Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Embracing your greatest challenge...

I found a post from Lisa Whittle on her recent trip to El Salvador with Compassion International. At the end of it she had this exhortation.

"Don’t be afraid of your challenge in life, whatever it is. Look it in the face and defy it. Embrace it. Own it. Live it, and let it move you to a new place of personal and spiritual discovery. Love it or hate it, you can either challenge it or it will challenge you. Challenge it, and you will win…no matter what the outcome. Because in the process, you will see with eyes of purpose and feel with new waves of passion.

You can wait, sit and wish. You can wonder what it feels like to regain a spiritual pulse. You can watch while someone else comes to a place of understanding that could be yours, if only you were willing to stop being afraid of what you don’t know.

I can’t tell you what to do, and I know you don’t want me to. All I can say is that it is my strongest belief that you find yourself in the midst of your greatest challenge."

My greatest challenge lately has been seeing how depression has been coming back in waves. There are days that it is great, and I feel free. There are other days when I feel like I can't breathe.

There are days when I can release things immediately to God and rest in His presence. There are other days when I find anger and frustration (even with very little things) overtaking me.

This post of Lisa's really challenged me to, yet again, face up my depression toe to toe and not let it make me back down from doing what God wants me to... as a wife, as a mom, in my job, in my walk with Him.

In many ways I have been afraid of the challenges in my life. I have looked at them as something to put my head down and just try to get through. I still find myself fearing things at times.

Depression I have seen as my enemy, robbing me of the joy and peace that could be mine.

Yet, Lisa says that we should embrace our challenge, own it, and live it.

It's hard for me to think about embracing depression - much less to own it and live it? What's that?

I guess I have been doing that to a certain extent already. I have been living it, and it has pushed me from one place to another - a greater sense of living, maturing me, etc. Working through my depression has been a way of growing me into greater personal and spiritual discovery.

I just wish, so many times, that the depression would lift - that I would be able to enjoy life with my kids without so much of a cloud hanging over my head - that I would be able to enjoy my family without so much frustration and yes, even anger at times, hounding me.

I get tired of struggling. I get tired of having to constantly check my thoughts. I know I need to, or I will succumb to the pressure of the lies, and sink even deeper. But can't I get a rest? Can't I get a break?

The last couple of days, since maybe Thursday of this past week, have been a break for me for the most part, and I can praise God for that!

I had a good time away, borrowing a friend's house while she and her husband were gone to have a retreat day. I got just over 5 hours away. Less than I had planned, but more than I have gotten in a long time. I got to spend the rest of the weekend with family at the farm and had a long break from the kids, as they were spending time with cousins that they don't get to see too often.

Those are blessings God has given me. And I have had a break from the depressive thoughts.

I really don't like having to be reminded again and again that I need to persevere, and that I need to keep taking captive my thoughts. I know I need to, but it doesn't make it easier to do it. Especially when I am tired.

Today though, I am going to purpose to look at the positive. I am going to hang onto the truth that I am a beloved child of God, and the apple of His eye. Today I am going to walk out into the cool, bright, sunny day and enjoy it for the gift it is from God.

Another day, another choice to make.

I know this journey through depression has matured me, caused me to find new spiritual discoveries about myself. I guess I have been embracing it, facing it, challenging it, fighting it.... and yes, even owning it.

I still find it really hard to accept that this is going to be with me - probably as long as I am alive on this earth. I may never understand it, but I have to accept it, that this is a tendency of mine - towards depression as a side of weakness to the strengths and gifts God has given me.

My heart is full of the blessings God has given me. And though I may find myself leaning towards fearing what tomorrow may bring, I choose to live in the light of the grace of God today, and to rejoice in His gifts and to soak in His love for me.

May you be able to do that as well.


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

A wonderful teaching from Lisa, and it sounds like, a meaningful growth for you. I'm sorry, friend, for this valley of darkness. I'm encouraged by your willingness to press into the Light and find some peace.


Amy P Boyd said...

Heather- I read this post on 5/26 and again everyday since. I have wanted to leave a comment but could not find the right words. And I still haven't. Just know that as a friend that also faces the challenge of dealing with depression toe to toe each minute of everyday your post has truly touched me. You have give me the "want" to face the challenge with all the strength my Lord has give me. Thank you. Thank you so very much.