In the past month I have experienced one of the biggest breakthrough in my life; a breakthrough that has helped me to overcome many spiritual misconceptions and mental struggles.
For the past 5 years, I have experienced a case of depression and it got worst after my son was born in 2014. I stayed home all the time and didn’t want to socialize with anybody. I didn’t enjoy doing any type of activity; life was full of worries and fear for me. Often I had suicidal thoughts and wished that life would have a switch on and off button – then I would have pressed the off button long time ago if I didn’t have to worry about the consequences. I would go before God and plea to Him for help many times in tears. Sometimes I felt encouraged and touched by His love for a short while. Other times, I felt like I was never good enough. I knew God was really good but I couldn’t seem to be able to respond to Him with what He deserved. I couldn’t get my body to work with my mind. I knew His love was unconditional, He would love me just the way I was. And there have been many times in my life that I was touched to tears by that. But after the experiences went away, the feeling of guilt came back. And it felt even worse.
It was like a vicious cycle and I couldn’t seem to be able to break it. I felt so hopeless. I wanted to love God with all my heart and all my might and embrace His commission, but I just couldn’t do it. I felt like a failure and every day I was not happy about it.
My doctor for the second time had referred me to see a psychiatrist. This time she insisted that I must go because I needed some serious help and possibly medication. And during that same week, sister Violin unexpectedly had a chat with me and I told her about my condition. And the conversation with her was the beginning of my eye opening experience. She shared with me something that completely changed my perspective. She said something like “Yes, you have depression, it’s ok. There are certain things in life you can’t get rid of, you just have to live with it.”
When I heard it, I was shocked. You mean I don’t need to do anything about my depression? But my doctor said I needed help, I needed to take medication. And Violin went on and mentioned Paul in the Bible how 3 times he asked the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh. But the Lord didn’t remove it for him and instead He said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) So whatever that thorn was that Paul had, he had to live with it because God didn’t remove it for him. But he didn’t complain, and instead he boast gladly of all his weaknesses so that the power of Christ can be shown on him.
I was extremely amazed by this truth in the Bible. I have read this so many times but I never understood it. I even misinterpreted it the wrong way and complained to the Lord, “Why didn’t You remove his thorn? Why do you have to let him suffer?” But the fact is Paul did not see that as suffering. He considered it great joy to overcome his weakness and to manifest God’s glory.
I realized all along I had been wrong. I always looked at my problems, my fears, my weaknesses, and my depression. And always tried to find ways to fix them. Why am I so depressed? What’s causing it? I want to overcome it, I want to be happy again, but the fact is I can’t overcome it, I have to live with it. But the most important thing is although I can’t get rid of it, I can lay it aside. I don’t need to deal with it. I don’t need to waste my energy on it. And I don’t need to beat myself down for not being able to get rid of it. In fact, I don’t even need to get rid of it. It made me the person I am today. It made me know that I am weak, I have many problems, but I have the Lord with me and because of Him, I can be strong again. My focus is not on myself anymore; my focus is on the Lord; how He appreciates me, how I can respond to His love and live a glorious life for Him and with Him.
After this realization, I was able to keep my mind focused through my daily tasks. I was never a person with a disciplined mind. I always let my feelings guide me and take over, which led to so much suffering in the past. Now my goal is clear. I need to set tasks for myself (ie. exercising, precious prayers, etc.) and to do them consistently. When the feelings come, I lay them aside. I basically don’t think too much and just get up and do my task. For the first 3 weeks I was able to exercise everyday (except Sundays because I was not home). Now, on days when I can’t exercise (ie. when I have to take my son out for activities) I learned how to adjust with my schedule and replace it with light stretching, walking or other types of tasks. It’s not about a fixed routine, it’s about not losing the important elements in my daily life. And these important elements will add up to train me into a stronger person and more fitted for His glorious plan.
I feel my everyday life is so abundant. So many chances I can respond to His love and pray to Him whenever and whatever I’m doing. I feel like this is how I should live my life. Though there may still be lots of improvements that I need to work on, I don’t worry about it. He will guide me. I just live joyfully for Him everyday. I feel so content that I can run after Him like this every day. And it’s not even about how much I can do for Him. In fact I’m not doing much at all. But I feel so close to Him.
I’m so thankful that the Lord has opened my spiritual eyes and revealed to me the real purpose of why I was created and what I am living for. I’m truly His creation of love and my life is for Him.