It Is Not Too Hard
By Stephanie Olson, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
Why is it that the enemy seems to know the right buttons to press to kick us when we’re down? Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling vulnerable, the same old tapes play in your head? The same ugly feelings rise up? I know I’m not alone in this one.
One of my triggers is my self-esteem. I spent years not believing I was good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or thin enough. I spent years feeling worthless. When Satan attacks me personally, he tends to go right where it hurts—my self-image. I can easily get to a place in which I start believing I can’t do anything right. I’m not a good mom, I’m not a good wife, I’m not attractive, and on and on. It doesn’t matter what is going on; it can be a very little thing, and all of a sudden, I feel like a failure. That’s not God, by the way. And even when I know this, it can be very hard to stop those thoughts from rising up.
The other day I felt myself sinking into a depressed state of mind. What I realized immediately was that even though I can’t stand feeling like that per se, it feels (as one of my friends so aptly put it) familiar. What is familiar, whether right or wrong, can be very comforting. In a weird, sick way, that feeling of sinking depression almost seemed comforting. It is what I know. Have you ever been there? Even on a more minor scale wanting to sit and sulk, not wanting to be cheered up.
I called one of my dear friends, who I knew would give me godly advice. I recognized it was Satan’s handiwork, but that doesn’t always make it easy to climb out of the pit. She told me a story of her son who struggles with controlling his emotions in difficult situations. Recently he hurt himself and was having trouble gaining his composure. While his mom comforted him, she explained to him that he was the only one who could make this situation better. No one could help him do it. Through his tears, he said, “Mom, it’s too hard.”
It is too hard. It’s too hard to pull out of a depression. It’s too hard to stop an addiction. It’s too hard to stop yelling at the kids. It’s too hard to stop eating for comfort. It’s too hard. It’s too hard unless we do it with the strength of Jesus Christ. Without Him, it’s too hard. But with Him, we can do anything.
Here is what Ephesians 3:14-18 says: “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.”
I had a choice when I felt myself sinking into a depression. I could go to that place of the familiar, or I could fight it with all I had, fall on my knees, and allow Christ to empower me with inner strength through His Spirit. That’s what I chose to do. I spent the morning in prayer. I actually prayed for myself (again, thanks to the godly wisdom of my friend), worshiped the Lord in song, and read His Word. I allowed Him to minister to me and let Him tell me how much He loves me. I am accepted by Him.
That very morning, instead of isolating myself like I would have done in the past, I had breakfast with a good friend and allowed her to minister to me. We had a wonderful time in tears and laughter. At one point, a woman, who I don’t know very well, walked by our table. I stopped her and said hello and introduced my friend. She said hello and then looked at my friend and asked her if she was my daughter! My daughter! Granted, I’m older but only by five years! After my initial shock and outburst, when the woman left, we had an amazing laugh. The laughter spread from not only my friend and me, but to many in the restaurant, including most of the staff.
It was as if Satan was saying, “I had her in my hot little hands, and now I’m losing my grip on her. I’ll give it one more shot by nailing her self-esteem!” Yup. Pretty lame comment, Satan! That one we’ll laugh at! Isn’t that just like God? Turning something that could go bad into laughter! Turning our mourning into joy! What a God we serve!
So, do yourself a favor. Whenever you feel yourself slipping into that familiar pain, sadness, shame, or sin, give it over to God. Take it to Him. He wants to take it from you. You are loved!