I’ve been pretty honest lately about different struggles in my life, but never before have I felt so scared of sharing one particular struggle. I’ve brushed over it when people have asked if I am okay because I felt if people really knew, then I would be perceived as weak and not fit for ministry. It’s illogical but those fears are real. Last week, as I was driving home from work, I felt God speak. He said, “Lizzie, share your story.” It has scared me to think of sharing this struggle I have been in for the past couple of months but I believe that there is a reason that God would prompt me to do so. Sharing this does not come from a place of self pity or wanting people to feel sorry for me but truly comes from a place of obedience and vulnerability, as God has called me to live in the light, and has asked me to share this part of my story. I don’t have all the answers but I do know what has helped me through this difficult season. So that’s what I’ll share.
I’ve been struggling with depression the last couple of months. It didn’t hit me all at once but was slowly building from a lot of outside factors that have been influencing my life over the past year. It has shown up as exhaustion each day where I wake up already looking forward to go to bed that night, and sleeping for 8-9 hours each night but never feeling refreshed. It has shown up in not feeling up to hanging out with friends and using the, “I’m tired,” excuse to get out of it. It has shown up in just sitting and weeping on my bed for hours some nights because I just want to feel normal again, I just want to feel joyful, and mostly, I just want God to take away this burden. It has shown up in increased anxiety over my safety at school and questioning of my chosen profession. The truth is, I’m not okay, even though I will tell you that I am. But I am doing something about it. I’m allowing myself to feel these emotions but not letting them overtake me. I’m trusting that God is here and present with me, holding me when all I can do is cry. I’m giving myself grace to walk through this struggle because I’m not perfect and some days are just hard. Most importantly, I’m talking to someone about it.
It was hard for me to admit that I needed to talk to a counselor. I thought that I had everything under control and that things were getting better. I had tricked myself into believing that since a year had passed since the darkest season of my life, I had healed and moved on. People kept telling me there was no shame in going to counseling and I honestly thought that I believed that. But in my heart, it was still a pride issue, as if talking to someone and asking for help was saying that I couldn’t do it on my own. But it’s true. I can’t do it on my own. Realizing that I wasn’t equipped to handle these complex feelings allowed me to not only be able to start going to see a counselor but allowed me to surrender them to someone who can, someone who has walked on earth and experienced the trials that we encounter and ultimately died for me. There is no better place to be but in the arms of Jesus, surrendered to him in a deep, heart-level kind of way.
This struggle has broken me. But Jesus is greater and through it, I have been learning to just sit and be with him. I have learned to trust him in a deeper way. I have also learned to let go of the plans that I have for my life because sure they might be great, but nothing compared to what God has in store for me. This has been one of the toughest things for me to do because it’s like I’m having to let go of something that I have desired since childhood. But the question that God keeps asking me is this: “Do you love me enough to let go of the dream of being married and having a family?” When I first felt God speaking this, I was stunned. This tore at my heart. I realized that I had held so tightly to this dream that it became an idol. I have thought long and hard about this question. God has revealed to me the times where he has moved in a great and mighty way, times where he has loved me more than anything I could desire, and times where he has been faithful. So I think my answer is yes. If God has chosen for me to walk through life single, then I do love him enough to submit to his ways. He has shown me the greatest love of all, dying for me so that I could be forgiven. This has given me more peace in my singleness than I have had in years. God hasn’t spoken to me and told me that I will be single for the rest of my life but in asking me this question, it has allowed me to see the heart-idol that I was holding onto. The desire to be married has not gone away but for now, I feel like the idol of marriage is starting to break away. I have peace whichever way my life ends up going, married or unmarried and it has been so freeing.
I don’t know if you struggle with any of these things but know that you are not alone. I know I realized that many people struggled with depression and singleness but it was still hard for me to admit that I struggled with them too. In the end though, how we walk through these struggles shouldn’t bring glory to ourselves but to God and his great love for us. Our struggles should help us show the glory of God and his faithfulness.
Thank you for allowing me to share this part of my story. It has been a long season of growth and suffering but God has been faithful. I choose to believe that he still is good even in the trials.
Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” This has been kind of my life verse over the past year because I feel like I have been in a season of wanting and waiting. But even in waiting, Jesus is still moving we just need to be patient.
I love sharing me heart with you guys, even when it’s hard. Thanks for reading!