Worship

In May I was diagnosed with clinical depression.

Depression looks different for everyone. I had a friend one time who described his as “walking around with a lead x-ray vest on.” I can relate. One day the lead vest is Gorilla Glued to my body…and then the next day I will be cracking jokes and asking friends to grab lunch. On the whole, I am having many more “good” days than “bad” days (PRAISE HANDS) and I celebrate the healing. I also celebrate that I get to return to a culture that similarly wrestles and share with them the hope I have in Jesus!!

When I was diagnosed, I was relieved to have an explanation for my symptoms but I also knew there was a long road ahead. My doctors and I were all in agreement that although there were many components at play, the chemicals in my brain simply were not playing nice and needed some help in ways I couldn’t control on my own. So I started medication. My doctors and I came up with a treatment plan that has additionally included counseling, more rest, wisely reducing commitments, exercise, and healthy eating.

But I knew that would not be enough. The ache in my soul was even deeper than my exhausted and depleted body. My soul needed care.

I’ve closely monitored what media I am consuming: television, podcasts, social media, movies, and music. I’m aware of my need to have honest conversations about what is going on inside my head, speaking Truth to lies. I’ve been more purposeful about the Books I read, as well as setting aside time for prayer and cracking out my journal more often. I find the most comfort in the Word of God (especially Psalm 30) and have found that my heart needs a way to proclaim this Truth of who He is.

I know worship is so much more than just the songs we sing, but in this season I’ve needed the literal psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. (Eph. 5:19).

Pause for a sec: Let me be up front about this –– I do not only listen to Christian worship music. I will debate you all day long about how a good dance party to Yeah! by Usher or Perm by Bruno Mars can be highly therapeutic. (For the record, this is my favorite performance to date.) Plus there’s so much value in being part of culture through music. There’s a wise way and a wrong way to engage with secular music and everyone has different boundaries. So I am not saying that a certain approach is better than another, but rather this is just where I am right now.

The hardest part for me has been that I can’t be all for all. My capacity isn’t what I’m used to. I’ve dropped the ball with friends, forgetting birthdays and anniversaries and other special days. I’m used to being the one giving help, not asking for it. I have no problem admitting that I’m not perfect, but when it comes to asking for help that’s a different story. I love helping other people, but for some reason when I ask for other people to help me I immediately think that I am being a burden. It’s really sad how that’s transferred over into my relationship with God.

What I love about hymns specifically, or other Gospel-centered songs, is that they remind me how God saved me and chose me when I was broken. It gets better…He keeps choosing me and won’t ever stop. My counselor this week asked me if I ever think about how God is happy that He chose to create me. It’s hard for me to ignore the subconscious mantra of “my brokenness is too much” and instead walk in the freedom that God is infinitely bigger than my brokenness. He delights in me, whatever my state.

The beauty of brokenness is that there’s that much more room for Him to shine.

The following are some of my favorite lines from hymns. I need these sweet reminders to replace the nasty lies. These songs remind me of how God delights in me. I am not too much. He’s got this all under control.

“I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small; Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.””
Jesus Paid it All

“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”
Great is Thy Faithfulness

“All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Savior, wholly Thine; Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine. All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy love and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me.”
I Surrender All

“Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch; like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed!
The Lord hath promised good to me, His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be As long as life endures.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we first begun.”
Amazing Grace

 

FreehandTruth_ItIsWell

Surrender

Every summer in college I worked at a summer camp. Each summer would begin with a few weeks of training where the year-round staff would prep us for the delightfully exhausting season ahead. During one of these staff trainings, my director put an interesting spin on a a common illustration. Whenever it comes time to make decisions or face something difficult, I feel like the phrases “open hands” or “offer it up” are uttered nothing short of eight billion times.

If you have said this to me, first of all, I want to thank you. Because as someone who is prone to want to control everything, I know that by you saying this you are trying to get me to remember that I need to let God take His rightful place in my life as Ruler and King. He controls my life; I need to be faithful with what He’s given me.

Back to my camp director’s challenge. All of the ladies on staff were outside enjoying the cool breeze of the afternoon. (Which, who knew there was a place where you could be outside in May and not be sweating buckets? Don’t get me wrong Texas, you’re still my favorite. But sometimes your summers are the worst.) My director bent down and picked up a rock. She told us to think of something in our lives that we are protective over (family, a relationship, grades, etc) that the rock could represent. We often think that by opening our hands, we’re submitting that to God. Which is true to some extent. But think about it, if the rock is still in your hand, you control how high, where the rock goes, and sometimes you close your fingers right tight around it again. What would happen if you took your rock in your palm with your hand open, and then flipped it over? The rock would fall out of your controlling grasp.

I think I’m fairly good at opening my hands to surrender my “rock,” but totally letting go is a different story. I profess with my mouth that I trust God with _____, but my heart and my mind are a lot slower to get on board. I’ve known God for most of my life and been walking consistently with Him for almost 15 years, so why is it so hard for me to let go? I’ve seen and experienced Him being there for me in the darkest of hours, experienced Him provide for me abundantly. But hesitancy still has roots deeper than I would like to admit.

I don’t have any profound revelation or earth shattering point. This isn’t a fully resolved lesson or something that is in the past. It’s not a ‘one and done’ approach.

Surrender is daily obedience.

With each day, let my soul cry “All to Thee, my precious Savior, I surrender all.”