“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present” ― Lao Tzu.
I often struggle with bouts of depression and anxiety. Honestly, it's no fun. I feel like I'm in a dark underground tunnel with no way to escape. Climbing out of a depressive state isn't easy, and healing anxious thoughts sometimes seems even more complex. However, I talk about what I’ve been through with both because I hope that I can help others deal with their issues by sharing my story.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV).
After rereading this scripture, I had a breakthrough moment—realizing my lack of patience had been significantly contributing to depression and anxiety. I knew I had to do things differently for the peace I wanted to flood my heart and change my life.
Growing up, I always had big dreams for my life and where I would be by certain ages. I wanted to have my first child before I turned 27 because my mother had waited to start her family, and it was a matter that her family always brought up. I wanted to have kids close in age with my sisters so that my kids would be close in age with their cousins and could be friends. I wanted to be set in my career by 25 because that’s what many mainstream shows and movies depicted as what a competent adult looked like.
When my dad passed, I was broken. The biggest goal I wanted to achieve was having kids before either one of my parents died. Seeing each of those missed milestones as I got older wounded me. I was upset at my past self for not working harder to reach those goals. I was worried about whether I would ever get to the future that I saw for myself.
My father died young. As devastating as this was for my siblings and me, it was a horrible blow to my mother. I believe his death dredged up the remembrance of her mother's untimely death. I saw how much losing a parent affected my mother. Hearing stories of my grandmother, for whom I am named, has been a bittersweet challenge. Her early death meant I missed the opportunity to have a relationship with her. This was also a hard thing to deal with growing up.
My recent prayers have motivated me to ask God for strength to forgive myself for my past and to have more patience to wait for the ending he has in store. I trust that the rest of my life always has the potential to be better than the beginning!
The words of Ecclesiastes 7:8 is a constant reminder to us that despite the hardships, we have God's promises to look forward to. While doing so, we're building our faith by exercising patience. Though I've combated deep regret, sadness, and remorse, there's hope on the horizon. Likewise, many of us may be struggling now, but it is only the start of God’s plans for us. No matter our age or position in life, God has a bright future planned. One that’s so much better than anything we could have dreamed of.
Prayer: Father God, I thank you for being an on-time God. It may not be my timing, but your timing is always right. I thank you for forgiving me and teaching me how to forgive myself. I ask that you continue to lead me down this path you have just for me and allow me to be a light for others. In your son Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!
Your turn: Are there promises you need to exercise your faith to believe? Does it feel like you're still waiting for your real life to start? Any struggles with either depression or anxiety? If so, what have you done to heal?