I was created for darkness.
Not to be darkness, but to be the light in the darkness of this world. This is a concept I am still reconciling in my life, and honestly, I think I will struggle with this concept on some level for most of my days. Is there a darkness hovering around your days, an overwhelming feeling of sadness that you just can not get away from?
I have experienced depression for ten years no, give or take. My world started to get a little darker, day by day, around the age of fifteen. Through years of therapy, medication, and prayer, I have learned that this is just a part of my story. One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with depression has been how it interacts with my faith. For years, my depression terrified me. It held me captive and dictated my days, and distracted me from the Jesus I so badly wanted to believe in, with whom I so badly wanted to spend every moment.
My depression told me that I could not believe in a just God and believe that my struggles were real. Let’s stop right there for a moment and get one thing very clear: regardless of your belief in God or religious leanings, depression is a liar. Depression feeds on your fear, on your loneliness, on your hardest experiences. Your struggles are real, your story is important.
It took years for me to know, and really believe, that my depression is not a punishment, not a result of sin, or a simple reaction to childhood trauma and adolescent stress. While my trauma, stress, and sin do play into my daily life, my depression is not something God placed in my life as a result of these events. God is not the cause of my depression, but he is the redemption of my struggle with depression.
I have lived in the darkness, and I have found the light of Jesus. I have finally, finally surrendered to the knowledge that God has a purpose for my struggles.
I was created for darkness. I was created to be a light in that darkness, to point back to the light of Jesus that will not be overcome by the darkness of our enemy or our world. I have been meditating on John 1:5 countless times this week. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. God does not promise us an easy life or a life free of darkness, but he does promise that that darkness will not overcome his light.
If you are not in a place to believe that there is light inside of you and that the darkness will not overcome you, please know that it is okay. It is okay to not be okay, to struggle every moment of your day to stay afloat and not let the darkness drown you. Please know that I have been in your shoes and I can tell you with absolute certainty that it does get better, that God is redeeming your story, even if you can not see anything other than darkness.
Take a deep breath and write yourself a note – it can be as simple as a post it note or the back of a receipt from your last grocery run. Write down the following words, even if you don’t believe them yet:
Depression feeds on your fear, on your loneliness, on your hardest experiences. Your struggles are real, your story is important. Darkness will not overcome the light.
Put this note somewhere you will see it everyday. I pray that this reminder will make it even a little bit easier to breath today.