So. It’s been a few days since I last posted anything, and that’s mainly because, if I’m honest, I’ve been on a bit of a low. I’ve cried about the most ridiculous things, had horrible thoughts and dreams, felt unwanted and unloved and I’ve looked to other things instead of Jesus, as I always seem to do, and if I’m really honest I didn’t think I was in any kind of place to write anything without sounding like some sort of hypocrite. See, thing is, I don’t want to be one of those Christian bloggers who says these things and then doesn’t always follow it up. I know I’ll say stuff on here and then might mess up, but we all do, because we all fall short. We all make mistakes. So please, when you read this, don’t think I have it all sorted and together because I really don’t. Writing this blog helps me to work through this and to heal, and if its helping you in any way then PRAISE GOD because that is just something else. Anyway. Second anti-hypocrisy moment over…
This post is all about God using our pasts and our mistakes for good. There’s a few things I want to cover and the first is self-esteem. So much honesty is going into this post because when I’m feeling low and seriously depressed, when I ‘drop’ as I like to say, I find that I’m more open about what I’m feeling – or maybe I’m just blunter about it? (To be fair, it’s probably the latter. If you’ve ever been on the end of this, I’m so sorry. Sad Annie isn’t always nice) But ANYWAY. Honesty is fab so lets just go with it. So, in all honesty, I have felt worthless and broken and unwanted and useless because of my past; because of things I’ve done or said or been through. I won’t write some harrowing tale because there isn’t one and there isn’t any need. But some not all that great things have happened in my life that have led me to this place of depression. I’ve been hurt, I’ve been betrayed. Yadda yadda yadda. So what? DONT GET ME WRONG, I am not belittling anything that you might be going through or have experienced. But what I am saying is that you have a choice – a choice as to how you’re going to let it evolve and shape you and your life.
For a long time I’ve had thoughts from time to time that because I have depression or I’m not always ‘mentally well’ that people won’t love me or want me around. I’ve thought about cutting off the idea of relationships completely because well, who wants to be with the depressed girl? Who wants to get close to that? I’ve shut off from my friends and those I’m closest to time and time again. I’ve blocked out myself from whats going on in my head sometimes, too. Because after all, having depression defines me as a human being, doesn’t it?
No actually, it doesn’t.
If I believe what Jesus tells me, then I’m a precious and loved daughter of the King. I am special. I have my own gifts and my own voice. My own future and a godly plan wrapped up in it. I have been blessed, and I have been saved. Who wouldn’t want this girl? (Please read this in a non-arrogant tone!!!)
If I look at myself all the time as I sometimes do when the lows hit and the sadness comes, and all I see is the girl who’s parents broke up, the girl who has had a tough time with eating properly and self-image, the girl who has horrific dreams about those she loves most leaving her and all the rest of it, then that is all I will see. And more importantly, after a while, I’ll convince myself that that’s the girl everyone else sees, too. If I focus on this stuff, then I’ll miss out on the girl who likes foreign films and wants to give her children Hebrew names and her curly hair. The girl who sings in the shower at the top of her voice and has the HUGEST crush on David Tennant EVER (I have a cardboard cut out of him in my bedroom, jealous?!), and the girl who gets so geeked out on theology, falls asleep in the cinema, leaves the teabag in her tea and has ketchup with basically everything. Am I saying I’m perfect? No. I’m not perfect. But there is good in me, even if I can’t see it. And guess what? If we see only the kooky weird things we like about ourselves as good, guess what God sees when he looks at us? His fearfully and wonderfully made children. He knows what’s good about you, because he MADE you, and he KNOWS YOU.
So in short, on self esteem and this whole issue of baggage and the past. If people look at you and only see the bad stuff, then they’re the ones who are missing out. They’re missing out on all of the good that you bring to the people around you. The jokes you tell, the food you share with your friends. The films you go and see and the music you listen to every day because you just can’t get enough. Your past is NOT YOU. YOU are YOU. And if people have mistaken your past for you, they aren’t worthy of you anyway.
Secondly, your mental health issues – whatever they may be – are NOT YOUR DEFINING CHARACTER. That sad person you meet sometimes in the mirror, that’s not you. That paranoid person you hear in the background, its not you either. The worried person, the scared person, the angry person, whoever – its not you. Yes, granted, the nuances in your chemistry right now might be a part of you. But they aren’t YOU as a whole. So please, whatever you do, do not give yourself the label of whatever your diagnosis may be. And family and friends of the friends who might be going through this right now, don’t see your friend as the label either. Thankfully, no one has done this with me, but I am aware that it does happen and it’s ridiculously unnecessary. The person you see isn’t depression personified, or schizophrenia personified. They’re your friend. They are still a person, with likes and dislikes, favourite foods and drinks they can’t stand, etc. They’re still the person you know and love. They might just be on holiday for a while, which is what I say when my lows stick around for a while. I might not know when I’m coming back, but I know that I will because the people around me love me anyway and help me look for her. Thank you.
I don’t want to go too off topic and ignore the incredibly beautiful verse at the top of this post. I’ve rambled on a bit but here is the crux of it all: you have a choice as to what you want your past or your baggage to do to you. You can let it shape your life, as I have done up until recently, or you can give this over to Jesus. Today, I wrote a letter. I wrote a letter to Jesus and gave him all of these things that have left me feeling broken and not good enough. Know what I did? I went to a bin on my way to meeting some friends, I tore it up, I prayed, and I threw it away.
I don’t need my past to build my future. I have Jesus to do that for me. But I do know that whatever happens, I don’t want any of this stuff to go to waste. I don’t want my suffering to end here or there or anywhere and nothing to come from it. I want to make a difference to people using my experience and because I love God. But to do that, for God to make all of this for good for me, I need to give it over to him. Whatever you’re holding onto, whatever is stopping you from letting God take the bad and mold it into something incredible, write that letter. Or draw that picture. Sing that song. Whatever it is. GIVE IT OVER. You don’t need it. But Jesus can use it. And that is just one of the many amazing ways that grace changes us and it changes our lives. Jesus isn’t just interested in us until we say yes to him and accept him into our lives. He wants to know all of it and help us through it. He’s holding my hand right now as I know he’s holding yours – if you let him.
Romans 8:28 will always be a special verse to me for lots of reasons, but mainly because I know that I believe in a God who is so merciful, so full of love and so passionate about me that he’s willing to take all of the crummy stuff about me and about my past, and turn it around for me – and for his glory – that I might be something new and lovely and shiny for him and for his name. WOW.
So Annie the depressed girl? She won’t always be depressed. She isn’t depression personified. She is a person, just like you are. And she knows a God who wants to turn it all around for you and make the hurts heal and the bad pass away so the good can take over – all you need to do? Let him.
Peace and blessings x