Lately I have been feeling completely deflated. Having won the battle with Depression once before, and being intimately acquainted with that dark, life-sucking monster, I started getting really anxious when I felt its sharp claws digging into my shoulders again.
That familiar feeling of not wanting to go anywhere or see anyone. Not really having the energy to get through the day. Living only for that moment when you can draw the curtains and go back to bed. And this time, with the added fear of going “back there.” I thought I have slain this monster.
Life has been a little messy this year. The last few weeks in particular, has thrown a few curveballs that I have spectacularly missed. There has not been much time to “be still and know…”
I am so thankful for the moments where God still breaks into my humdrum and speaks to my heart, even when I’m rushing to get nothing done. He did that, just a few days ago, as I was driving home from the school run.
In my heart, I had an impression of myself as a boxer. I was standing in the middle of a boxing ring. Beaten down. About to fall. Battered and bruised. Bleeding from the eyeballs! Accross from me, stood my opponent. Huge. Ugly. Snarling. About to deal the final blow.
In the corner of the ring stood my boxing coach: Jesus, the ultimate champion. I heard him call out to me: “Exhale!” As I released a deep breath out, my opponent started to dissipate, like mist in the sunshine. I literally blew him away!
As this image was taking form in my heart, I heard His gentle voice: “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit…” (Zachariah 4:6).
It wasn’t until now, that I had the time to really unpack that image and embrace the reality behind it:
I am trying to fight an opponent that is already defeated.
Jesus has already defeated Depression when he died on the cross and was raised to life. Isaiah 53:5 says that he took the punishment (the beating, the bruises and the wounds) for my peace.
He took the beating, and I got the prize: Shâlôm, Peace. Complete wholeness, soundness. Nothing missing. Nothing broken.
I have victory over Depression, because He has taken the blows. I can take off the boxing gloves, he has already won the fight and declared me the champion.
The opponent’s only power comes from what I believe.
On Sunday morning, as I worshipped in church, I could hardly hold it together. My beautiful friend, Abi, put her arms around me and spoke straight into my heart:
“While we have been worshipping I have been praying for you,” she whispered. “God gave me a Word for you: Resilient. You are stronger than you think. Stop listening to the voice of the enemy that is trying to convince you that you are failing…”
The only power that my opponent has, is the power I give him by believing his lies. He was trying to intimidate me with a reality from the past that I had already outgrown; appearing bigger and stronger than what I was able to deal with.
He fooled me into believing that he had the upper hand, and that there was no way I could take him down. I empowered him (momentarily) because I had forgotten who I was and Who I belonged to.
I am so thankful that in that moment, God raised up Abi, to call out the truth in me. I felt my faith rise up, empowering me to stand. Yes, I am Resilient. I am more than an overcomer!
Victory is as easy as breathing.
The problem with throwing punches at an illusory opponent is that you only end up getting tired and eventually knock yourself out.
Victory comes as we lean into the finished work of Christ, and simply exhale the Word that contain his Spirit.
In John 6:63 Jesus says: “The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making…” (from the Message Translation *emphasis added)
So, when Depression comes knocking on the door, I simply lean into the Spirit of Life and exhale: “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:9)
When my child is suffering and I don’t know how to help, I exhale: “My children are taught of the Lord and great is their peace and undisturbed composure.” (Isaiah 54:13)
When that old habit threatens to take over, I exhale: “Sin does not have dominion over me, for I am not under the law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
When fear of failure tries to intimidate me and keep me from stepping out, I exhale: “Whatever I do, prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)
When the pressures of life try to intimidate me, I exhale: “Overwhelming victory is mine, through Christ who loves me.” (Romans 8:37 NLT)
I am not fighting. I am breathing!
Whatever “monster” is staring you down in the boxing ring, can I encourage you to hang up your boxing gloves, lean into Jesus and exhale? You can overcome your opponent. One breath at a time.
Not by might.
Not by power.
But by the Spirit.
Today, I hear the Father say: “Beloved Child. It is time to stop fighting battles that have already been won. Overwhelming victory is your reward, simply because of what Jesus did for you. I sent my Son, because I love you. Resting in him (Truth) will help you be who you are: Resilient.” ❤