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I’m in a very unfabulous season of life. See that picture up there? It sums up my existence. And I’ve been guilty of despising it—my stay-at-home motherhood—failing to see His design, forgetting that He is using it to work out His perfect will for me. I’ve not taken it seriously; I haven’t treated it like it matters. I thought by now I’d be Dr. Manning. I thought by now I’d have it all together. I thought by now I’d be making a difference in the world. The problem is, I’ve been more focused on what I haven’t done than what I do.
And then I read this:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – I Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)
And then I saw it again here:
And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17 (NIV)
Maybe He’s trying to tell me something?
“Whatever you do, Deidra, do it for My glory. Whatever you do, Deidra, give thanks to Me.”
God has put me in the place I’m in for a reason. It’s not glamorous, it’s not what I would have picked, but it’s His design for me. I am in this season on purpose. He’s not worried about what I think I should have accomplished by now or how I think I measure up in comparison to others. He’s concerned about what I am doing in the place He’s assigned me to. He hasn’t asked me to do what others are doing; He wants me to do my best and give Him thanks in the place I am in, even in the whatever.
Right now, my whatever includes laundry, dishes, cleaning, lawn mowing, blogging, mothering, chauffeuring, and grocery shopping. He gets the glory when I do these things well, when I take them seriously, when I treat them as the assignments they are. He delegated these whatevers to me. Your whatevers are probably different than mine, and they should be—we are each uniquely designed for a specific purpose.
Be encouraged today. You are where you are on purpose—by His design. You are in this season for a specific reason. So whatever your whatevers are in that place, do them for His glory. Don’t compare your whatevers to someone else’s. Be faithful and accountable in the tasks He has designated for you—they are preparation for the greater whatevers to come.
“But Paul’s instructions...are not meant to inspire you to become like somebody else—to start doing more of the things they do, like they do them. It’s calling for ‘whatever you do.’ There is value in the unique way that you mother your children, love your husband, do your job, oversee that committee, participate in that organization, and spend your time. It’s what you do. It’s how you do it. And that’s what He has promised to undergird with His power, causing Himself to be magnified through your actions.” – Priscilla Shirer, The Resolution for WomenShareThis
Some anti-depressant commercials animate it, making it an amorphous blob with cute little sad eyes. Others show how depression hurts—how it is emotionally, physically, and mentally taxing, how it keeps you away from all you love. And yet others depict depressed people as wind-up dolls waiting for just the right medication to come along and twist the mechanism on their backs to help them get going again.
But there’s something these commercials don’t show—the other people affected by depression. Depression doesn’t only control the person who has it; it impacts anyone and everyone who comes in contact with it.
Until recently, I never considered the power of my depression in the lives of my family and friends. It makes their lives difficult. They have to walk on egg shells because they’re not sure what kind of reaction they’ll get. They have to work extra hard to get a response or coax interest and feeling. They have to be strong enough to force themselves into a place they’re not wanted and be willing to ride out the waves. And after a while, they get tired. Their lives drained, their hope gone—the life sucked out by depression’s hypodermic fangs—they begin to die too, victims of a slow fade.
Depression isn’t some sad little cloud that follows you around.
Depression is a vampire. He is selfish, thinking only of himself and what he needs to survive. He makes you feel like your life isn’t worth living, like no one needs you, like no one cares.
Depression wants you to himself—he doesn’t like sharing his kill. He wants all of you, all the time; he likes to feast continually.
Depression loves darkness and hates light.
Depression cannot stand the cross or holy things—joy, peace, love, forgiveness, grace, fellowship, faith. He steals the hope of God’s truth.
Depression is blood-thristy and sucks the life out of any who dare to come near. Depression drains hope, vitality, and strength from those around, and when it has totally depleted its carrier, it begins to feed off the lives of those nearby.
So how can you stop this vampire, Depression? How can you save those you love from becoming victims of this cryptic predator? Help yourself.
If you need medicine, take it. If you need counseling, get it. If you need prayer, ask for it. If you feel yourself drowning, reach for the rope.
Do the opposite of what you feel.
Whether you want to admit it or not—whether you believe it or not, your life matters. Your feelings, words, and actions impact those around you. Your family and friends love you and need you. Refuse to stay trapped in the coffin of selfishness and isolation. Force yourself to look outside your box, to see beyond the confines of your darkness.
Your depression doesn’t just affect you, it affects your loved ones. Understanding this fact can help give you the courage to fight, because even if you don’t consider yourself worth fighting for, you will battle for those you love.
Be encouraged today. You are not alone. God loves you. Your family and friends love you—they need you. Will you fight for them?
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
For more tips on how to fight depression, read here.ShareThis
I have a little problem with trust.
I don’t believe people. I want to. But I don’t.
I can’t take a compliment. I have a hard time hearing positive things about myself.
Because of past experience, because I’m a pessimist, because of low self-esteem, because I don’t like to be vulnerable, because it feels wrong to think good things about myself, because people have ulterior motives, because, because, because.
And I don’t like to admit it, but this pathological disbelief spills over.
Sometimes I don’t believe God – that He really does want good things for me, that He wants me to prosper, that He will use me.
But then I heard something that really made me think:
God will not accommodate our doubt by bending His promises. – Barry Clardy
My belief, or lack thereof, doesn’t change who He is. God cannot lie. He is incapable of deception. What He says He must do. He is His word.
My disbelief doesn’t affect Him, it affects me. The promises are already mine, I just have to claim them.
I must answer all the what ifs with He did.
Do you ever doubt? Be encouraged today. Your promises are fulfilled; the work was complete the moment He spoke it into existence. All you have to do is accept it – it will come to pass.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. AndShareThis
It happens this time every year. Without fail. And I hate it.
It used to catch me off guard, punch me in the gut, send me reeling, staggering, whirling to the darkest corners of the bottom in a collapse that took me months to recover from.
Oh, it still comes, but its ways have changed. We greet each other cordially these days – no more sneeking around, no more pummeling. I’ve learned to listen for it, to anticipate its arrival, to embrace it as a visitor I can learn from. I’ve come to understand the reasons why it’s here, the methods it uses, the lies it tells.
But it took me a very long time.
So today, on the off chance there is someone else out there who is battling some degree of depression, I’m offering a little advice:
- Do something...
Brush your teeth
Take a shower
Read your Bible (even if only 1 verse)
Pray (even if all you can say is “God, help me!”)
Set a goal for yourself and do it, even if it is a simple task. I’ve had days when it took all I the strength I had to be able to take a shower and put on clothes. If that’s all you’ve got in you, then just do that. Any activity (no matter how small) that has you focused on something other than the bed and the darkness is a good one. When you’ve accomplished your goal, celebrate the victory – it is a victory. Any moment you’ve taken from depression is one less moment it has to conquer you, and that is a big win.
- Engage with others. This is really hard, I know. At the very core of depression is the deep desire to be alone, to disengage, to crawl into a hole and never come out. Interaction with others, even in its simplest form, is physically and emotionally exhausting. I get it. But, alone is not a good place. If you keep to yourself, you are making room for depression to keep growing. Cutting yourself off from your husband, children, friends, co-workers, or church family is not helping you. Depression is selfish – it wants all of you, all the time. Even five minutes spent truly listening to your child or saying more than “yes” or “no” when your spouse speaks to you is a victory – it’s five minutes of freedom from depression’s lonely lies.
- Go outside or try some physical activity. You are not a vampire. You need sunlight. Even if you only stay in your pajamas and sit on your back steps for ten minutes, it is good for you. Depression feeds off darkness of all kinds. Let some light in, it will make you feel better. Or if you’re feeling especially ambitious, walk to the mailbox, take the trash bin to the curb, water your flowers – anything that makes you move is good. Depression wants you immobilized. Every step you take counts in your favor, moves you one more inch away from its debilitating grip.
- Learn to recognize your triggers. Depression likes to visit me in the summertime because it knows I’m most vulnerable then. Since I am no longer on a structured, school’s-in schedule, I easily lose my sense of purpose and direction and no longer feel the comfort of familiar activities and timelines. Structure and schedules are very important to my well-being. Also, since I don’t have a place I have to be or things I have to do outside my home, the walls begin closing in, hugging me in my schedule-deprived nervousness, comforting me with my familiar, inside world of darkness and seclusion. Knowing how your enemy works will help you win the battle. Depression can’t catch you off guard when you know it’s coming.
It takes effort. It is hard. Some days I succeed. Some days I fail. Some things are easier than others. Right now, I’m having a really hard time engaging with others and making myself be social. But, I keep trying. This too, will eventually pass, and until it does, I will continue in spite of it. I will not let depression win.
God is faithful. He knows, He sees, He cares. He is not ignorant of my condition or my problems. He will help me. He will help you, too. It may not seem like He is there, but He is. All we have to do is call.
In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. – Psalm 18:6 (NIV)
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. – Psalm 34:4-8 (NIV)ShareThis
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness!” – Matthew 25:21 (NIV)
Recently, I heard someone say he was glad the aforementioned verse says faithful rather than successful, because while success is not always possible, faithfulness is.
But that doesn’t make it easy.
Faithful stays when others leave; keeps working when everyone else quits; remains loyal and obedient when others get tired and find something new.
Faithful doesn’t give up. Faithful doesn’t let go. Faithful is steadfast, devoted, enduring, sincere, and trustworthy.
Faithful is hard-core. Even when he is tired, weak, lonely, sad, weary, confused, drained and unmotivated, he keeps going. Faithful never stops, even when the pastor doesn’t pat him on the back, even when only three people come to his Sunday school class, even when no one calls to check on him, even when only 20 people read his blog, even when no one likes his Facebook status or gives him an RT on Twitter, even when he didn’t get asked to be on the committee, even when no one recognizes his greatness.
Faithful understands what many don’t – that in spite of how he feels, in spite of what others do or don’t do, regardless of what others say or don’t say – he alone is responsible for what he has been given. Faithful doesn’t pass the buck or place blame on his past failures or present circumstances. Faithful continues in spite of those things. Faithful keeps his promise anyway.
I want to be found faithful, for God (not others) to say, “Well done, Deidra! Because you kept following Me even when it was hard, even when you were depressed, even though things didn’t always go your way, even when it felt like the whole world was against you or that no one cared, I am going to give you more to do. I’ve been watching you and rooting for you the whole time. You’ve proven you can handle it and I’m so proud of you!”
Be encouraged today. God is watching and rooting for you. He sees what no one else does, and He will reward your faithfulness.
Faithfulness is not doing something right once, but doing something right over and over and over and over. – Joyce Meyer
Being faithful in the smallest things is the way to gain, maintain, and demonstrate the strength needed to accomplish something great. – Alex HarrisShareThis
This week marks the first anniversary of my leap into the blogging world. At the time it seemed so serendipitous, but God’s good at that – disguising His divine purpose in what appears to be ordinary; wrapping life-changing opportunity with ribbons of the everyday, granting the chance for new hope through decisions made on a whim.
That’s how I started blogging – on impulse. A friend suggested it, and without making my typical pros/cons list, over-analyzing, or coming up with a thousand reasons why I would fail, I tried it. I had never read a blog. I didn’t know anything about the blogosphere. I had no clue what I was doing. I still don’t know what I’m doing.
But, there are many things that I have learned about myself – things I was completely unaware of before this journey began:
I am a writer.
I have a message that matters.
I am one of many, but that doesn’t diminish my importance.
I am not defined by who does or doesn’t endorse me.
I can be the real, flawed me and still help others.
I couldn’t say these things about myself a year-and-a-half ago. I didn’t think I mattered; I didn’t know I had a purpose. But trust me, if God can take me, a girl who struggled – struggles still – with depression, eating disorder, low self-esteem, pessimism; and give her hope, a sense of purpose, a chance to grow and become better, a way to show His love and grace to others, then take heart, He will do those things for you.
You are a who He says you are. You have a message that matters. You are one of many, but you are so important to His work. You are not defined by what others think or say about you, and whether others support you or not, you have the endorsement of the only One who matters. You can help others. It doesn’t take flawlessness, it takes willingness, love, and dependence on Christ. Authenticity and honesty lead others to Him, not false pretense and plastic perfection.
God is faithful. He knows, He sees, He cares. Look to Him today – you will not be disappointed.
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6 (HCSB)
The currency of heaven is trust. – Barry Clardy
What seems an eternity in line is finally rewarded with my turn at the register. Scanning each item carefully, the clerk makes small talk over the incessant beeping of bar codes. All I want is to go home – to grab my bags and leave – but she takes her sweet time, examining each package. “Are these good?” she asks, “I’ve always wanted to try them.” “Yeah” I answer with a half-hearted smile, all the while wishing she’d hurry up. “Really?” I think to myself, “Just scan in it and bag it, girl. It’s not your job to judge my items or question my purchase – just give me my stuff!”
With the last box of cookies safely in the bag, she hits the button revealing my total. “That’ll be one fifty-four seventy-two,” she says with a smile. “Finally!” I think as I reach for my wallet. Sliding down quickly from the top of my ears like a transparent red shade being pulled over my face, the embarrassment is now fully visible. My wallet isn’t in my purse. I have no money or credit cards – I can’t pay. “I guess I left my wallet at home. I’m so sorry – I’m going to have to come back later.”
Whispering among themselves, the row of people behind me look on in disgust and agitation as I move my cart full of groceries to the side. I wish I could sprint to the door with Olympic speed, but humiliation is a heavy weight that makes it impossible to run. I am mortified. Sure, it was an honest mistake, but I should have been prepared. I should have made sure I had my wallet before I left home.
The same thing has happened in my spiritual life. At times, I’ve gone to His throne treating it like a heavenly store, wanting to get in and get out – no questions, no small talk. I’ve not wanted His guidance or opinion about my life’s purchases. I’ve wanted Him to give me my stuff and let me go. Other times, I’ve been at His place truly needy – wanting help, provision, healing – and I’ve left empty-handed, having forgotten my wallet.
We don’t owe Jesus for His blessings – He gives those freely out of love and grace. But, if we are to be recipients, He does require one payment: trust.
Faith, confidence, belief, conviction – this is the fee that guarantees salvation, supply, direction, healing, and mountain moving and removal.
What’s in your wallet?
Everything is possible for one who believes. – Mark 9:23 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. – Mark 11:23 (NIV)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. – Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)ShareThis
Time, gradual, process – words I hate, words that are hard, words that are convicting – words He keeps sending my way.
I don’t like waiting or going slow. I like right now.
But really, all of life is a process. Babies aren’t born right after conception, dreams don’t become reality overnight, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
All living things go through an incubation period – a time of growth, development, cultivation, and maturation. And just as much as the precious new gift needs time to progess and expand, we need that stage to prepare – to get ready for the coming promise. All expectant mothers experience a nesting phase. They stockpile necessary resources, make a special place for the new little one, clean everything out to make sure the environment is fresh and healthy, because they know once the baby arrives there will be no time for all of that. Once the promise comes, every moment will be spent in its care.
And so it is with our dreams, visions, promises, goals. We need the gradual, the process. We must utilize the incubation period, because if we don’t, we won’t be ready when it comes. And if we’re not ready, we won’t be able to handle it. We’ll be so caught up worrying about the places we haven’t cleaned out, the room that’s not ready, the supplies we failed to get that we won’t be able to enjoy its arrival or share it with those who need it.
God’s words are true and do not return void. If He said it, it will happen; it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
I want to use my time wisely, embrace the process, accept the gradual – it’s all a part of His plan to make me ready.
This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see. – Corrie ten Boom
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak , and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. – Habakkuk 2:3(NKJV)ShareThis
Just yesterday I wrote about how lately I’ve felt like giving up, how I’m tired of the seemingly constant struggle between what I know to do and what I feel like doing, how nevertheless I will continue. And then at church last night the speaker talked about quitting, about how we are engaged in a battle, about how we must choose to keep fighting. We must finish to obtain the reward. We have to press on if we want the prize. Winners are not those who don’t fail, they are those who don’t quit.
Then he made a statement I’ve been pondering since: We often equate our level of comfort with God’s approval in our lives. I know I’ve done that – made myself believe that because things aren’t going right I must be out of His will. And where did we ever get that idea anyway – that God’s will is cozy, warm, and fuzzy – that if we are living out His purpose for us we will be comfortable?
The Bible is a book of battles, of struggle, of contests, of war. From the Old Testament filled with actual battles to the New Testament’s references to internal struggle – the competition between spirit and flesh – His word is filled with discomfort. His way is not easy, in fact, it goes against everything born within us, our carnal nature. Is it comfortable to love and forgive those who hurt us and use us? Is it relaxing to take up our cross and follow Him? It is easy to follow all of His commands?
Following Him involves risk; it includes sacrifice. He never said it would be easy, but He said He would be with us. He promised he would comfort us, not make us comfortable.
I am learning to view my struggles as an indicator, not of my weakness, but of His work in me.
Satan doesn’t waste his time on those who are not a threat to his kingdom, so if you are fighting today, be encouraged – that means you are on the right road. He wants you to give up, but don’t give in. No one can fill your place – no one else has your unique set of talents and abilities. You are here for such a time as this, and remember, you will reap a harvest IF you do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
Fight the good fight of faith. – I Timothy 6:12 (NIV)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of eveil in heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. – Ephesians 6:12-13 (NIV)
But God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through. – Francis ChanShareThis
We all live in glass houses –
Mounds of stones stacked on our lawns.
Some by others hurled,
But only we can choose:
Throw back, make war
Construct prisons, confine
Pile high, wall others out.
Anchor firm, fortify
Shape sculptures, build shrines
Assemble stacks, trip others,
We all live in glass houses –
Mounds of stones stacked on our lawns.
Some by others hurled,
But only we can choose.
Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose. – Proverbs 18:21 (MSG)ShareThis