Today, Emily, a theology student, speaks to us about anxiety and depression, grace, and recommitting to God in the midst of chaotic daily living.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:7-14,16-19)
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Most recently, I started waking up earlier, so I have time to spend with God. In a very hectic and chaotic college semester, I’ve found it very difficult to sit and be still in my day so recommitting myself to a habit I once had has helped me regain insight into my own circumstances and remember where God’s place is in my life every day: at the beginning of it.
“[It] helped me regain insight into my own circumstances and remember where God’s place is in my life every day: at the beginning of it.”
Profession: Right now I’m a sophomore in college, studying theology, so hopefully, I can work toward my goal of working in a ministry where I can help those with anxiety and depression find their faith in God.
A one sentence bio of yourself: A girl who overcame obstacles and learned the comforting embrace of a Father welcoming home His prodigal daughter.
When did you first encounter God: I grew up in a Catholic household and attended Catholic school for eight years of my life, but it wasn’t until high school, when I truly encountered God. Being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in my freshman year of high school put me in a detrimental state academically and mentally.
In my sophomore year, I experienced hardship after hardship after hardship, basically spiraling into anxious and depressive episodes. And it wasn’t until I learned to let go, trust God and open up to my christian counselor, that I truly experienced God’s grace and encountered Him during an unfortunate circumstance I was in at the time.
“[I]t wasn’t until I learned to let go, trust God and open up to my christian counselor, that I truly experienced God’s grace…”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season: While this season has been a very stressful one, I try to remember to be grateful for every day God has given me and all the good little things that happen with ease; truly praising him, both in the good and hard times.
Just read/currently reading: She’s Still There by Chrystal Evans Hurst
Top three essentials: Water bottle, stress relief lotion, and a wrist watch.
How did God speak to you recently: When I was sitting in my car after I returned home from school, I just flat out told Him that I have this desire to be loved and to someday have a godly relationship, but that I felt like I just couldn’t be loved because my anxiety stops me from being vulnerable and creates fear in something so good. But a song played in the background, “You Love Me Best” by Ellie Holcomb, and it was like God was telling me that no one can love me more than He does, but there will be a day when He lets someone come into my life and love those hidden parts of anxiety and fears of vulnerability, just as He does.
“[I]t was like God was telling me that no one can love me more than He does…”
Hobby: Within the last few years, I started lettering! It’s one of the ways I try to strengthen my faith and relieve some stress. It forces one to be mindful of how one is holding the pen to make the right strokes.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Commit to the Lord every morning; remind yourself of three things you are grateful for that happened during your day before you fall asleep; praise and worship him with all of your heart, let the worship music take you to complete and utter surrender.
Favorite person in scripture: Can I say Jesus? Well obviously, Jesus! But I also really love reading about David’s journey, especially his battle against Goliath! He is one of those people that I look to and see myself: someone so small but so completely capable of making a difference when God is made the focus instead of the giants.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you: His grace can handle and hold the most broken parts and pieces of your life. No obstacle is too big for Him.
Favorite season: It’s a fight between fall and spring! My birthday is in spring, so it probably learns more towards spring. Those two seasons just remind me of the goodness of change!
Favorite holiday: I want to say Thanksgiving because I love big family dinners (and also the food!), but I really love the season of Christmas—it’s meaning and significance and also it’s tradition and warmth.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Because it happened just recently, decorating for fall and also for Christmas. it brings so much warmth into our home when the temperature begins to drop. You can look inside and outside our home and definitely know we care about the little things!
Question you will ask when you get to heaven: Of all things, why anxiety? Why did you choose writing would be my passion during it?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Anxiety and Depression, most definitely! It’s so very common and is becoming increasingly more common, as social media grows; the need to be perfect or to ‘seem’ perfect lingers in social media, as if there is no flaw or blemish or struggle in your life.
Hiding behind a screen, posting pictures of your model life only increases the anxiety that someone will find out that you do struggle, and you aren’t as perfect as your Instagram makes you seem. I really believe that it plays a huge role in anxiety and depression, but letting others know that it is totally okay to be broken and hurting and struggling, because life was not meant to be easy but to be surrendered to Him.
“Anxiety […] The need to be perfect or to ‘seem’ perfect lingers in social media, as if there is no flaw or blemish or struggle in your life.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? I usually wake up, spend time journaling, praying, reading a devotional, and eating breakfast. Then I get changed, and go to my classes. It’s a pretty average morning, but it is a slow process before the craziness begins!
What is on your nightstand? My Bible, a notebook, my clock radio, two remotes, small container of sleep gummies, a water bottle, a few of hair ties.
For more Emily:
Facebook: Anchors and Jesus
Until next time, keep witnessing!