the lowest possible time in life. It's just that hopeless feeling where you think this couldn't possibly get any worse and then you find new levels of low! It seemed never ending and there was no way out of the vicious cycle.
Christian's aren't exempted from depression. It happens. I'm glad I was equipped with the right tools for battle and I had friends who would encourage and nurture. I fought hard to pick myself up and even though I sought answers though the Bible, I was still left with hopelessness.
Reading Jeremiah 29:13 left me in tears when it says "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." I thought to myself, I have no strength to seek. I just haven't got the strength to do ANYTHING wholeheartedly. Does that mean He wouldn't come and find me instead?
I read something recently which I wish I had known then. The article was about Thomas' encounter with Jesus. 'Jesus didn't rebuke him for doubting. Rather, he gave Thomas what he needed. He invited Thomas to touch his wounds, and only then did Jesus tell him he could stop doubting.'
The article goes on to say that, 'The beauty of this is Thomas had an encounter with Jesus none of the other disciples did. Nowhere does Jesus condemn doubt, rather He meets people right where they are in it.'
He meets people right where they are in it. As you work out your faith. As you work out your unbelief.
He meets you right where you are.
I'm going to say that again... He meets you right where you are.
Where I am today is a little different from where I was in my early twenties. I'm no longer the disturbed, suicidal, melancholic youth I used to be. My good days outnumber the bad ones. And bad days don't last as long as they used to.
I've found that Joy I prayed for so fervently. I think about how my outlook on life and my attitude has a way of influencing others and I think about words that have power to build instead of words that destruct. And I look for little reminders to get me through the day.
Today's reminder came in another one of Bob Goff's interviews. Bob Goff said, “I think you’re a better advocate for yourself and others with some joy in your back pocket.”
So I think today, I'm packed and loaded and ready to roll.