What goes in, must come out!
What goes in must come out. We’ve all heard this. As someone who has struggled with severe mood swings and depression most their life, I honestly just thought that’s who I was. I learned to live around my moods and in some ways, I still do but one big thing that was missing is the fact that I can choose which moods I want to allow. That’s right, I said allow.
When I was younger, I would cry any time someone raised their voice at me. I remember being told I needed to stop crying and I thought “I can’t. I can’t help how I feel.” This is how I went through the first 30 years of my life. For the past 10 years I have been seeking something different.
I remember the day I was baptized. I was in a difficult season in life. I was lost but I wanted something different. It was a typical Sunday. Waking up the kids, fighting them to get dressed and dragging my ex-husband to church. Rushing to drop the kids off at childcare and hiding on the back row. I wanted to be with Jesus, but I wanted to hide from people. The music began and the lights dimmed. This is when I crumbled. I would cry uncontrollably the entire time the music played. This was my way of making it to the next week. On this day I remembered listening to the people on the stage talk about their life and their struggles with a sense of peace that was unfamiliar to me. I remembered thinking their lives were worse than mine, yet they seemed to have something I didn’t. At this time, I didn’t think God would take my troubles away, but I thought if he could just lighten the loud what a blessing that would be.
At the end of service, I walked forward. I said, “you know something I don’t, and I need whatever it is.” They asked if I had ever been baptized to which I answered “no”. They said, “how about right now?” to which I answered “YES!” I was baptized shortly after. Honestly, I was filled with Joy in that moment.
I wish I could tell you that my life got better that day, but honestly my darkest days hadn’t even arrived yet. Life got really ugly and many days I asked God what I was missing. What was I doing wrong? I have spent the last 10 years seeking him. What I can say is God never left my side. Even on the days I struggled to see him or hear him, I know he was there. Without him to seek I truly believe my life would have gone much differently.
There was a particular season in my life where I struggled with the desire to live. Life was so hard for me and depression really had a hold on me, but my children are the reason I fought for every single second of my life. The truth is that’s how hard it was for me. I couldn’t see a future, I just wanted to see the next minute. I remember a friend asking me what I did all day and I was offended. The truth is, I was just trying to breathe, and it took every bit of me to do so. I felt stuck and so far from God.
I was reminded, what goes in must come out. So, I thought if there was so much negative, toxic junk coming out of me I had to overflow it with good. I started listening to ANYTHING with a positive message. I would fill my day with sermons, worship music, motivational speeches and trainings on mental and emotional strength. I still struggled with depression but by this point I had learned how to hide it better. Those around me thought things were getting better and in some ways, I guess you could say they were but the things around me were still messy I had just learned how to function in the chaos. This is not living, this is surviving.
In the past couple of years, I have had to make some of the hardest decisions I have ever faced. These decisions have wrecked me emotionally but what I learned through it all is that I don’t have to face these moments alone. There is a power greater than me who loves me and wants to see me at peace. I am meant to live a life full of abundance and not just barely survive. It is my opinion that many people think of salvation as a way into heaven, not thinking it has anything to do with life on Earth.
When my perspective changed, so did my life. God created me and everything around me. The Bible is the owner’s manual. Can I get through life without? Maybe so, but its far better when I study what’s inside and intentionally seek understanding through Him.
My life is far from easy, and I still have many hard days ahead of me, but I do not face them alone and I do not carry the burden on my shoulders. Our struggles may not be the same but what we have in common is that we all have them. My moods swing less often and nowhere near as extreme as before. My dark days are mostly just dark moments. I have learned that we are created in his image and as he created the world with his word, my words too have power. I have learned that I can have peace amongst the chaos, if that’s what I choose for myself. I have learned that although my emotions are important, I can control how I react to them. The ugly things I have faced in my life are worth the tears but the beauty I have seen is worth all the joy. I choose to see the good, not because the bad isn’t there but because I learned that I have the chose.