*Originally published last year, I feel prompted to repost this on the blog this Monday, November 30, 2015* I pray it speaks to your hearts once more.
I was given some very good advice early on in life by a personal mentor of mine, at the tender age of eighteen.
I wish I had known then just what a gift it would be, and continue to be, 21 years later. It was probably not a pivotal moment for them… they were just giving some needed council to a teenager who had discovered she was pregnant, and was scared and unsure, and feeling lower than low.
But to me, the simple statement was something I buried deep in my heart, and decided to heed, and it was the very thing that gave me back some dignity and convinced me that I didn’t have to fall into the trap of thinking I was a lost cause. That from that point on I could only live in defeat.
The truth was, I was far from it. But when you look at the chaos a teen pregnancy causes two families, two teenagers, two churches, and two sets of parents, it’s hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t cloaked in disgrace, failure, and calamity. And the mistake is to take that and let it dictate how you live the rest of your life. Their advice gave me another option.
Their advice removed the negative and instead gave promise where there was none a mere moment before. It gave me the choice to get things back on track, and to start a new journey with a new plan to step up to the challenges coming, and allow God to work in my circumstance, and to be brave for my new little family.
And now I have to share it with you.
Because it’s what everyone needs seared into their hearts at some point, and it’s what can restore to you your true identity.
“You don’t have to let this define you.”
Hear that again!
You DON’T have to LET this DEFINE you!
Eight words that brought release to a pregnant teenager, and eight words that once again bring release to this adult with chronic depression.
I say it to myself when I feel like I should just give up. I say it to myself when I feel like I’m forever going to be chained to this disorder, and I say it to myself when I’m afraid it’s the only thing people are going to see anymore when they look at me. Just like I did at eighteen. I choose not to let this define me.
I am NOT my Dysthymia.
I am MORE than my Dysthymia. I’m a writer. I’m an artist and photographer. I’m a singer. I’m a mom. I’m a wife. A daughter, a sister, a niece, and a granddaughter. I’m a Green Bay Packers Fan. I’m a Canadian. And I’m a child of the Most High. And I refuse to let myself be defined by something I can’t control on my own.
Chronic Depression is something I have.
IT’S NOT WHO I AM.
And if I ever have trouble believing it, I just turn to the Word and all doubt is removed. For if my God can be THIS invested in me then gosh golly I’m going to let HIM define who I am….
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.”
If He sees it all, if He sees the big picture, and if He doesn’t define me by my flaws and illnesses… then who I am to allow myself to do that?
You are not your depression.
You are not your mistakes.
You are not your circumstance.
You are not your handicap.
You are not your past.
You’re treasured, you’re delighted in, you’re fearfully and wonderfully made, and you’re on His mind.
Don’t believe me?
Read Psalm 139:13-18 and let the words bring a release from that label you got tagged with, or that label you’ve given in to.
Depression. Illness. Handicaps. Situations. Traumas. Mistakes and failures. Losses.
There is SO MUCH MORE TO YOU. Let them see your true identity! Not sure how? God will enable you. Know why? He’s waiting to whisper how much He delights in you, how He has blessings for you, in spite of all this! He sees the real you.
So whatever “this” is right now…?
Don’t let yourself be defined by it.