I’ll never forget being in college on fire for the Lord and praying that I would never get too comfortable in my life.
I asked God not to let me become a mediocre Christian that just went through the motions, settling for weekly church attendance, 3.5 kids, a minivan, and a comfortable, easy life. I wanted to be moved. I wanted to hurt a little, be challenged, and get out of my own way. I was on fire and I didn’t want the burn to ever cease.
Fast forward twelve years and that “comfortable” Christian with the minivan who attends church weekly with three kids wore my face. And what I judged to be “mediocre Christians just living too comfortable” were really just adults who were tired, struggling with anxiety and depression, and maybe a little disillusioned with life and the monotony of it.
Where was the fire? All I wanted was Netflix and a bed. My joy was found in getting the kids to sleep so I could eat ice cream and not have to share.
I had become a shell of what I once was — of the woman I wanted to be. What happened to that on-fire girl?
I read a quote recently from Gisele Bundchen where she said, “I had a wonderful position in my career, I was very close to my family, and I always considered myself a positive person, so I was really beating myself up. Like, ‘Why should I be feeling this?’ I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel bad, but I felt powerless. Your world becomes smaller and smaller, and you can’t breathe, which is the worst feeling I’ve ever had.*” Yes, that was it. That was so much of how I was feeling.
One day I woke up, sat up in bed, and thought, “I don’t want to live like this. I don’t want to let life’s waves roll over me. I want to enjoy my life and my family. I want to feel alive again. Lord, please help me.“
I knew He wanted to help me because He loves me and cares for me.
Because of that morning, and that choice, I spent two years wrestling with how to live a wide-awake life. I tried all sorts of things to wake up like eating healthy, finding cafes with the best croissants and enjoying them with my children, slowing down and quitting my blog for a year, and a variety of other things I wrote about here.
Those things were extremely helpful in getting me out of the funk I was in, but there was more under the surface that needed tending to.
Through the searching and questioning and stretching and begging God for help, I began to see that while God gave us minds and hearts and guts and bodies to be able to choose how we want to live, sometimes those minds and bodies and hearts need more help than our determined will can give them.
I learned that in surrendering my judgments and my pride, the things that told me I could fix myself and get myself together and be better on my own strength, I could get real help so that I could live. And in the weakness of surrender, God filled me with His strength which led me to seeing that much of my struggle was with anxiety and depression. Once He showed me the truth, He led me to getting help for the anxiety I tried to overcome and the depression I couldn’t climb out of. He led me to put my kids in school and to trust Him when I was afraid (Where can they go from His presence? Nowhere, not even school.). He began to show me that the negative thought patterns that looped in my brain weren’t the truth. Oh, how gentle His leading.
There are so many things I don’t know, but I do know this: God cares for you and delights to help you.
If you will lay down your will and your pride and trust Him, wait for Him, He will lead you. He will show you the way. He will bring you help. He will lift you out the pit and into the light. And when you’ve come from the pit and are now free in the Light, healed and vulnerable, you will experience what it means to live fully alive.
And fully alive women change the world because they know what God’s love can do, and they know their stories aren’t theirs to keep but rather to share so others will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
I praise God for His help and His love. He is so good and so kind and so gentle. If you’re struggling today, ask Him to show you the truth and then surrender all.