"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8-9).
The Bible says that God's mercies are new every morning. But when I wake up, I'm bombarded with thoughts of sadness, indifference, jealousy, comparison, resentment and bitterness, just to name a few.
I'm a Christian. I believe that Jesus is Lord, I try my best to read my Bible and I try my best to pray. Some days are better than others, I guess.
Today, however, I feel overcome by my thoughts and feelings.
Depression as an Identity
That's a frequent morning introduction to most professing Christians, including me. We often live our lives drenched in our struggles. The heaviness of anxiety, depression and insecurity wears on us. We wear our sin. We wear our struggles. Jesus conquered the grave, and we have little to show for it. Jesus conquered sin and death—so we could walk in freedom. Instead, we have embraced the struggles He died for.
The common phrase for the depressed or anxious young adult in describing their struggle is: "My depression" or "My anxiety."
Although I understand the reasoning of that statement, it cannot be the truth we speak over ourselves.
If I'm going to be honest, I've noticed myself doing this quite often. The phrases "My pride," "my depression," "my anxiety," "my insecurity," "my fears" have all escaped my mouth.
However, the truth is we cannot take a consequence of the fall of man and accept it as our selfhood.
The attachment of mental health issues to our identity is a huge reason depression is not an ordinary discussion within the church, because as soon as it's addressed, the struggler's walls of defensiveness go up. She has lost hope that she can be healed. She has accepted that it's just the "thorn in her side" and has ultimately become "a part of her identity." Once a struggle has taken that form of root within a person, the only hope to hear any truth is by the intervention of the Holy Spirit. But I will try my best to defend my argument. Holy Spirit, use me as a vessel.
"The sin that is most destructive in your life right now is the one you are most defensive about." —Timothy Keller
You'll know you have an identity issue based on the things you are getting defensive about. I know when someone has taken depression as their identity because they are defensive and closed off from hearing truth about it.
Just to be clear, though, we can do this with anything. We do it with our careers, our relationships. We can't see ourselves apart from the degree that we worked so hard for or the man we are in love with; this is an identity issue—when we make something other than God an ultimate thing.
As Christians, we must see our identity solely as children of God.
Jesus came and made the great exchange. He exchanged His position and gave it to us. We are seen now through the blood of Jesus. When God looks at us, He is pleased. He doesn't look at our struggles and sin, he sees Jesus instead. What a miraculously beautiful thing.
We too must see ourselves as nothing but daughters of the King.
Yes, as long as we walk on this earth we are wrapped in our sinful nature, but that doesn't mean we embrace it. We don't adapt our lives to our struggles. No, we give our lives for the one who gave His life for us. Tim Keller said it beautifully recently on Twitter: "Jesus took his hands off his life for you, so you can take your hands off your life for him."
Letting go of ourselves and taking hold of Jesus is the only way we will live a victorious life.
Any other form of identity will come with severe emotional consequences through the different seasons of life.
I understand the reasoning that allows people to accept a mental disorder as a part of themselves; it's easier to cope and move on with your life. But I do not believe it's biblical to adapt or embrace your specific struggle.
As a culture, when we struggle for an extended period, instead of continuing to have hope for healing or aggressively working to grow—
we embrace. We accept the struggle, the burden, as the cross we must bear. It's the thorn in our flesh—as I have heard many profess. And ultimately, because of that embracement, we adjust our lives to fit the needs and demands of our struggle.
Instead of confessing our weaknesses and asking for help, we just change our social circles. We quit our jobs. We give up and adapt because "my depression," "my anxiety" made me do it. And ultimately, with that type of thinking, we avoid responsibility.
In the morning, when we are tempted to fall into our thoughts, our sin nature, the struggle that has trapped us, we have to remind ourselves that our thoughts are not God's not thoughts, and our ways are not God's ways (Isa. 55:8-9) He does have a great plan and purpose for your life.
Don't embrace the struggles that you are walking through today, embrace the King who came to save you. Let go of your life for Him, as He let go of His life for you.
Amaris Beecher is a whole-hearted Christian, richly blessed wife and mother of two stunners, living life in sunny Orlando, Florida. Her goal is to inspire women to live their lives with authenticity and freedom through Jesus Christ.
This article originally appeared at crumbsandglamour.com.