Closing My 21st Chapter

I’ve been an alarming amount of different people since I turned 18 (how Gavin has loved all of them, I don’t know, but I love him even more for it). Some stages and decisions I’m proud of. Some I am not. But through it all, I’ve shifted and molded into who I am today, and I love her so much. And I love my life. And I love who I’m becoming and where I’m going.

I finally feel like I’m who I was meant to be all along. I’m finally happy with my belief system- even though I know who I am and what I believe is fluid and susceptible to change. I know I’m doing my best with the knowledge and experience that I have at this point in time.

I’m finally happy with my career after several changes. Can we stop expecting high schoolers who have to ask permission to do anything to suddenly be functioning adults with critical thinking skills that know what they want to do until they’re 65? That’s another convo for another day. I edited my first book (someone else’s book, not mine, I’m not there yet), which was huge for me going forward and getting new clients.

I did all of the hard work this last year. I started going to therapy. For some reason, I’m afraid to admit that. Who am I kidding, I know the reason. I’m working on breaking the stigma surrounding getting help for your mental health- even if it’s only within my own circle of reach. If I can encourage someone to get help and it stops them from passing on generational trauma, I want to.

I’ve apologized to myself for constantly expecting me to be further in life and not just letting myself be where I am. I’ve forgiven myself for the times that I didn’t see how much I have to offer. I’ve let go of the things that happened to me that had no reflection on who I was or what I deserved. I’m only responsible for me and what I can control.

I was able to text my counselor 2 weeks ago to say, “Can we cancel my appointment? I’m running out of things to say.” I know that’s a good thing because I’ve gotten everything off of my chest, and I’m free to breathe now. I don’t have to keep reliving it. 

Maybe this was TMI for a birthday post and more than anyone asked for, but I thought about sharing it in a social media caption and didn’t, so I really did try to spare you. I’m working on sharing more of the me that I’ve become in private. So even though I’ll probably have anxiety and cringe at how much I overshared and under proofread when I’m trying to sleep tonight, and maybe for months to come, I have peace knowing that I did what I felt was best for me today. That’s all we can do until our last day.

Biblical Tips For Overcoming Depression And Anxiety

Sometimes, God lets us face trials so that we can help others who struggle with the same issues in the future.

I want to share with you some Biblically based practices that have helped me overcome the depression, anxiety, and fear I was dealing with on a daily basis.

Recognizing that you’re having these feelings is the first step to recovery, and knowing what to do about them is the second.

1. Read Your Bible Before Checking Your Phone

W​hen I start my day by checking social media before I’ve even rolled out of bed and turned on the coffee pot, thoughts of comparison and sadness are usually there to bid me good morning.

Making the conscious decision to not touch my phone before I’ve read my Bible and talked to God always sets the tone for a great day.

G​ive yourself a fighting chance against depression and anxiety by spending the first part of your day with the author of joy and peace versus filling your mind with the opinions of anyone with a Wi-Fi connection.

“​But seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you”-Matthew 6:33

2. Start An “Attitude of Gratitude” Journal

W​rite down at least 5 things that you’re grateful for everyday. 

Eventually, you’ll name all of the obvious ones and will have to start digging deeper to come up with a list.

I like to choose one from multiple categories, such as: a physical blessing, someone I love, progress in an area of my life, a characteristic I appreciate about myself, and an attribute of God.

I​’ve noticed that when I’m so busy thanking God for all He’s done and the beautiful life He’s given me, I have less time to spend worrying about my shortcomings and what I don’t have. This practice also makes me less prone to negativity and causes me to not take the blessings I have for granted.

“D​o not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.”-Philippians 4:6

3​. Take Care Of Your Temple

I​ feel so much more joyful, accomplished, and motivated when I make time to go on a walk and prepare nutritious meals for myself. I’ve found that exercise, sunshine, and the perfect foods that God made for us have helped me tremendously when it comes to the healing of mental illness.

W​hen you show your body that you value it, your mind will respond positively.

Whether it’s taking a bubble bath, watching a wholesome movie, or listening to worship music, find what makes you feel relaxed and do more of it.

D​epression and anxiety are sicknesses, be kind to yourself and allow your temple to heal. 

“​Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”-1 Corinthians 6:19-2

4​. Have A Support System

T​here have been times in my life when my depression and anxiety were manageable and temporary. Other times, I’ve gone months without seeing my friends because I could barely leave my room.

I​f you’re as private as I am, and you would like to try to overcome feelings of depression and anxiety between you and God, I understand. But as soon as you feel like you can no longer handle it on your own​, please tell a parent, friend, pastor, or seek medical help.

F​ind someone who can empathize with and validate your feelings, while giving you wise counsel so that you can gain freedom from bondage.

The devil loses power over us when we decide to not suffer alone. 

There’s no shame in needing people to talk to, pray for us, and seek advice from.

“Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you”-Matthew 18:20

I​ pray these habits help you as much as they’ve helped me, and that you find rest in God’s presence.

B​y His stripes, we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

When One Door Closes, It’s Ok To Mourn.

God always provides us with the encouragement we need when we need it.

Over the weekend, a dream of mine was placed on the back burner in a way.

Last week, I was praying about how much I wanted a specific piece of property for my husband and I to build a house on. I prayed that God would open doors and make a way for us to get it…if that was His will. 

Up until that point, we had our eyes on the land for about 3 years. We already own a home that we have to live in for 2 years (for taxing purposes) before we can put it on the market, so the right time to pursue building our next home never came around.

I hadn’t prayed much about my dream to build right there until the week before God showed me it wasn’t His plan for us right now.

Within days of asking for God’s provision, and above all else, His will, we received news that the property had been purchased. 

But that’s the thing about praying for the “maybes” in our lives. Sometimes it gives God the opportunity to tell us “no” when we’re so hung up on hearing “yes”.

I was deeply disappointed. I went back and forth with grieving and feeling guilty for wrapping so much expectation into something so uncertain and circumstantial. 

Little did I realize, every time I thought of the house that my husband and I would have a family in, I was envisioning us being in that spot. More than me being sad over not getting a certain patch of grass, I was sad to lose the dream of having a cul-de-sac home for my kids across the street from their grandparents.

Throughout this year, I’ve been reading a devotional titled “100 days to brave” by Annie F. Downs.

Let’s say I’ve taken the scenic route through a book that could be finished in a little over 3 months. 

But in my struggle of trying to finish one book before starting another, God used a “weakness” of mine to show Himself to me.

On day 25 of the book, He taught me that it’s brave to dream. This prompted me to pray for an open door to start building a house.

Day 26 showed me to not be afraid of praying hard prayers. Looking back on this devotional, I was encouraged to ask God to open the right doors and close the wrong ones. Though I’m sure, I prayed a little more fervently for an open one.

A couple of days later, after being presented with a closed door, I got around to day 27, which by no coincidence was on closed doors. 

Annie writes, “Brave people commit their work to the Lord and trust that His plan for their lives might not look the way they planned. And that’s okay. If you’re looking at a closed door today, then there’s an open one just around the corner.”

I told myself to get over it. It’s not that big of a deal anyway. The loss of the property doesn’t affect the big picture of our life. We can still build or buy a house somewhere else. God has a plan and it’s not my job to figure it out. But grace.

On day 28, I learned that it’s OK to “mourn dreams that have died”. 

Annie F. Downs tells of her yearning for a husband before her 30s, and subconsciously grieving when this did not come to pass. Annie is comforted when her counselor tells her that “The dreams you thought would come true in a certain time frame never did. You saw a life for yourself that you will never have. You can mourn that loss.” 

And so I did. I let myself grieve for a few days…and then I moved on to the doors that are still open for me.

On day 29, we’re told to “Chase the dreams that are still alive.” 

“God loves to put wings on dreams that His kids chase, dreams that can bring Him glory.”

Having little to do with my classic southern dreams of a white house to clean and babies to kiss, while noble and beautiful on their own, I dream of being a writer and an author.

Although I go through times of feeling discouraged and inadequate in this area of my life, I crave it more than any other earthly goal.

Even when faced with closed doors and disappointments, my dreams are still alive and well, and so are yours.