Child, Remember Your Training
Have you ever found yourself in a place, an environment, that is so uncomfortable that you begin to wonder how you even ended up there? It's almost as if you blinked and instantly, your life went from one thing to another and now you're wondering how you'll be able to find yourself and normality?
Well, I have…actually, I did not too long ago. Remember when I was telling you guys about how I allowed myself to fall into the worst depression of my life last year? (You Just Got Deleted: Wrestling With God) After reading this post, some of you guys reached out with encouragement and questions about my depression. One question most of you asked was, "how did I get out of it?"
If you guessed that this post would be about just that, BINGO! You got it right! You just won some brownie points! (I'm ridiculous!)
I could easily say that my friends and family helped me out but to be honest (and respectful) that's not the whole truth. Don't get me wrong, I got some pretty dope friends and my family is Grade A (top notch, the big cheese, you know what I mean) but it was my training that saved me.
No, I don't mean the training at the gym ( I love to pump some iron like the next person but the fitness post; wait for it…it's coming soon!). I mean my spiritual training.
As I've dabbled on before, I am a former athlete and there is a weird thing about us sport loving crazy people: we remember what our coaches say. Okay, maybe not all they say but we remember the important sayings that we have now carried off the field.
Remember your training.
When I was at my lowest point, though everyone wanted to help and be there for me, I refused to allow them to save me. You can call it ignorance but sorry, you're not me and guess what, it's not ignorance. I refused to allow people to come to my rescue because I already had someone who was saving me from myself: Jesus. (Oh yes, I just gave you that good-old Sunday school answer. Man, mom be proud!)
Seriously guys, no medication, just a whole lot of Jesus. (Mind you my method of fight depression is different from many others and I am not a professional. I have a wonderful therapist I love to chat up with. If you are battling with depression or have thoughts that are similar, I highly recommend that you see a mental health specialist or your doctor because I am not qualified to help in this arena. Had to put that disclaimer there.)
Now back to what I was talking about…
I mean it, I relied on Jesus and look at me now by the grace of God? Depression-free and so joyful that I am currently dancing around like a crazy person. I have been able to look at myself in the mirror and just smile at how awesome God is for all that he has done.
Just like being an athlete, for one to be able to find usefulness in their training they must do 3 important things.
1| Training More Than My Opponent. (Training More Than Babying the Depression.)
Spiritual training is pretty similar to the conditioning I had as an athlete. In order to make your training effective, you must be willing to sacrifice your time and pleasure for the game. This means more prayer, devotionals, fellowshipping, and anything your soul requires for you to do.
However, this also means less reckless and selfish behavior like going or doing something that you know takes away from your time and growth with Christ.
2| Get Some Meaningful Rest
Not going to hide it, I love getting my nails done! Oh man, that massage at the end of each session just…God bless America! (Someone needs to hook a sister up with some spa days!) But as much as I love using my rest time to pampering myself, I've come to realize that though we all need rest, there are ways to recover and still grow.
Some days, I get burnt out and during my depression, it seemed like that was every day. I would allow work to stress me out and home was no better. Recharging seemed to be impossible. Once I removed my two big stressors, I began to find more time for myself and began to recover with purpose.
Instead of getting my nails done ever time I began to sink mentally, I started watching spiritually motivating documentaries and movies (Passion of Christ gets me every time!). If my thoughts began to swirl downwards, I would go to the gym and dance until I felt like I had already climb my mental mountain. And when someone or something would trigger a negative thought, I would pick up my journal and start praying through my writing (that's where this blog post actually came from! Point one for journaling!)
There are ways that God used my R&R time to help me starve and transform my the depressive thoughts without miss a beat from my mental and spiritual growth.
3| Never Forget the Power That Has Been Stored up from Training
I think this one was the hardest for me to uncover. While you are allowing yourself to rehabilitate and grow, you begin to forget that by pour so much positivity into your soul, you are filling yourself up. And just like a vessel, you must allow what is inside to be poured out before refilling. It's like filling up a car with gas and never using it. It's worthless. (Ouch, sometimes I'm harsher than I intend but oh well, this is how I talk to myself. Snap, now I sound like a crazy person. Wait mathematicians talk to themselves so may I'm not all that crazy.)
As you begin to prioritize your healing process and your self-love, you allow the power of truth, confidence, and joy back into your life. But the truth is meant to share. Confidence is meant to be displayed. Joy is meant to be given away. As you work your spiritual and mental muscles to overcome the mental stage that is hurting you, you begin to acquire new weapons for the battles you may face.
When I felt low, when I felt stuck mentally or spiritually, I began to remove anything and everything that was causing me pain. I had to clear out the virus by applying a vaccination called Jesus. He showed me through many people and many months of practice that I'm more than my depression. I was reminded that the because I have him I had the tools I needed to kick depression in the…(you know what). Then once I began to use the tools, I was able to understand what it meant to love myself ( interesting discovery: depression and loved don't get along. I'm telling you that love is the ultimate antidote to depression — at least to me. And guess what? Jesus is love!).
By giving myself the necessary time and attention, I have been able to love myself, overcome my depression, and love everyone around me! I get the opportunity every day to love on Savior, myself, and my loved ones. I have been given the chance to embrace my truth: that I am wonderful in the eyes of my Lord and that I am more loved by the Creator than I will ever be able to imagine.
My training has reminded me that no matter what happens in my life, I am worth it all to Christ. Training and giving myself fully to Jesus isn't something that happened at the beginning of my recovery and ended when I began to get better. Mental freedom and spiritual liberty is something I fight for every day and after feeling that darkness that I mentioned in the first paragraph, I have made it my mission to never allow anything or anyone (especially me) to drag me down to that level of darkness ever again.
It took me some time but now I realize that each day is a chance to put my training to use. Each day is my opportunity to remember the training God has given me and apply it in every aspect of my life.
It's not easy and there are times when God has to remind me that without him I wouldn't be able to successfully overcome anything. Those moments remind me to treasure my training. I treasure the lessons. I treasure the time that it has taken for me to realize that…man am I better than any form of depression life thinks it can throw at me! All I do is remember my training.
Until next time…