Fall is here and in full swing, and before we know it there will be snow on the ground. With a change in season comes many changes: the days become shorter, the air becomes cooler, the leaves change color then fall to the ground leaving the trees bare. These are just a few of the environmental changes we experience this time of year, but many of us experience many internal changes. For many of us this time of year can bring change in mood, thoughts, and emotions. Many of us even within the church can battle with depression all year round, but with an increase in the fall and winter months. This can be due in part to shorter days, less sunlight, the thought of upcoming holidays paired with loneliness and family issues. A season that should be filled with joy, hope, and fun can feel dark, lonely, and hopeless. As someone who has battled with anxiety and depression since a teen, I am here to tell you that you are not alone and there is hope.

You Are Not Alone

I truly believe the enemy of our soul wants us to believe we are alone – that only you feel the way you feel, only you have those thoughts or struggle with certain things, and that you are all alone. The truth is we are all fallen; in Romans 8:20 the Holy Spirit through Paul tells us we all are subjected to the curse, to futility. We all have fears and doubts, but as believers it’s important what we do with those fears and doubts and how we respond to them.

When I was at my worst, when fear had all but crippled me to the point that I didn’t leave my home, that’s when I finally gave up. I gave up my fears to Jesus. I gave up my faith in people and things; I gave up my hope in others; I gave up all of my expectations of this life and said, “Lord, here I am.” For months leading up to this I would daily at work sit in my car during lunch crying out to the Lord, weeping and asking Him to empty me of this world. Begging Him to take away all my addictions – addictions to nicotine, coffee, video games, tv. All I wanted was Him because I knew He was all I needed. All of these other things were taking up space in my heart, spaces that He wanted to fill.

Boy did he honor those prayers, those groanings deep within me! Even when I couldn’t pray those things I believe the Holy Spirit was praying them on my behalf (Romans 8:26). So the Lord by His grace and love for me began to take all of these things out of my life, and the doing so was very painful. At times I felt like a Heinz 57 ketchup bottle, getting smacked around and being fully emptied till the last drop was out. I had to trust in Him alone; I looked for comfort in Him alone; I found rest in Him alone. There were no more “things”; there was no more expectations.

During this difficult time there was a song God blessed me with and put within my heart. Here are a few verses I wanted to share to maybe encourage you. (“Yearn” by Shane & Shane)

That I might seek and find
My God, my God
Lord, I want to yearn for You
I want to burn with passion
Over You, and only You
Lord, I want to yearn for You
I want to burn with passion
Over You, and only You
Lord, I want to yearn

An Encouraging Word

I would encourage anyone who is not only suffering with depression or anxiety, but with whatever mountain is in front of you, to give it to the Lord. He wants it; He wants to draw closer to you, and He is faithful even when we are not.

Often times I find our shortcomings in life are just a lack of faith. Do you believe what God says in scripture to be 100% true? Do you believe He can do miracles? Do you believe He loves you so much He sent Jesus to save you? Do you believe that He lives within you and has given you power?

Often times our internal responses to these questions dictate our external results. What we do alone, in private, manifests itself in the story we each tell. When life is tough how we respond can either build our faith and draw us closer to Christ, or it weakens our intimacy with Him as we slide in the wrong direction.

My story, your story can be His story. Jesus has not only given Himself for you, but He now dwells in you and in the believers around you. The Holy Spirit is here to comfort you, so don’t carry this alone. Stop listening to the lie! Ask for prayer, confide in a friend who is a believer, and give it to Jesus.

In the difficult seasons and in the storms of life, remember two things:

  • God is with you (Isaiah 41:10). Just because God is with you doesn’t mean the storm won’t come, but with Jesus with you the storm won’t sink you (Mark 4:37-40).
  • He is your hope, so put your hope in Him. “We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” (Psalm 33:20, NIV)