‘Hi what is your story?’, is something that I’ve been asked on more than a few occasions. What was my answer?
“Hi, I’m Abbie, and I have suffered with depression for around 9 years, I have an anxiety disorder and I am autistic (I’ll get on to that in another blog post).”
Who I am was directly linked to what I dealt with. But the problem is, is that I am not my depression. I am not my anxiety. I am a daughter of the most high king, the ruler of the universe. That is my identity.
This is because it doesn’t ever go away. My identity in Christ will never be shaken. Because he is everlasting (Isaiah 40:28), he never changes (James 1: 17), he is completely perfect in every way (Mathew 5:48). His love is unconditional (Romans 8: 35-39), and he is completely holy (1 Samuel 2:2).
My depression and anxiety while they may never leave, I have the hope that they will. If I put my identity in something that I don’t actually want to be part of me, my whole identity is shaken. My whole being is shaken.
Once I remembering feeling genuinely happy and instead of being a normal person and enjoy it, I panicked. I didn’t know what to do and I completely freaked out. Why did I panic? Because I didn’t know who I was without the depression, but here’s the thing:
Even though anxiety and depression is part of my story, it’s part of what I’ve been through, but it isn’t my whole story. It doesn’t explain my love for Jesus, my love for my family and my friends. It doesn’t explain when I get excited at my course, or when I cry with a friend. It doesn’t explain my love for sweet potatoes (shout out to my housemates who can vouch for this). It doesn’t explain why I love music and my guitar.
It’s a label that can be useful in treatment but it isn’t me. My life is built on the foundation of my love for Jesus and his incredible all-consuming love for me. It is built on the fact that he has me secure in his arms, and will never let me go.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t still have anxiety attacks at church or spend the service crying (which has literally happened, the whole service, again my church family can vouch for this). It doesn’t mean I still don’t sometimes struggle with church. It doesn’t mean I still don’t suffer with these things. But I can see it’s for a season.
I don’t know how long the season will last for, if it will last for 6 weeks or 10 or 20 more years. Or even my lifetime. But the things about seasons, is they change eventually. No matter how long it is I know it’s going to change, and when that happens, I will still be secure in my identity as a child of the risen king.