Life Lessons

My reason for continuing this blog is I guess to try and give you an honest and true journey of a christian girl trying to overcome this ugly disease known as depression as well as dealing with everything reality throws at me.
Hopefully, it will give you a bit more insight and understanding as to what it feels like and the up/down struggle that continually occurs as someone fights their way through.
I may be healed, and I stick by this, but it doesn’t mean that life is smooth running and depression does like to show its face every once in a while.

Life can let you down.
You can let people down.
People can let you down.

There are hard times and lessons to be learned. .

This year has been one of the most challenging years of my life.
And it’s only April.
I have made some of the biggest mistakes of my life.
I have put a dent in friendships that might never be able to be repaired.
I have lost opportunities.
I have been hurt beyond anything I have felt before.
I have been heartbroken.
And I still feel lost.

As I sit with tears rolling down my cheeks I reflect (well try) and look at the lessons all of this has taught me.

1) We mess up and we can do it big style.
Sometimes you think you know yourself but then you go and surprise yourself. This is exactly what I did a few weeks ago. I became a person I did not recognise; I had never seen before; I did not know existed. It changed the way people saw me. I struggled to come to terms with what I had done and how I would ever get over it. This set me back right to square one. I started to allow these mistakes to define me which eventually led to me to seep deeper into the depression. All I could see was the fog in front of me and feel that self-hate that likes to creep in. These feelings were made worse due to being so vocal about my christianity to then portray this person I felt I had betrayed everything I was trying to reflect. How could I ever talk about God again? I was just another hypocrite right? Wrong.
As embarrassing as this is, it was JB’s lyrics “people make mistakes, doesn’t mean you have to give in” that brought me back to reality.
My lessons; we will always make mistakes but they don’t define you and you don’t have to let go when you mess up. We will hurt people but the most important part is how you deal with it afterwards. You can’t take back what you have done but you can always do your part to apologise, make it up to them (sometimes this takes thinking outside the box). Then use this experience to change. As JB says (once again sorry) “My reputation’s on the line, So I’m working on a better me”

Secondly, I am not perfect, I messed up pretty bad. I wanted nothing more than to hide my face and run away from everything most especially Jesus – the one who saved me. I couldn’t face even going to church because I reckoned I must be the worst person in the world so God couldn’t love me anymore. That was it, my last performance was the final straw. Yet, if I had done that, then I would have completely missed the point of who I believe God is. He is a God of grace not of chances. I am not a true reflection of Christ but his forgiveness towards me shows his true character more than I ever could. Even when people find it difficult to forgive (believe me I understand that but we’ll get to that later) he forgives (Mark 3:28-29; 1 John 1:9). It was the small reminder of his grace that finally allowed me to overcome what I did and again fix my eyes towards him and get back on track.

2) Sometimes I still feel as if all I am doing is “surviving”.
Kate Nash’s song , Foundations, says it best (well in my opinion at least) “my finger tips are holding on the cracks in our foundations” (I am aware this is about a relationship but please just roll with me on this one). If you imagine a toddler taking their first steps and they have to watch their feet as they carefully plant each step. This is what it feels like in life – you slowly plant your foot hoping that each time you won’t fall.
My lesson; make sure you have someone “surviving” with you. Tell people and you will find someone who is willing to hold your hand as you take each step. I have been so unbelievably blessed (cliché I know) with the girls I live with and family/friends around me that even when I feel I am only “surviving” they survive alongside me and that always makes those steps a wee bit more confident until I gain my full stride again.

3) Situations and people in life can let you down and set you back.
Relationships can hurt, friendships can hurt and circumstances can hurt.
Confession time, for a long time this year I found it difficult to get rid of the bitterness, anger and frustration I have felt about particular things that have happened. It built up until literally (and I mean quite literally) I exploded. Basically, this is me confessing I was finding to difficult to forgive when I needed to do it most and this lead me to turn into what I can only describe as a monster.
I got lost thinking that forgiveness was just bottling up all the hurt people had cause me, I told myself “negative” feelings shouldn’t be felt and I had to carry on with life, being happy go lucky with everyone I saw. Making an effort to put a massive smile on my face and appear super friendly. Underneath the surface my walls were being slowly torn apart and the emotions were fighting against me as I tried to push them lower and lower. Yet, even in the bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) it in fact permits us to feel all these emotions. The emotions aren’t the problem it can be the actions produced by them that causes the issues – as I have discovered the difficult way.
My lesson: forgive and learn to properly forgive, not your own version of forgiveness. Colossians 3:13 hit me in the face the other day, if I was to forgive others then I need to understand God’s forgiveness for me. When I look at my life and the things I have done I want to bury myself in a hole but despite this I am forgiven. I started thinking if God can forgive me for what I have done then how can I carry on showing unforgiveness to others. Forgiveness is not defined as pushing negative feelings to the back of your mind in a hope they just up and go but completely letting the negative feelings knowing consciously they no longer exist. Honestly, I am still trying to figure out what this looks like and how to really feel forgiveness – it isn’t an easy task. However I know that it is what I need to do for my own good as well as those around me.

My final lesson and probably the most important one I have learnt is to never give up and teach yourself to see the good in yourself.
I still struggle to see the good in myself, in fact I fail to see the good in myself.
So in those times when I feel lost, hurt, betrayed, ashamed, guilty, embarrassed
I look at myself in the mirror usually with a tear-stained face, smudged make-up and a faint, vulnerable smile and I tell myself
“You are beautiful”
It isn’t all about appearance (although I don’t doubt you reading this are outwardly beautiful) but it is about believing you are a beautiful person.
Right now I don’t believe it but I tell myself so that hopefully someday I believe it enough that it reflects itself in the person I am.
Now I challenge you to do the same even if it is through a sad smile and gritted teeth.
Someday you will come to believe the truth in it.