Don’t Feed the Monster

MonsterRecently, I had a conversation with some friends over lunch about depression. For those who don’t know me, I have become a spokesperson on depression as I’m open about my own depression. Last fall I spoke at my church’s Women’s Ministry event about depression and suicide, which for some was a radical idea. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma when it comes to being a Christian and being depressed — some think they cannot go hand-in-hand. Well, they can.

It’s important for me to say that now because if you don’t think it could happen to you, you are going to ignore it. You are going to ostracize people who do have it. You are going to judge them or yourself. You will not be real with yourself, others, and even God about what you are going through. And if you can’t bring sin into the light, it will surely keep its control over you.

So, with all of that said, during the meal I made a nonchalant statement in reference to depression, “I have learned to not feed the monster.”

Later on my friend asked me what I meant by that. And this is what I said.

Feeding the Monster

I look at depression like a monster. The more I feed it, the more it will grow and take over my life. What is this food? Well, it’s lies, negative self-talk, and hyperbolic statements. I know that I am feeding the monster when I start to use the language, “never or always”; when I tap out of my day-to-day activities; when I isolate myself; or start using phrases like “I should…” as guilt and shame are high calorie foods.

This monster will grow and grow until I become the monster.

God says we should be filled with the Holy Spirit (and not this monster). So what do I do when I notice that I am feeding the monster? I decide that it needs to be fed by the Holy Spirit instead.

Feed it with the Holy Spirit

How do I do this? I read and memorize Scripture. I pray and mediate. I worship and remember God and His faithfulness. I count my blessings and make gratitude a priority. I spend quality time with friends. I take a posture of humility and I tap back into my life.

No longer is it fed with lies, but instead it’s fed with truth. It’s fed with fruit of the Holy Spirit and it is nourishing. And instead of acting like a monster, I am kind, patient, loving, self-controlled, faithful, and gentle. Everything that the monster attempts to destroy.

How This Has Worked For Me

For the past three years I have been actively doing this and I must say when I fall into depression I don’t stay there that long.  I recognize my triggers, and instead, go to God for help.

Because in the end that’s what I have learned the most. Depression sucks, but I don’t let it go to waste. I use it to be a catalyst to strengthen my relationship with God. It reminds me that I can’t do it on my own and that it’s okay! I have a Father who loves me, who pursues me, who cares for me, who heals me, and who reminds me that I am not alone.

The Monster may always be there. It may be a thorn that is never taken away and I have learned to accept it because I am no longer afraid of it. It’s not a monster that stirs up fear, but rather pity. It only knows what I give it. And if I give it the Holy Spirit instead of my sin, God can redeem it.

*I apologize to all spiders for using you as an example of a monster, but let’s be real, you are one. 

7 Things: May 2017

1. Looking

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2. Watching

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3. Listening

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4. Reading

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I have been slowly re-listening to the audio books of Harry Potter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read or listened to HP, and each time I learn something new. There’s many themes and plots that are found in this one that are later mirrored in Deathly Hallows.

5. Sharing

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I booked this place with my bestie for our Scotland trip! I am so incredibly excited to read in that room.

6. Learning

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My back is all out of whack again, so I am learning new stretches and exercise routines to help my back and overall health.

7. Anticipating

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A Simple Book Review: Humble Walk

17545195_1153412608115580_570836955456015731_oMy old neighbor and friend I seem to run into a lot around Chicago, Taylor Lyall, wrote a book! I have mentioned it before, but I wanted to write a post specifically dedicated to it.

It’s called Humble Walk: Lessons from a Simple Man Following Jesus.

Like it’s namesake, the book is simple. It’s 150+ pages of wisdom and experience of this man’s journey with God; however, just like anything with God, it’s also profound.

I had so many moments with God whilst reading this book. Sitting on the Blue Line, standing in my kitchen, laying on my couch, and walking around my living room, all were moments where I encountered God. He totally used this book to encourage, affirm, and inspire me.

Read it.

Some of my favorite takeaways

When you are running away from sin,  you are running toward Jesus whose greatness is incomparable to the things you gave up. When we flee from our sins, we take away the tools used by the enemy in his attacks against us.

Sometimes, it just takes a little patience and courage for God to use you in a big way. All you have to do is be obedient to Him… The Holy Spirit is alive and wants to talk to us! God didn’t just write the Bible to have us follow by ourselves. He sent us a Helper who wants to interact with us daily. How cool is that?

We have budgeted money so that if someone is struggling financially or we want to bless someone, we will be free to make split-second Spirit-led decisions.

You can learn more about him, his work, and purchase a copy of his book on his website.

I hope it blesses you like it blessed me.