...is that they're all from Satan.
We left off last with an uplifting note about graciousness and gratitude, and then I fell off the face of the earth for two weeks. Not literally, but I haven't posted here, my Youtube channel, or even the podcast.
The podcast was more of a technical difficulty that eventually faded into the rest of what I will get into, but I want to preface this post with the fact that mental health is a spiritual issue, but it is also a physiological issue. And if you've been following me for a while, then you know that I've struggled with depression and anxiety for many years. Depression and anxiety looks different on everyone who suffers from them. And that is actually true of all mental disorders. No one person experiences them the same way, because there are a variety of factors that can influence the way a disorder manifests within us.
Throughout this time of quarantine and being sick, my anxiety and depression have been pretty bad. I've been worrying about a lot of financial issues, obviously health, and even things of the future. While I can know and even feel passionately that God is sovereign, it is hard for me to stop the physiological effects of stress (from being sick, stuck at home, and medication), which then causes anxiety, which feeds into stress, and leads into depressive thoughts, which causes more stress, etc., and it is a very bad, endless loop. During this time, it's so easy for lies to slip into my mind. Even if I know the Truth to cast out the lies, it's hard to feel okay. An example: my looks. It's not the most important thing in the world to me, but I've been struggling a lot to accept what I've become. As a woman, there are so many societal standards that tell me I'm supposed to look skinny in order to be beautiful. And for a long time, I struggled with my body not being as slim as I'd like. Even though I can't say I was fully satisfied with what it looked like, I accepted it as the body that God gave me, and that I must use to glorify Him and worship Him with. I learned how to dress my body in a socially accepted "flattering" way. I was content learning to love myself and how I looked. After puberty, I was never the skinniest person, but I had a fairly athletic body. I never grew into the ballerina-esque stature my mother hoped for, but my legs and core have always been strong, and my broad shoulders bore the weight of heavy books and my friends' sleepy kids. But God took that away. My shoulders are still broad, but I've lost a lot of muscle and weight. I'm weak, and when I look at myself, I don't know who I am anymore (cue Mulan's Reflection). I've never looked so weak and frail before. For a long time, all I wanted was a small waistline and a slim build - and now I'm at a 23 inch waist, but I feel so... ugly. I mean, there is some truth to that - at 23 inches, I'm flabby, which just goes to show how unfit I am currently. To compare, I was able to see some ab definition even with a larger waistline before I got sick! But the truth is that I'm sick, and it's okay to look sick. My job is to get better, and as I heal, I will stop looking sick. However, the lies that I keep hearing over and over again are how ugly, disproportionate, and ridiculous I look, how I'll never recover, and how I would always look this way. Looking at myself and hearing those lies, doesn't make me feel any better even though I know the truth. I still feel like crap (possibly also just from being sick, but I digress). These lies have been slipping into so many different aspects of my life, and two weeks ago just reached an all-time high.
I received my first reduced paycheck, my body has been extremely exhausted from medication, I've been doing a lot of Instacart deliveries to try and supplement my income, and in the midst of dealing with these financial and health issues, my boyfriend and I had a very bad disagreement, which led to me having a complete meltdown. The lies poured in, and I caved. It was hard for me to do anything. I would get out of bed, do my devotionals, and then climb right back into bed and let the days pass me by. I didn't want to do anything - what's the point? I was just a sick, going-to-die, ugly, unlovable, stupid girl who failed in everything - failed at taking care of herself, failed at keeping her paycheck, failed at taking care of her family, failed at being a Christian, failed at friendship, failed at love, failed at marriage, everything. In the back of my mind, I knew that the Truth contradicted all of these things that Satan was telling me, but I was exhausted. I didn't want to fight - I had no more fight in me. I used all of that fight to try and fight for my health, fight for my paycheck, and fight for my relationship. I submitted to failure and didn't want to accept God's victory, because I didn't want to fight anymore. But the funny thing is that victory that comes from God isn't through our fighting. In fact, He calls us to have peace, which I didn't have. Even when I stopped fighting for my body, career, and relationship, I wasn't resting, despite being in bed for 80 percent of the day.
Yesterday, I went out for a walk, and my body collapsed on me. Not during the walk, praise God. He let me collapse right in front of my own apartment door. I didn't have the strength to turn my key, my knees gave out, and dizziness overtook me. I had a neighbor walk past me, and even though I asked for help, she ignored me, three times! She walked past me twice more when she went back downstairs, presumably to get something from her car, and returned (is this what the man in "The Good Samaritan" felt?). A second neighbour actually found me, and called the paramedics to come when she realized I was complete dead weight and could barely move on my own. People fail, but God still pulls through. We're still in the middle of a pandemic, and most of my neighbours have been staying in. The chances of two people on my floor returning within 15 minutes after I returned from my walk are really slim, and yet God provided. It was not of anything I did, it was God's doing. After the neighbour who walked past me 3 times and didn't help me went back into her unit, I completely lost hope. I didn't control my neighbours' whereabouts, God did. I wasn't sure how long I was going to be there at my door, but God did. I did nothing but accept the help. But isn't that the Gospel message? It's not about what we did, do, or will do, because God has already gone before us. Christ took on all the sins of the world and overcame, resurrecting victorious for our sake, so that God may be glorified. All we have to do is accept Him.
I'm still slowly reflecting, healing, and trying to get out of this slump I'm currently in; I'm remembering and recognizing the blessing that God is patient and merciful, and consistently reaching out to me, reminding me of His love.