In my weakness I am strong

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:7-10)

It’s a little weird for me to be writing about this when I’m in such a good place, but in my weakness God will reveal Himself strong, so why not now?  I am a firm believer that we all have a ‘thorn in the flesh.’  We all have something that keeps us from trusting too much in our own strength.  For some it might be physical, a condition that keeps you from doing certain physical activities.  An example would be arthritis or fibromyalgia.  For some it might be an inclination toward a certain behavior that we have to constantly resist.  This would include addiction (and some other things that I would rather not get into right now).  For me it is depression.

I’ve written about my struggles with depression in the past, but I don’t think that I’ve written about this aspect of it.  If I have, just skip reading this post.  Anyway, I’ve gone through different phases of my life where I have felt (about to my depression, not necessarily while I’m depressed) confused (why do I feel this way?), frustrated (I wish I could just make it go away), angry (why do I have this problem and others don’t?), hopeful (that I can overcome it), hopeless (that it will beat me), or any number of other things.  While I’m depressed I also experience most of those feelings (except for probably hope), but while I am not (like right now), I can look at it more objectively and see it for what it is, a weakness.

Now, I’m not talking here about feeling depressed.  I’m talking about depression, the thing that I have struggled with my whole life that pops up unexpectedly and takes me out of commission, sometimes for extended periods of time and often with no obvious reason.  I’m talking about the kind of depression that makes you think, “If I didn’t think it was wrong, I might consider ending my life right now.”  I haven’t been there in a while, several years actually, but it has gone through my mind in the past.  It’s more than just feeling sad, it is feeling despair.

I used to just put up with it.  I would struggle through, making everyone in my life (especially my hubby) miserable, and eventually (sometimes days, sometimes weeks later) it would pass and I would be back to my regular self again.  Several years ago (I’d say about four years now), though, I decided that enough was enough, I got some counseling and started taking anti-depressants.

Now, I know that there are people out there that think that anti-depressants don’t work, that they are over prescribed, that they are a cop out, or any number of other things.  I just want to say this: if you haven’t been there, then you don’t know how it feels.  This is a real condition with real symptoms and real effects on my very real life and family.  The medication helps me to feel normal, not my real (depressed) normal, but normal the way that everyone else feels it.

So, since I know how people feel about taking medication for depression, I sometimes go through periods when I want to stop taking it.  I start thinking that I should trust God to help me through the depression.  Let me make sure that I say this in a way that you understand: THAT NEVER WORKS OUT.  Some people can probably manage their depression without medication, but I am not one of them.  It isn’t that I don’t trust God, it’s just that I know that God knows about this and I think He is okay with me not feeling that way.  Again, if you haven’t experienced it, you might not understand just how bad it is.

I talk to my husband about this sometimes and he always encourages me this way, “Nobody would ever suggest to a diabetic that they stop taking insulin, but they think it’s okay to tell somebody with depression to stop taking the medication that helps them function normally.  You need to take your medication” (not a direct quote).  He also has a physical condition, that unless you know him you would probably never know about, for which he takes medication regularly, so it does help coming from him (also I know he loves me, so that helps, too).

Getting back to my original point, I know that this is a weakness.  I know that God knows about it.  I know that God uses my weaknesses (there are definitely others) for His glory.  And when I remember these things, I can even be thankful for the “thorn in my flesh.”  God is good and He works all things for good of those who love Him.  (Romans 8:28)

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: I am strong not weak « Fire Survivors

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