I have found that depression and isolation go hand in hand. I have also realized as an extrovert, depression gives me opposite personalities. Amazingly one of the biggest recommendations for depression is putting yourself out there. “Why would I possibly do that when I have nothing to offer right now?” The more I analyze my mood changes the more aware I become that depression is not of God.
Not of God. This phrase used to really make me mad. After all, Colossians 1:16 says, For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. So what does that even mean? Am I doing everything wrong? I am still trying to figure it out, but I have learned who God is. I have found my explanation through Him. Scripture paints a much different picture than the one I paint inside of my head based on past hurts, past biases, and false information of who Jesus is. I can sit and stew with “Why me’s” all day long but it doesn’t change who he is. For he has not been unmoved by the pain of him who is troubled; or kept his face covered from him; but he has given an answer to his cry. (Psalms 22:24) Unmoved. He goes no where. I do. People do. God does not. I have felt like I have been drowning for weeks. I stopped praying. I stopped seeking the supernatural comfort that I can only find in Jesus’ arms. I turned to distractions instead of persistence.
My biggest fear my entire life has been abandonment. Being alone. Looking back on my adult life I have had a lot of residual feelings of abandonment. I praise God because I can see his hand in every situation showing I was never truly alone. But, I have been determined to find out who God was by myself. I have spent my life never getting close. If you do not get close to others you can not be left behind, rejected, or hurt. My husband and I could have had a fairy tale, Notebook style, high school sweetheart love story if I had just let some walls down. I’m not sure how he could tell the real me underneath everything but he did. I let those walls come down once we had our oldest daughter because her having her mother and father will always be of utmost importance. Still, our friendship differs from actual friends. Over the years, I kept all other emotional barricades extremely strong and secure. No one was getting in this heart. I have gone years without having someone to call when I am upset outside of family. I trusted no one.
I have not had a peer group since high school. I definitely was not going to make relationships with other believers because seriously I am broken. As cliché as the statement is, I really felt too broken for church. I went. I lifted hands. I felt great after. I tried to remain consistent in devotions everyday, but I did not want friends. Friends have the possibility to hurt you. I did not need that stress when I already have so much going on plus no one could possibly understand me. Overall, friends are too much. I did promise myself once I had the baby I would meet other moms and not isolate as much I used to. Becoming a mother at 18 puts you in this weird category of motherhood. Most women avoid you like the plague. Surprisingly, I have yet to meet a woman who has given birth whether it be at age 15 or 45 who has said “Wow, this isn’t a shock at all and I know exactly what I am doing and need no one to confide in.” So, I was scared. I was terrified of “Mom Friends.” Even now, we are in a weird life stage. We are working towards our first house, we live with family, and we are still as stupid as your average young adult. Regardless of the fear, I reconnected with old friends and I started going to playgroups for company during the day. I have learned that having mom friends is so essential. You can read enough books to make your eyes give out but you will never truly know what “normal” is until you see other kids your own child’s age. There is added comfort and happiness in people, where books just can’t compare. There is nothing like sitting on your best friends couch singing Mariah Carey into a Frozen microphone while your kids look at you like “???” That in itself is essential.
I also signed up for the Young Adults Rooted group at church. Just kind of did it. No thought. No big realization that “I NEED PEOPLE,” nothing. Pen in hand, I just wrote my name. When I started going to FLC it was the first time I felt God’s word pierce me. Every sermon mentions doing life with other people in some way but I have deliberately ignored those excerpts. “Jesus, I will pray daily. I will do your will. I will go to church every weekend. I will do whatever. BUT, I’m really not trying to get close.” The moment I walked through the door and met everyone in our group I knew that was where I was supposed to be. I finally have a sense of belonging. I have been stuck in an endless broken spiritual cycle. I see now it is because I need to see others faith in action as well. I need to be around people with more mature faith so that mine can grow. There is something to be said about caring for others. Life is so much better when you let someone know you are thinking of them. Life is just better when you have people to tell that too. Jesus himself said “Love others as I have loved you.” This is hard when the views of Jesus are so skewed these days not to mention our society puts such a stress on independence and doing for yourself. We need to love each other. Just as Jesus said. Not as the media portrays Jesus or how others have led us to view Jesus, but the Jesus that you know firsthand. When we love each other remarkable things happen. I have never had a word spoken over me until Thursday night during our prayer experience.
How has it taken me this long to see how important God’s people are to my life? I needed to hear his voice. Everything that was said was directly from Him. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12.) I needed such a wonderful friend to really hug me and tell me what God was saying to her because in that moment I couldn’t hear it by myself. We need each other. As vulnerable as that makes me feel, it is so refreshing. The biggest thing placed on my heart that night was “Stop running from me. I am not going anywhere.” He is unmovable. Nothing I do or say is going to change his faithfulness. He will never abandon me and I am perfectly and wonderfully made, with a whole lot to offer.