About seventeen years ago, I experienced a breakthrough: After years of hearing (and singing) “Jesus loves me,” I finally grasped the song’s message. Jesus loved … me.
For decades, I begged God to deliver me from my eating disorders and major depression. My constant setbacks were taking their toll on my relationships. It felt like God had given up on me.
"God, I’m constantly letting people down, myself included,” I prayed while at the end of my I-hate-being-me rope. “From now on, I’m going to focus on Your love for me.”
The moment I prayed those words, something changed. When I heard myself say – with certainty – “Your love for me,” I knew (truly knew) my heavenly Father loved me and was pulling for me. I no longer felt God’s exasperation. I felt His tenderness.
I was stunned. After years of “knowing” that God had given up on me, I now knew He never had – and never would. That day began my consistent (albeit slow) progress out of emotional instability. After a whole lot of counseling, the right medication for a while – and most of all, lots and lots of time with God through prayer and Bible reading – I found stability.
What about you? Is your depression and anxiety getting worse? Are the consequences of your choices adding to your emotional decline? Is your escalating shame making it harder and harder to go to God?
Maybe you’re disappointed in the way God has answered (or hasn’t answered) your prayers for help, leaving you feeling as if He wasn’t listening. Or perhaps the idea of going to your heavenly Father doesn’t feel like a safe option because your relationship with your earthly father is messed up.
Have you allowed the past consequences of your choices, your lack of understanding of God’s timing and sovereignty or the imperfection of those around you define who God is? What if He’s a much better Father than you’ve ever dared to believe?
It’s at least worth considering, isn’t it?
Your heavenly Father loves you – unreservedly. He grieves for (and with) you over the situation you’re in. “Come to me,” Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 (ESV), “all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Even if you think it won’t work because you’ve tried it before, risk trusting God’s love for you, one more time. If necessary, call someone who has a close relationship with God and ask them to pray with you and help you find God’s rest.
Please don’t wait until things get worse. You may not survive worse. Allow God to wrap His strong and compassionate arms around you. He can help you break that cycle of hopelessness.
Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. Connect with her at SherylHBoldt@gmail.com.