Rigid



5:40. Alarm goes off.

I slip out of bed and onto my knees for a morning prayer.

I exercise for 45 minutes.

I come back.

I help my husband get ready and off to work.

I help my daughter get ready for school.

I am so tempted to find out if that email I was expecting showed up during the night. But I don't check yet.

My daughter is out the door. I sit down with a bowl of cereal and my scriptures and I read. I hope the golden nugget of hope I'm looking for will be here today. I find a few passages that could be it. I hope they will stick and carry me through what has been a stormy battle with mental anguish lately.

Ten minutes later, I close my scriptures. Now email is allowed. And a quick stop at Facebook to see if I have any notifications. 

And I am satisfied. Everything was done in order this morning. Exercise. Check. Scripture study before social media. Check. Discipline in all things was what was going to save me. And even though I didn't feel better yet, I would keep searching for those areas in which I was not quite disciplined enough. And when I found it, the heavy emotions would depart. The mental anguish would ease. It had to.

I just needed to try harder.


******

In my closet at the end of the day. Because the closet was my best shot at uninterrupted prayer. My prayers could be longer, that I knew. And more meaningful. And so I would sit here and improve them each night. 

Because I knew praying the right prayer could fix this, could pull me out. 

Heavenly Father was waiting to give me what I needed most if I could just figure out what that was and pray for it. 

What is it that I most need help with?

Help me, when I'm overwhelmed with emotion, to still be able to function. 

Sometimes I feel so unstable. Just protect me please.

Bless my loved ones. Help my husband and children right now as I am not being who they need me to be.

I have so many painful emotions inside of me. I want to give them to Jesus and have Him take them away please. 

And help me to be faithful and true. 

With the closing of my prayer, I was satisfied that I had checked all the boxes that day. 

******

Depression takes you to a place where you are robbed of finding satisfaction in anything.

Determined not to let it win, I have pushed forward with my daily tasks, like a robot.

In many ways, this is a good thing. I am still a participant in life even while depression threatens to take that away.

But when it's still there day after day, it wears on you. Depression turns any kind of work ethic into a double-edged sword. If I am accomplishing things, I am of value. What about the days the mental and emotional air is knocked out of me? At the deepest point of despair I have ever known, I couldn't get out of bed for a day, which spread into a series of days.

While the darkness of mental and emotional anguish is a hard place to go, it has taught me the sweetest kind of lesson. He has proved to me that my worth is not in what I do. I am finally coming to understand, and even harder, accept, that even in my lowest point, when I am feeling most worthless, I am of value to Him.

******


Reading the scriptures, an ingrained ritual in my day, became a detrimental task. Because in my fractured thinking, I connect despair with wickedness and reconcile that's why I am feeling the way I am. I did not yet understand that the despair that comes from sin and the despair that comes from depression are two different things. So I put my scriptures away for a week. Which turned into a month. And then six. The 15-year-old me who vowed to read her scriptures every day for the rest of all time would be horrified. But He is not. He still loves me. I found solace instead in music that testified of God being a loving Father.

As my thinking, through treatment, became more and more rational, I felt more drawn to open my scriptures again. My perspective on these things has shifted in a beautiful way. Prayer and scripture study are gradually turning into a quest to come to know my loving Father better instead of exercises to win His approval.


Next Chapter: Jesus' Feet



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