When you live with depression and anxiety Lent is for living.
In the past I would never have considered myself naïve. In fact, when it comes to living, I’d tell you that I’d pretty much experienced the whole gamut of well, experiences, before I reached my 21st birthday. And, whilst I’d managed to rescue my life from the jaws of drug & alcohol dependency, violence, abuse, prostitution and crime there’s no denying that I’d done it by building a wall around myself. A fortress.
That fortress served as both protection and prison as I waged an internal battle with the misery created out of wrong circumstances, unfair environments and misguided choices. But it was the only way I could maintain my self-belief. A way of protecting who I believed myself to be: a broken, frightened and unwanted child.
Strangely, because I’m not one for baseless religious rituals, I was challenged to consider this period of Lent that occurs in the 40 days preceding Easter. It’s a period of sacrifice, a spiritual discipline, likened to the period of 40 days that Christ spent fasting in the desert prior to commencing His ministry. And, when considered in respect of the ultimate sacrifice made by Christ, 40 days of denial seems relatively inconsequential as an act of reverence and observance.
So it’s with trepidation that this year I’m submitting myself to the Lenten tradition. To believe that perhaps I’m required to provide a sacrifice greater than religious tokenism that would in fact help me to know God better.
And it was in pondering why God would create us with a physical body that’s the subject of “entropy, decay and eventual death” (Thank you Amy Farrah Fowler and Lois Holt.) that I found something worth sacrificing. Because why, with infinite resources at His disposal, would God deliver us into a universe to be subjected to the whims of each other’s free will choices? And why, in my free will am I continually conflicted between who I am and who I was intended to be.
I’m certainly no theologian, but in reading the biblical account of the creation it appears that until God breathed life into man, he was nothing but a neatly packaged bundle of dust. And that the intention of God, to make man in His image, relates to our ability to think and feel and exist.
It’s perhaps because of that intention that I’m inclined to believe that I am a god. Dictator of my own universe. I decide what I will do and where I will go. I am self centred and self-serving. And, I’m inclined to believe that I am always correct in my thinking and willing to dismiss others who think differently. And, if I am inclined to believe that I’m unworthy, I must be, unworthy.
So during this period of Lent (and beyond) I am attempting to sacrifice my incorrect beliefs about who I am. I’m relying on God to sustain me by revealing His truth about who I am. Who He created me to be. And, I’m choosing to believe that instead of being in control of my own universe that I am free to roam through His at my pleasure.
So, if during this time of Lent, the fortress I built to protect me from the world, is to be breached then let it be breached with an intention to live with liberated abandon in a universe created for God’s pleasure and let me be pleasing to Him.
Mable Vine: “You cannot be proud and expect to be transformed away from your sins. You need to humble yourself and have a spirit of repentance within you. Then you will see real change.”
Deb Shugg is an awarded business woman, wife & mother, author and a sufferer of depression and anxiety. To contact Deb click here.
If you need help to deal with your symptoms see your doctor. If you need to talk to someone NOW call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
(Abuse of another person is NEVER okay. If you are being abused or, if you are an abuser please seek help.)