The path to battling an inner turmoil with grace and compassion
Posted in , Jan 17, 2018
The post-holiday season is a difficult time for many, especially those who battle some form of turmoil in their lives such as depression and anxiety. For them, it can take a lot of effort just to put on a happy face each day. Recently, I came across an article by author Lily Burana who shared her battle with depression and how faith, grace and medicine have helped her manage it and live a better life.
As a child, Burana battled bouts of depression salted with anxiety even before she knew what those words meant. She always attended church and Sunday school but still faced these inner struggles. By adolescence, depression, sarcasm and cynicism had become her “holy trinity.” As she grew into adulthood, Lily became less interested in church and eventually faded away from her faith. And although she appeared to live a full and happy life, she still felt desperate, alone, scared and worthless. At her lowest point, she asked God for a sign that her life meant something. It was only minutes later that a bald eagle soared across the sky above her; God delivered a sign. She cautiously returned to church albeit with low expectations.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
It wasn’t long before she realized that her return to church would help heal her soul. As she examined her depression through Biblical teachings, Lily wrote: “Being restored by grace doesn’t feel like some cloud-walking bless-fest or levitation into an upper stratosphere of piety. Instead, it feels like comfort, acceptance and resilience. A place to retreat, to just sit, breathe and be.”
She made note that God didn’t reach down and whisk away her depression. However, her faith along with medication has made living with it more manageable. Lily stated, “For nothing has helped me recover more than receiving God’s grace. Through faith in Christ, I feel less alone, less ashamed and less likely to conceal my suffering.”
God doesn’t always remove depression and anxiety from all people, but He helps all to manage it with faith, medicine, caring friends and lots of grace. There is no shame in battling depression. If you find yourself in a low place, may you find help and God’s grace. Be kind and gracious to yourself. And for those who don’t battle this illness, come alongside those who do and offer compassion.
Lord, provide respite, retreat and grace to those who battle turmoil inside.