Happy Saturday! We had a wild a crazy last few weeks as we had a very special one year old birthday party (which I cannot wait to post about!) and we had family in town. I feel like I have been a little MIA from life in general! I am finally getting my bearings back, and Trice and I are making a plan for the rest of the year. Have you noticed that when you don't plan out your days, you end up sort of all over the place? That's why I feel like it is so important to have goals that you set for yourself and your family each day, week, month and year. But we are terrible at this. So we are setting a goal to be better at setting goals... Wish us luck! Ha ha.
Today I wanted to share a post that is very special to me. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to do a 6-week leadership training class called WILD. In that class, we were given the assignment that at the end of the 6 weeks, we had to do a 5-minute project. The catch? The project could be anything. You could bake cookies, sing a song, do a dance, write a paper, give a sermon... anything that the Holy Spirit was leading you to do was fair game. My first thought was, "Dear Jesus I need a paper bag," because I don't do well with instructions like that. I need a clear and concise set of instructions to make sure I am doing everything right.
But God is good, and it ended up being a neat opportunity for me to seek Him and let His Holy Spirit lead me into the project I was supposed to do. And I wanted to share that project with you! I did a 5-minute presentation on overcoming depression. As you may have seen me write about before, depression was a struggle of mine for many many years. And I believe that over the last few weeks God finally set me free from the struggle.
At the forefront of the discussion, I want to say that I am not negating the physical components to depression. I am not saying for someone to read this post and then quit their depression meds cold turkey. There are physical components and chemicals and hormones that can be involved that are tricky little things. But what I am saying, is that it is so freeing to approach the battle with a victor mindset rather than with a defeated mindset. What I am saying is that there is HOPE. I want to be a voice of encouragement in a world that says you are doomed to your diagnosis. I still have my bad days because life is a roller coaster that brings about highs and lows. And some days, life just plain stinks! But now I feel like I have the CHOICE to respond in a positive way. I hope that makes sense to you. And I hope God uses what He taught me to bring freedom to someone else today. CHOOSE JOY!
"I Am An Overcomer"
I am an overcomer. I am free. I am healed. I am whole. I am redeemed. I am victorious!
There are two types of Christians who are living in our world today. There are those who are living in freedom, and there are those who are living in bondage. I have been one of the ones living in bondage.
Depression runs in my family, so it is no surprise that I started buying into its lies from a very young age. I was bullied all throughout elementary school, I didn't have many friends, and I had an awful gap in my teeth that made me feel ugly. Instead of guarding myself from the lies of depression, I allowed them to become truth in my life. I didn't realize I had a choice regarding the matter.
I gave my life to Christ at a young age. I studied the Word. I worshiped God with heart and soul. I served in leadership positions. But still, under every smile was a twinge of sadness. I was saved but still living in bondage to depression.
What I needed was a revelation. What I needed was a Word from God that would realign my thinking with the truth. You see, depression, fear, anxiety, worry and insecurity are all rooted in lies. But one Word of truth from God can expel those things from your life in an instant.
One of the lies I believed was that because I was genetically predisposed to depression, it would be something I would struggle with for the rest of my life. But according to 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun." At salvation, we got a new genetic code and a new spiritual DNA. Strands that used to read "negativity, depression, worry, fear, anxiety and insecurity" were replaced with strands that read "freedom, joy, love, victory, overcoming, redemption, wholeness and healing." The genetic strands that may have made me more susceptible to depression were replaced with new spiritual DNA that makes me victorious. I died to my old self and became a NEW creation in God. I am now an overcomer by design. We are all overcomers by design.
Another lie I believed is that God 'could' heal me of depression if He 'wanted' too, but He probably would allow it to be a thorn in my side so I would always cling to Him. I saw other people receiving breakthrough and never really believed God would do that for me as well. What I didn't realize all those years is that God already healed me of depression! When Jesus died and rose again over 2000 years ago, He claimed victory over depression. And because I am a coheir with Christ, I can claim victory as well! God has shown me that it's my choice. I can choose to believe that I am weak against depression and allow darkness to run my life, or I can choose to renew my mind, accept God's victory over depression for my own life and live with JOY. God has no favorites. What He does for one He can do for another. And today I choose to accept His victory for my own life as well! What an empowering revelation!
The last lie I believed is that depression was a direct attack from the Enemy. But God showed me that for my life, depression was not an attack from the Enemy, but rather depression was how I chose to respond to tough times and hard situations. We have to stop giving the Enemy so much power and so much credit for our hopelessness. Yes, there are times when the Enemy attacks us, but a lot of our hardship just comes as a result of living in a fallen world. And a lot of times we may not be able to control our circumstances or choose the battles that come into our lives. But we ALWAYS have the choice to respond with joy or with depression. James 1:2 says, "Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy." This is why two people can have cancer, and one can be filled with joy while the other is filled with anger and depression. This is why a child living in poverty can have nothing yet be filled with joy, and we have celebrities who have everything yet commit suicide. For me, depression was my bad habit. It was the mindset I willfully chose to have. If life got overwhelming, I sunk into a hole by habit. It was the coping method that I learned from the time I was little, and I became excellent at it. The truth is, Satan was defeated long ago, and He has no power or reign over our lives. 1 John 4:4 says, "Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world." Once we believe this and see our opponent for the loser that he is, we can take responsibility for our thought life and choose to walk in freedom!
By grace, God has realigned me with the truth. God has won the battle against the Enemy, and I can claim victory for my life. God has equipped me with the power of the Holy Spirit, and with that power I can daily CHOOSE JOY. I choose to become excellent at choosing joy. I choose to view life as a celebration, not a burden. I choose to become excellent in God's methods for overcoming hard days, rather than letting depression take hold of my life. Today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life, I CHOOSE JOY. Because I am an overcomer by design!