Surviving Anxiety and Depression

Posted by Matt Brandenburg, Digital Engagement Pastor, on Oct 09, 2022

Surviving Anxiety and Depression

There is hope for anxiety and depression. You can find and hold onto hope that things will get better as you move forward.

When I was in my 20’s, I went through this stage where I was figuring life out. I had no idea who I was or what to do with my life, and I had unhealthy relationships. On top of that, I was trying to make sense of my own faith.

And I remember this day vividly. I was sitting on the edge of my bed, and I felt this tremor shake my entire body from within. My mind began racing, and my hands were trembling. The room seemed to spin around me as I tried to catch my breath. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was having my first panic attack.

Sometimes it seems weird what triggers us, but that moment was like a physical shift for me, as if my nervous system had had enough. After that, everything in life was tainted by this darkness that no one else could see.

I sunk into a deep depression. I was riddled with daily bouts of anxiety. I didn’t sleep more than an hour a night. I didn’t know anyone who had experienced this, or at least anyone who talked about it. I felt alone. Misunderstood.

The Tension

There’s this verse I’ve seen people hang in their house:

    “'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)

If I’m being candid, I used to hate seeing that verse, because I usually only saw it hanging in places where people were doing well.

Nice houses.

And so I came to associate these words with the people God had “chosen” to bless, but when I’d experience my own dark times, I wasn’t sure it could apply to me.

When I was in those dark times, it was easy to disregard words like those because of the pain I was in. It was easy to ask questions like, “I can see You’ve blessed others, but what about the rest of us?” Or “Maybe there is something good I can hope for in the future, but what good does that do me today?”

For many of us, Scripture verses like those don’t seem to be found in broken places.

The Promise

Many months went by, and one day I stumbled across the same verse again, but something was different, and it really caught me off guard. You see, if you read the whole chapter in context, there’s something else totally different going on.

God’s people were in exile, and He knew it. They were being carried off into captivity, and He wasn’t taking them out of it right away either. But as they go into the darkness, He makes this promise to give them a “hope and a future.” It took a while, but He delivered.

Now, we can’t really always claim that verse to be the exact same promise for us. It was a made to a specific group of people under their specific context. However, I think that, in a way, it reveals a piece of God’s heart for us. God doesn’t enjoy seeing us suffer and doesn’t want us to drift away.

Something about seeing God walk with them in that place changed the way I saw Him.

As I prayed, I began to believe He was with me. Walking alongside me. I did not actually recover from that period of my life for several months, but He began working in me, changing me. And before I had even arrived at a peaceful place, He was using me and opening doors I had not anticipated.

And I think He can do the same for you. If you’re in the middle of something dark, there’s hope. If you’re in the middle of something dark, things might not go back to “normal” right away, but maybe we don’t have to go there to find peace and joy again. Maybe He can begin working in you right where you are. After all, light tends to shine the brightest in the darkness.

And I might even argue that, when we allow Him to use us, that’s a powerful part of what brings us out of anxiety and depression into hope.

Looking for more resources? Visit our Care page or contact Natalie Mitchell at [email protected]

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