I know what it’s like to feel alone. I remember what it’s like to be in high school & college, depressed, alone, and feeling hopeless.
At one time I thought I could never be used by God in my brokenness and never knew the power I had in Jesus to say shut up to the negative thoughts in my mind.
As a little girl, the lies I believed was that I had to earn love, be perfect, present myself as strong and put together, and that the harder I worked the better I would feel & the more successful I would become. The more I was stressed, the better because then I could reach my goals & live a happy, fulfilling life. What lies are you believing about yourself? Do you know?
I learned to hide!
I hid from everyone & everything. I tried to pretend I was fine, thinking that motto “fake it until you make it” would heal me. I ran from my pain. I numbed it with every type of self-destructive behavior I had access to. I ran from God, I hid myself because of the shame I carried. I hid behind my achievements & successes. I hid behind academic success & athletic stardom. I hid behind modeling success. I hid behind the happy, smiley, joyful face I always tried to show, terrified on the inside that people would find out my struggles. So I buried them deeper into the dark & just hoping they would go away eventually.
Instead the opposite happened & the more I hid the worse I got & the darkness overtook me until I was completely hopeless & the pain was too much to bear. I started to believe the lie that it was never going to get better & that my life was so miserable that I would rather die than live.
I attempted suicide at the age of 23 after a painful breakup that triggered everything I had buried for so long. I could no longer hide, I could no longer live this way. I didn’t know God’s voice & I didn’t know that there was an enemy who was also accusing, deceiving & lying to me.
The bible is very clear about Satan who is also called the Father of lies (John 8:44). “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” ~ 1 Peter 5:8 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” ~ John 10:10.
Jesus came to give us life. Jesus gave me a new life. I still struggle with depression & anxiety from time to time, but I no longer turn to self-destructive behaviors, I no longer desire to die, & I no longer feel guilt & shame for it. I turn to Jesus, prayer, God’s Word, & safe friends to lift me up, offer me encouragement, hope, and love that heals.
Who’s voice are you believing? Do you believe the voice that brings life or the voice that brings death?
Here are 10 truths that have helped me overcome my depression & anxiety and brought me hope, healing, & freedom:
- Seek God first & He will reveal His love, grace, & truth. Discover your identity as a child of God. You are fearfully & wonderfully made. Do you know who you are? Do you put your identity in what you do or what people think, or in the One who created you?
- Be Honest!!! Come out of hiding and you will be set free. Share your struggles with someone, even if it’s just God in private. Darkness only has power in hiding. When you try to pretend that you are fine & act strong it only makes the depression & anxiety worse & adds another lie that you need to feel shame.
- Learn to Hear God’s Voice, the voice of truth, the voice of life, the voice of love. It will transform your heart, mind, & soul. Read Christy’s book “God is Whispering to you: How to hear God’s quiet voice above the noise.” Click HERE
- Learn what lies you believe & how to walk in spiritual power through Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit to “shut up” the lies & negative thoughts that consume you. Read the “shut up” book coming out soon that will give you the tools & resources to shut up the lies. (Click here to read the sample book for free)
- Renew your mind through meditating, reading, learning, & studying the scriptures. The book of the Bible I love to read through especially when I am in a dark place or battling any types of difficult emotions is the Psalms. When I was in my darkest season of life, I would read different Psalms over and over again, just weeping & crying while feeling a sense of release & peace which was freeing & life giving. One of my favorites is “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” ~ Psalm 34:18
- Surrender!!! I had to surrender my entire life, my hopes, my dreams, my desires, & humbly submit them to God. I needed to turn away (repent) from the old life that brought me pain, emptiness, & death and turn towards Jesus that brought me Joy, Freedom, Hope, Peace, Love, & Healing. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” ~ Matthew 16: 24. Choose to follow Him and trust Him even in the midst of pain & suffering. When you lay down your life, you will find it. Life is more beautiful when you give your life to God.
- God heals in many different ways. Get the help and treatment you need that will bring healing. HE CAN HEAL YOU through prayer, the Bible, an empathetic & compassionate pastor, good Christian counsel, through community. I encourage everyone to be involved in a local church, a family of all generations which is so important. He can also heal through Christian therapy & medication. There are various opinions on medication and a lot of Christians have strong opinions about it. I am someone who has found it very helpful & healing for me and others as well. I no longer have shame or think I lack faith because there is an imbalance in my brain that needs it. God can miraculously heal me, but until then I am thankful for the healing that he has done through these various treatments.
- Find safe people to be real with, to encourage you, to cheer you on, & love you unconditionally. It’s important to have good friends in your life who have similar struggles & you can support each other, but won’t cause you to get stuck or stay in a negative or depressed place, and are also seeking God & His truth. Having incredible friends who don’t judge or shame me is a huge blessing & having an incredible mentor to teach, guide, counsel & offer wisdom is life changing. I pray that you all would seek out good mentors & trustworthy friends.
- Discover your heart language of what moves you & speaks to you the most. I have learned that I hear God through music, worship, & singing and I feel God’s presence & love the most through these expressions of myself. Also, when people lay hands on me & pray over me, being in silence & solitude at a retreat center (Serra Retreat in Malibu is my special place to feel the peace of Jesus), or at the beach. What is your heart language? Is it nature, through teaching & study, art, a specific hobby like running or surfing, or something else?
- Develop a servant-heart that wants to focus on serving & loving others. One of my problems before was I was too focused on myself, my life, my problems, my disappointments, my successes & I had no time to love & serve others. Now, when I am feeling depressed, sometimes just going outside & helping one person really does bring healing, fulfillment, and renew my mind.
Lastly, Be open to the power of the Holy Spirit and the supernatural miracles & healings that Jesus is still doing today. He is alive & active. I use to put God in a box, but now I have learned to be open to the mysteries of God, humble & willing to be used by Him to bring Hope to others. He wants to use you, your gifts, & your story in beautiful ways to make a difference in this world.
To find out more about Julie’s story you can watch her video here.