Editor's Note: We are a non-religious magazine. However, we acknowledge that spirituality is an important part for some. Our Faith column is a place for anyone to discuss how faith positively affects their mental health and how to improve the conversation around mental health within faith communities.
My recovery is a constant battle between giving up and not giving up. It’s a battle to keep my faith—my faith in recovery, my faith in myself, and my faith in God and His promises. Every day is a battle.
Too often during my bad days, I begin to give up. I begin to think recovery is not possible. I begin to think the pain and suffering I feel will never end. I begin to think everything, especially my struggle, is pointless.
It is easy is to give up on God’s healing and His promise to work my struggles for good and for His glory. It’s easy for me to be angry and shut Him out, easy to doubt. So often, I have found myself crying out, “Where is Your hand in all of this? Where is Your goodness?”
I often find myself lacking in faith.
By lacking in faith, I mean I find myself questioning what God has promised to me. I rarely doubt His existence in my life, but I often doubt His presence in my daily life. I doubt that He is at work in my life when I am overcome with depression and anxiety. I fail to see His goodness in the midst of my darkness, and it is then I begin to lose my faith.
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These past few weeks have been filled with questioning how my struggle with mental illness fits into who God is and the plans He has for my life. It is hard to think any of this pain can be used for good when it feels so heavy and dark.
Recently, I was reminded of a passage in scripture that in past moments of doubt and confusion has helped me a great deal.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)
In the midst of my struggle, it can be hard to see God’s hand at work in my life, and it is in those moments when I must hold all the more tightly to my faith, grasping onto what I cannot see yet know to be true.
Faith is having confidence in the truth of God’s promises for me.
Faith is assurance that He is at work in my life. Faith is believing opposite of what my illnesses what me to believe: that my struggles with mental illness, while not caused by God, serve a purpose and God will use them. These things He promises.
God makes many promises to us. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. He promises to work all things for good. He promises comfort and healing and life.
He promises that He is ultimately in control of my life—not my depression, my anxiety, my eating disorder, or my past.
So especially on the bad days, when I begin to give up and doubt the purpose of my suffering in light of the goodness of God, I try to hold faith in that promise which God gives us in Jeremiah:
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
Taken in context, God is speaking through Jeremiah to the Israelites just as they are about to be conquered by the Babylonians and either sold into slavery or killed. The worst-case scenario was about to come true, but God had not left. This was a promise that God has not forgotten His people and God never will—He has plans for them.
Sometimes my bad days feel like a worst-case scenario. Sometimes they leave me begging God to save me and sometimes they leave me thinking He has abandoned me. Sometimes my faith is shaken. I’m sure the Israelites reacted in very similar ways.
It is in these moments I must hope in the unseen promises of God.
I must stay faithful that one day, they will come true, that God has not forgotten me and He never will. And I can have faith that just as with Israel, God promises hope and a future to me, and even in my darkness, this promise stands.
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The opinions and information shared in this article may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process.