Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Reason For Living

You truly have to wonder if there is a God sometimes. Circumstances and other factors can leave you stranded seeking answers. Even people with the strongest faith sometimes go through a struggle of discouragement. Do we ever stop looking for answers when we don’t get the answer we want? Is it okay to only have faith—if it applies to rules only ‘you’ accept? Sometimes we hate to hear the word ‘discipline’ and ‘action behind our faith’. I believe a lot of people seek out religions that fit their lifestyle—or no religion at all. Have our flaws and imperfections scared us away from God? Remember, God loves each and every one of us as His own. He knows we’re human—He was here as ‘one of us’. We sometimes go through trials and heartaches; we get depressed or have anxiety about life. There are times when trouble comes our way, and we think God isn’t there with us—to help us get through it—but the truth is, He is.

“How can God let this happen? Why isn’t God helping me? Why am I so depressed?” We all ask ourselves this one time or another.

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad---because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world. Be happy if you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God will come upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. ~1 Peter 4:12-16

As I’ve mentioned on a previous post, I suffer greatly with anxiety attacks. These anxiety attacks come at no given time. I can be sitting calmly, watching TV, or just doing anything—and it comes on just like that! It can last from ten minutes to a couple of hours. I try the breathing techniques my doctor taught me, I try listening to calming music, and I even play my guitar to get my mind off it. Sometimes it works, and at other times—it just doesn’t seem to budge. It almost feels as if I’m dying. I even asked Madelene the other night, “Am I gonna die?” As I felt my throat close up, and felt my chest tighten up--I wasn’t sure if I was having an anxiety attack or a heart attack. I was almost about to take a trip to the emergency room. After twenty minutes of panicking, it subsided.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10

That passage helps me every time. When fear and doubt fill my mind like a swarm of bees, I know if I pray to God, and keep focused, my anxiety does eventually go away. In fact, prayer and meditation helps me more than my psychiatrist does. They did a study on people’s stress levels. They said the more spiritual someone is, and the more they rely on God (or whatever religion they practice) they seem to have better health than someone who isn’t a believer. This goes with any religion that you practice. Is it more of a state of mind? Or is God really there to help us when we need Him? I truly believe God is there with us each step of the way.

God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength. ~1 Corinthians 1:25

I love that scripture. I know I am putting a lot of emphasis on ‘relying on people’, instead of God, but it’s weighing heavily on my heart. Way too many times, I’ve put a lot of pressure upon my girlfriend for doing certain things for me, when I couldn’t. When I was sick, or had that back pain that lasted for a couple of months, I relied heavily on Madelene to help me. There’s nothing wrong with getting help from a loved one or a friend, but it’s also good to know that God is there too. Ask and you shall receive. Prayer is a powerful tool---we sometimes forget that it’s there. I know I do. I’m guilty of it. I also suffered from depression. I still do from time to time, but this one instance, it was at its lowest point. I was withdrawn and isolated myself from the world. I was self-medicated and going down a destructive path. There was a time I even had a gun to my head. I didn’t want to ‘be here’ any longer. There was no use for me. I was hopeless, and figured everyone else would be better off—if I wasn’t here. Horrible thoughts filled my mind as I plotted my own death. I even had a plan. I wanted to walk deep into the woods, and get it over with. I found myself crying hysterically with a gun pointed smack-dab in my mouth. Why didn’t I shoot though?

I started praying to God, with the gun I held so tightly. I asked Him why things had to be like this—why I was being tortured by people I loved. I had a distorted view of how other people treated me. I was having a major pity party. Self-pity is an ugly thing. I kept on praying, hoping for God to come out of nowhere and speak in this deep, authoritative voice. But he didn’t. Instead, thoughts filled my head with questions.

“What will your nephew and nieces think of their aunt who committed suicide? Will my parents have a heart attack by just hearing the news that their daughter shot herself? Will my family mourn for too long? Will I hurt people more by hurting myself? Will I upset God by slapping Him in the face by killing the one body he gave to me?”

It was then I knew that it wasn’t ‘my thoughts’…It was God speaking to me. He was telling me the reality of it all. It just wasn’t my time. Something else was in store for me—but what? Why did God need me here on this earth any longer? When will it be revealed? I lost my job, I lost my girlfriend, I lost my self-esteem, and lost my ability to ever trust again. How can I live?

Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak. ~Matthew 26:41

I sat there and kept praying. I didn’t stop until all my tears were spent, and my ability to wallow in self-pity was diminished. I put the gun down. I saved the bullet that would take my life, as a reminder of the low point I sunk down to. I still have it. I keep it in my drawer, just to remind me that things can be worse.

Sometimes we have to get to our lowest points in order to build ourselves back up. I believe that God tears down our structure in order to build anew. My foundation was unstable, and I needed excavation work as soon as possible. Little by little, I found my foundation—which was “God”. I started from there, and began to work myself up. Then I started to write a journal in my Word program. It was only supposed to be a journal, until it started hitting over a hundred pages. It then became a book. I wasn’t intentionally writing a book, but through my experience of a harsh break up, going through anxiety & depression, I felt the need to write my story and include God in it—for He was the one that made me put down that gun. He saved my life.

So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

I found renewed hope, and began my journey with God. I was reunited with my ex-girlfriend, and a new foundation was created for us. A new, healthy relationship started back up again. There were no more selfish ways, irrational demands upon one another and there were more acceptances. We both share the same faith in God, and both keep God number one in our lives. Then one day, Madelene’s mother gave us a beautiful framed scripture that we have hanging on the wall from the 1rst Corinthians.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I can’t even begin to describe how much God has helped me through my times of depression. He speaks to me on many levels; through things that are so unexpected. He does this in perfect timing too.

For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. ~2 Corinthians 7:10

My belief is--we all go through things for a reason. Sometimes we don’t know the full scope of the situation—but remember, God sees the ‘big picture’. Nothing is a coincidence, and everything is done for a reason—at the ‘right time’. Sometimes we’ll even ask for something from God, and wonder why our prayers weren’t met. If it is God willing, then at His perfect timing, He will grant you what you asked for. You need to go through certain events in order to see clearly.

After finishing my manuscript before submitting it to a publishing company, I met a girl who was suicidal. Her girlfriend of ten years left her, and she was home alone. She had called me up as she sat in her car that was in her garage. She started the ignition. She planned on taking her own life. I asked her to go back inside, because I wanted to send her something before she did this. She went inside and went online to check her email. I sent her my newly written manuscript. She read it word for word and promised me she wouldn’t do anything until the next day.

The next day, she thanked me. She said the book helped manage to give her a new outlook on things. She was going through what I went through. I explained to her that suicide was permanent solution to a temporary problem, and that she is hurting more people that she realizes. She cried to me over the phone, and thanked me for sending my book out to her. Today she is doing great, and living her life amongst her family and friends. I started helping other people out on a website who were going through similar situations. I began my journey. I knew what it was that God wanted me to do. It was then I realized--I’m here for a reason.

He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds. ~Psalm: 147:3