In the Bible, the apostle Paul writes:
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
These verses, taken from 2 Corinthians, chapter 12, have given me great comfort. As a person who struggles with depression, anxiety, and issues of self-worth, I am confronted so often by my own brokenness. I attempt to fix myself, or at the very least, hide all my hardships from the rest of the world. I put on a brave face and pretend to my family and friends that I am not hurting, but why? Because acknowledging that kind of inner turmoil to people can seem oddly incriminating. We as humans love to feel like we are in control of our lives and our feelings. We want to present ourselves as capable and strong to the world around us. I firmly believe this impulse comes from living in a society that stigmatizes vulnerability and sensitivity.
We live in a fallen world, one where such hardship and pain are unfortunate facts of life, brought about by our own sin. So what point is there in pretending like we never experience any kind of suffering?
My friends, I want to encourage you to be honest about your brokenness. You are not fooling anyone, especially not God. I know first hand what it's like to have a practiced answer whenever anyone asks if I'm okay. I have taught myself to lie like this, to assure people that I am doing well, when as soon as I am alone, I burst into tears. Firstly, this is not healthy. Secondly, it is deceit. It helps no one. No one except the Enemy, who wants to draw us deeper and deeper into relying on our own strength and shunning the comfort of God.
It's okay to not be okay. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with your friends and family. Be honest with God (granted, you can't keep anything from Him anyway, but it will help you to let go of your charade, I promise). You are not less valuable to Him if you struggle with anxiety and depression. When we are open and honest about the pain in our hearts, when we take the time to accept our brokenness, then can we be fully overcome by the love and strength of God, and begin to heal. There is such freedom in knowing that we cannot hide anything from God, in knowing that He understands us and all our pain perfectly. In Isaiah 53:3, Jesus is described as being, "a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." We can trust Him to take care of us, because He has experienced deep heartache, too.
As a person who struggles with depression, I know how difficult it can be to fight against those feelings, to assure myself that they do not define me. We are children of the Most High, and He wants to take care of us. We should keep ourselves in check, and pay attention to what we do with our feelings of weakness and brokenness--do we take them to the Lord, or let them draw us away from Him? I know there have been times when I wanted simply to just wallow in my pain, and let it turn me bitter. But there is no strength in that, there is no healing. We cannot fix ourselves. But we can accept our brokenness while still trusting God to renew us.
Friends, please be honest with each other. There is power in admitting your weakness. Tell others how they can pray for you, and ask how you can pray for them in return. Open your hearts to one another, and boast in the strength of God.
And lastly, have hope, because God is good. Only our Creator has the power to heal those 'infirmities' within us. Infirmity, literally, "a physical weakness or ailment, a lack of strength, a moral weakness or failing." He is able. And I promise, He is faithful to do it.