There’s a sticker slapped on the front of my journal of my favorite organization. The sticker reads, “bad Christian. Great Savior.” I put it there on purpose – so that every time I go to write in my journal, I can face my humanity head-on without being afraid of incurring the wrath of God. I start under the premise that I’m (even after almost 10 years of being a Christian) pretty messed up.
Sometimes my journal is kind of brutal. Sometimes I’m blunt about gross stuff like pornography. Sometimes I just whine about my life. Sometimes I fight with myself in it. Other times, when I read it, I can tell that it’s not anything I came up with, and that it’s God being gracious and merciful enough to come chat with me and use my pen to get His point across.
This morning was such a morning. It’s not gross or especially vulnerable, it’s just real. I’ll copy the journal entry verbatim for your reading pleasure, and I hope it helps someone (if nobody else, it helps me to be open and honest.)
A few months ago, I started to recognize an unwelcome guest in my mind: depression.
I don’t know what caused the onset, so I don’t know why it’s around. But I think I’ve started to recognize what perpetuates it…
I find myself in a vicious cycle of fear, and feeling like I’m unable to change. Maybe it started when Erica and I broke up back in April. Because now I feel that the things I want most in life require change I don’t feel capable of. I feel captive to my circumstances – where I live, when I work, where I work, what I do – and I feel that I have to adjust to circumstances instead of ruling over them myself.
-My fitness? – that’s up to me. not the weather being suitable for exercise.
-my finances? – up to me to manage money and choose my expenses.
-work ethic? – up to me to choose to work or not.
-relationships? – it’s up to me to take risks.
-spiritual walk – up to me to chase after God.
That’s not to say I’m in total control of my life, but I’m also not adrift in a stormy sea, being tossed about. There’s hope I can hold to.
There’s no real need to be afraid, Jeff. Remember the tattoo on your left arm that reads “nevertheless”? That’s got to hold up.
Not fearing doesn’t mean not failing. IT means not fearing the failure. Having no fear means that failure holds no weight in how you view yourself and the outcome of your life and destiny.
You have to learn to – through Christ – rule your fears.
-rule your fear of being rejected. rejection holds no weight because you’re accepted by God.
-rule your fear of being found out. You know what you are – you’re just a man. God knows that, soo. That’s why He gives grace.
-rule your fear of not having money. God is your Provider, and He gives grace to manage finances.
-rule your fear of being alone. the beautiful promise of Christian community is that we accept one another and bear each other’s burdens.
-rule your fear of failure. failure is not always an option, but it’s almost always a feasible outcome. fearing will only keep you from action.
The LORD is my light, and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1