What do we do when the shame feels too much to get up from?
We know depression and anxiety are very real, most of us have experienced some version of them, so why do we feel so alone in them? I think it is because the enemy wants us to feel alone. If you have never read the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, you should. It is a story of the way the enemy tries to deceive us.
Lewis writes a conversation between the devil and his demons here on earth and how to better deceive us. He says things like “The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.” When we sit in our shame, depression, anxiety, anger, sadness, whatever “it” is we continue to disable ourselves from ever taking action. We become numb to the thought of “it will always be this way, I will never be happy again.” Let’s end this cycle.
We serve a good God and he does promise to deliver us and help us through hard things, BUT the decision to see the good is in our hands! I remember sooo many sleepless nights and tear filled days at Baylor when my intense body image struggles really began. I remember asking God for help, I remember waking up to another day struggling to even get up to go to my classes. I remember not wanting to eat in front of people because I felt so fat. I remember almost sprinting back from my classes to my quiet little room where I could be close to free from what people may think of me.
I wish I had done a better job of fighting. Granted, yes there were a lot of times I did make myself go to dinner with friends and not skip my classes and get to practice and rehab and counseling and coffee dates, but there were a lot of times I did give in to locking my room door, not telling my friends about my struggles and numbing those struggles with Netflix, food, and self pity.
I remember specifically one time in high school when the injuries had been real bad for a long time and I was beginning to lose hope I went to a Passion City Church service and Louie Giglio spoke. Now, when people ask me who I wanna get coffee with or who would be my mentor I always think Louie first because The Lord used him and passion SO much to continue to bring hope into my life during my dark times. However, this Passion service was different, I remember totally numbing out during Louie’s sermon and wondering why I didn’t “feel” hopeful when he was speaking.
I was confused and disappointed in myself and my life. I was like “if freaking Louie Giglio, my #1 hype man can’t help me who will?! Am I that far gone? Will my life really never get better?”
It took a while to get out of that numb place with church and worship and every area of my life. I think that church service was where I realized how “messed up” I was and how I needed hope that my life could be good without running. Passion and church and Jesus had always helped me have hope before, but my hope seemed all dried up even in the most hopeful place I knew.
I had two motivational quotes that helped me during my hardest “I cannot get up/I cannot sleep” days at Baylor. They were “actually I can” and “one day at a time.” Telling myself, actually I can, no matter what anyone or anything else says to me motivated me through all of the long cross training workouts and lonely mornings of rehab by myself. Telling myself one day at a time helped me realize that if I look at the big picture it seems to big for me to tackle, but if I know I just have to trust God today, just this one more day I can be disciplined, hang out with people, etc, etc.
If I knew I only had one more day I could do it. It is kind of like if you are trying to lose weight ten pounds may seem impossible because it takes months of good eating and working out and if you mess up once you give up hope. Knowing God was with me “today” in the present to help me helped more than anything else because I knew even if I messed up today it did not mean forever was messed up. And if I did good today and trusted God and worked hard then I felt good about myself and was not stressed about how I would do “good” for the next 90 days, I just needed to do good and be hopeful and disciplined THAT day.
That day is today. (well I posted this at night, so tomorrow!) decide to say “actually I Can” because my God can. And know that Jesus is with you TODAY and does not want you to continue to “numb” out. Do not give into the feeling of shame leading you to inaction, it truly only leads to more shame and sorrow. Tell the devil “not today” and ask Jesus for your help.
Yes and amen.